Management of substance abuse

The World Health Assembly will continue discussions on the public health dimension of the world drug problem at its 70th session.

The 140th session of the Executive Board (EB) in January 2017 discussed the topic “Public health dimension of the world drug problem” as decided at the sixty-ninth World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2016. The discussion will continue during the 70th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2017.

The EB also discussed this issue at its 138th session in January 2016 in the context of the preparation for the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, which took place at UN headquarters in New York in April 2016. In the outcome document adopted at the 2016 special session (A/RES/S-30/1), Heads of State and Government, ministers and representatives of Member States reiterated their commitment to promote health, welfare and well-being, reaffirmed the need to strengthen cooperation among UN entities and made operational recommendations to strengthen actions to counter the world drug problem, some of which specifically mention the WHO.

Following UNGASS 2016, the WHO Secretariat published Document A69/12 for the Sixty-Ninth World Health Assembly in May 2016. The Report of the Secretariat described the critical public health elements of a comprehensive and balanced drug policy, as well as WHO’s role in implementing the recommendations made at the 2016 UNGASS special assembly. During the discussions at the Health Assembly, several Member States emphasized the importance of a balanced and public health approach to the world drug problem, and similarly highlighted the need for strengthened cooperation between WHO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other relevant UN entities.

In preparation for the EB, the WHO Secretariat published Document EB140/29 on the public health dimension of the world drug problem. The report took into account the recent discussions at WHO’s governing bodies’ sessions, the drug-related health targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), and the relevant outcomes of thematic discussions held at international forums to promote the implementation of the operational recommendations. The report also provides an update on the Secretariat’s activities on the public health dimensions of the world drug problem, including collaboration with UNODC and International Narcotics Control Board. A update of the report for the World Health Assembly will soon be published.

Report by the Secretariat to EB140 in January 2017

The Report by the Secretariat “Public health dimension of the world drug problem” (document EB140/29) is available in 6 languages below:

UNGASS 2016 on the World Drug Problem

The UN General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem from 15th to 21st April 2016. This Thirtieth Special Session of the General Assembly was an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 "Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem", which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019. UNGASS adopted the outcome document "Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem".