Management of substance abuse

UNODC/WHO Global Initiative on Primary Prevention of Substance Abuse


The primary prevention approach is key for responding to substance use among young people before they start using substances. In addition, this strategy could help to discourage or stop use in those who are already experimenting or using.


Young people are particularly at risk for psychoactive substance use, as they are at a stage in life when patterns of behaviour are being formed and they are most likely to be influenced by peers and role models who may be involved in the use of substances.

Equally, however, it is an important period during which their behaviours can be influenced for the benefit of long-term good health. In response to this challenge, the Global Initiative Project on Primary Prevention of Substance Abuse was initiated.

The Global Initiative was a joint project of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), previously the United Nations International Drug Control Programme or (UNDCP) and World Health Organization (WHO), implemented from 1998 to 2003 in 8 countries with funding by the Norwegian Government. The project was initiated in order to support a number of local partners from Central and Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa in reducing substance use and abuse among young people. Countries which were directly supported in technical and financial terms were:

Belarus, South Africa, Philippines, the United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, The Russian Federation, Vietnam and Zambia.
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Project aims
Evaluation Research
Primary Prevention
Research Findings
Local partners
Identifying Good Practices
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Latest publications

Resource tool on alcohol taxation and pricing policies

This resource aims at contributing to enhanced knowledge and competence relating to taxation and pricing policies among public health professionals and alcohol-control policy advocates.

The health and social effects of nonmedical cannabis use

This publication aims to present the current knowledge on the impact of nonmedical cannabis use on health.


WHO Resolutions Related to Substance Use

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WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

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WHO Expert Committee on Problems Related to Alcohol Consumption

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UN International Drug Control Conventions

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UN Key Declarations

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