Essential medicines and health products

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

Thirty-Ninth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

The Thirty-ninth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 6 – 10 November 2017.

At the meeting, the ECDD will review a number of psychoactive substances with potential for dependence, abuse and harm to health and make 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:

Open Session of the 39th ECDD

This session will be held on Monday 6th November from 9am till 11am in Salle D. The purpose of the session is to allow the Expert Committee the opportunity to receive information from representatives of interested parties concerning the substances under review.

Those interested in attending the session and making a presentation, please send an email to the Secretariat at by the 15th October. The nature and content of your proposed statement should be conveyed in the RSVP email along with your registration details. Please be aware that there are a limited number of time slots, therefore we may not be able to accommodate all requests.

Those interested in attending the session as observers can register by sending an email to by Friday 3rd November, at the latest.

Please note that any expenses incurred as a result of participation in the open session are entirely the responsibility of the attendee.

Meeting documents

- Open Session Agenda (will be released as soon as possible)

WHO Questionnaire concerning psychoactive substances under evaluation at the 39th ECDD

At its 126th session in January 2010, the Executive Board approved the publication “Guidance on the WHO review of psychoactive substances for international control” (EB126/2010/REC1, Annex 6) which requires the Secretariat to request relevant information from Ministers of Health in Member States and to prepare a report for submission to the ECDD. For this purpose, an online questionnaire was designed to gather information on the legitimate medical or scientific use, use for psychoactive purposes or recreational use, status of national control and potential impact of international control for each substance under evaluation.

Member States are invited to collaborate in this process, as in the past, by providing pertinent information as requested in the questionnaire and concerning the substances under review.

The summary information from the questionnaire will be published online as part of the substance review report.

The PDF versions of the questionnaire are available below for reference only:

Please note that all questionnaires must be answered through the online system. PDF submissions will not be accepted. The designated focal point, and only this person, should access and complete the online questionnaires.

Should you have any queries please contact the ECDD Secretariat by email:

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.