Management of substance abuse

WHO Forum on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours

The World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse organizes the second Forum on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours (FADAB) with a primary goal to enhance public health actions in these areas by strengthening partnerships and collaboration among public health oriented organizations, networks and institutions in the era of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG 2030).

More than 200 participants are expected to attended forum which will take place from 27 to 29 June 2018 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Participation in the forum is by invitation only.

Global status report on alcohol and health 2018

21 September 2018 - WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 launched 21 September 2018 presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide. It also describes what countries are doing to reduce this burden.

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.

WHO launches SAFER, a new alcohol control initiative

28. September 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) today released SAFER, a new initiative and technical package outlining five high-impact strategies that can help governments to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and related health, social and economic consequences.
SAFER is the newest WHO-led roadmap to support governments in taking practical steps to accelerate progress on health, beat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through addressing the harmful use of alcohol, and achieve development targets.

New WHO tool on alcohol taxation and pricing policies

WHO has launched a new resource tool on alcohol taxation and pricing policies. The book has been developed under a Memorandum of Understanding between ThaiHealth and WHO as a part of a broader effort by WHO to develop technical tools and resource materials in support of implementation of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The intentions of the resource tool is to enhance knowledge and competence relating to taxation and pricing policies among public health professionals and alcohol-control policy advocates.

Strengthening collaboration with UNODC

WHO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made official plans for strengthened collaboration on the public health issues relating to drug use around the world. The Memorandum of Understanding signed builds on the ongoing collaboration between the two UN entities, already intensive in the areas of drug dependence treatment and care. Areas for further joint work will include prevention of drug use and drug use disorders, improving access to medicines under international control, addressing the challenges of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and monitoring drug use and its health and social consequences.

fact buffet

Drug use

275 millionpeople are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2016

World Drug Report 2018

Access to education

37%of the 155 responding countries do not provide access to postgraduate training programmes in treatment of substance use disorders

Educational attainment in prevention and treatment

Pharmacological treatment

50%of the 152 responding countries have methadone available for maintenance treatment of opioid dependence

Pharmacotherapy with methadone

The Global Information System on Alcohol and Health

The Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) provides easy and rapid access to a wide range of alcohol-related health indicators. It is an essential tool for assessing and monitoring the health situation and trends related to alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm, and policy responses in countries.


This web site contains information pertaining to psychoactive substance use and abuse, and also information about the World Health Organization's projects and activities in the areas of substance use and substance dependence.

WHO is the only agency dealing with all psychoactive substances, regardless of their legal status. WHO’s mandate in the area of psychoactive substance use includes:

  • Prevention and reduction of the negative health and social consequences of psychoactive substance use;
  • Reduction of the demand for non-medical use of psychoactive substances;
  • Assessment of psychoactive substances so as to advise the United Nations with regard to their regulatory control.

Since its founding in 1948, WHO has played a leading role in supporting countries to prevent and reduce the problems due to psychoactive substance use, and in recommending which psychoactive substances should be regulated. In 2000, the Department of Substance Abuse was merged with the Department of Mental Health to form the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, reflecting the many common approaches of management of mental health and substance use disorders.


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 REFERENCES

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 REFERENCES

UN International Drug Control Conventions

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UN Key Declarations

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