Essential medicines and health products

Substances under International Control

Substance Evaluation for Drug Control Treaties

WHO provides technical expertise to the United Nations on drugs of abuse under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) and the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971). These two treaties provide the legal basis for the international prevention of drug abuse, together with the United Nations Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988).

WHO provides advice and guidance on the scheduling of substances under the afore mentioned Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances conventions in accordance with WHO’s mandate under these conventions.

WHO undertakes medical and scientific evaluations of the dependence producing properties of substances to enable the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to make decisions on their control status. 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.

Access to Analgesics and to Other Controlled Medications

Although necessary, drug control regulations, if overly restrictive, can hamper access to controlled medicines for therapeutic use. A balance must therefore be struck between medical and regulatory requirements.


Contact

Gilles Forte
Policy, Access and Use
Essential Medicines and Health Products
Email: forteg@who.int

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