Guidance on the WHO review of psychoactive substances for international control

17 December 2009
Paper

The 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, entrust the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence of the World Health Organization (WHO) with the responsibility of assessing substances for abuse liability in order to make recommendations on their control under the two aforementioned Conventions.

A request for a review of a substance can be initiated by a notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, by a Party to the Conventions or by WHO itself. After completing a review process, WHO forwards recommendations to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Commission has the responsibility to decide whether to schedule recommended substances under the provisions of the Conventions. The process and procedures to be followed for the WHO review process are detailed in the Guidelines for the WHO review of dependence-producing psychoactive substances for international control, which were first drawn up in 1986. In 2009, the guidelines were revised. The latest Guidance on the WHO review of psychoactive substances for international control include a flow chart of the evaluation procedure.

WHO EB126/21
December 17, 2009