Essential medicines and health products

UN endorses WHO advice on strict controls of dangerous fentanyls

3 April 2019 - The Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted on 19 March, 2019 to adopt recommendations from the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) to bring nine New Psychoactive Substances under international control. The Commission also decided to defer its vote on the WHO’s recommendations to lower international control of cannabis-related substances to a later time.

The new psychoactive substances put under international control were four fentanyl analogs, four synthetic cannabinoids and one synthetic cathinone. The use of opioids like fentanyl analogues has contributed to thousands of deaths in different regions of the world, especially in North America. Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of cannabis but are more potent and are associated with a range of severe adverse effects, including death. Synthetic cathinones are stimulants with similar effects as other central nervous system stimulants (i.e. cocaine), and pose a significant risk of abuse and dependence.

The CND decided to postpone a vote on the recommendations made by WHO for a more rational system of international control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances that would prevent drug-related harms while ensuring that cannabis-derived pharmaceutical preparations are available for medical and scientific use. The CND’s decision to defer a vote was in order to allow member states more time to discuss the consequences of potential changes in scheduling cannabis for national and international control measures.

A new date for the voting has not been set yet.

Related to this story:
WHO endorses decisions of Expert Committee on cannabis and other substances
WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence meets to review cannabis (ECDD)