Essential medicines and health products

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

Thirty-Eighth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

The Thirty-eighth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, 14 – 18 November 2016.

At the meeting, the ECDD reviewed a number of psychoactive substances with potential for dependence, abuse and harm to health and made recommendations to the UN Secretary-General, on the need for and level of international control of these substances. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat at:

WHO Questionnaire concerning psychoactive substances under evaluation at the 38th ECDD

38th ECDD Expert Committee members

Open session of the 38th ECDD

Interested parties will be invited to make presentations to an open session of the 38th meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

1. Opening of meeting and welcoming remarks

2. Procedural matters

2.1 Election of chairperson, co-chairperson and rapporteur

2.2 Declaration of interests

2.3 Adoption of agenda

3. Briefings, proposed new tools and approaches

3.1 Briefings from International Organizations on their work on the public health element of the world drug problem

3.2 Principles for prioritizing and assessing substances as part of ECDD work

3.3 Terminology

3.4 Follow up on Recommendations made by the 37th ECDD

4. Reviews of Psychoactive Substances

4.1 U-47700
4.2 Butyrfentanyl (Butyrylfentanyl)
4.3 4-Methylethcathinone (4-MEC)
4.4 3-Methylmethcathinone (3-methyl-N-methylcathinone; 3-MMC)
4.5 Ethylone (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylcathinone; bk-MDEA; MDEC)
4.6 Pentedrone (α-Methylaminovalerophenone)
4.7. Ethylphenidate (EPH)
4.8. Methiopropamine (MPA)
4.10 5F-APINACA (5F-AKB48)
4.11 JWH-073
4.12 XLR-11 (5-Fluoro UR-144, 5F-UR-144)

5. Update

Cannabis update at ECDD, 14-18 November
WHO has provided updates on Cannabis in 2014, 2015 and will again share updated evidence in 2016 at the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence meeting on 14-18 November. So far, material to formally review the status of Cannabis as a scheduled substance is either insufficient or inconclusive. WHO will continue to review all available scientific evidence to determine whether the current scheduling status should change.

5.1 Cannabis and cannabis resin
5.2 Other Updates

6. Follow up on recommendations from international meetings and consultations

6.1 Follow up on implementation of recommendations of UNGASS and of UNODC-WHO Expert Consultation on NPS
6.2 WHO and other agencies surveillance mechanisms and lists

7. Review and adoption of the ECDD meeting report

Closure of meeting

WHO and UNODC Memorandum of Understanding

The World Health Organisation and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made official plans for strengthened collaboration on the public health issues relating to drug use around the world. The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) builds on the ongoing collaboration between the two UN entities. Areas for further joint work will include prevention of drug use and drug use disorders, improving access to medicines under international control, addressing the challenges of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and monitoring drug use and its health and social consequences.

Substance Evaluation

Every year a meeting of the ECDD is organized by WHO to evaluate the dependence-producing properties and harm to health of psychoactive substances, including the ones with medical use. Recommendations from the ECDD on whether or not these substances should be placed under international control are made to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and are subject to a vote by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Previous committees

Since 1949, through its Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, WHO has reviewed more than 400 substances. Between 1948, when WHO was established, and 1999 the number of narcotic drugs under international control increased from 18 to 118, and the number of psychotropic substances from 32 to 111.


1949:Expert Committee on Habit-Forming Drugs established.

1950:Expert Committee on Drugs Liable to Produce Addiction.

1961:UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

1964:Expert Committee on Addiction-Producing Drugs.

1966:Expert Committee on Dependence-Producing Drugs.

1969:Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.