9 February 2016 -- The 138th session of WHO's Executive Board (EB) discussed the public health dimension of the world drug problem in the light of the upcoming Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem, to be held in 2016. The EB agreed on the inclusion of a follow-up discussion on the public health dimension of the world drug problem in the agenda of the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016.
The world drug problem constitutes a serious threat to public health and the well-being of humanity. WHO has been invited to contribute to the preparations of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session to address the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016). One of the contributions is a comprehensive document that summarizes WHO’s current role and mandate and outlines its current programmes and activities. In the period leading up to UNGASS on the world drug problem in 2016, WHO will release a number of further publications in the area of drugs and health.
Suicide is an important cause of death and disability worldwide. In 2012, substance use was estimated to be the cause of at least 175 000 out of the 800 000 suicides worldwide – at least one in five.
While alcohol and drug use are modifiable risk factors for suicide, professionals who treat people with suicidal behaviours do not always consider substance use in their treatment plans.
To strengthen the implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, WHO and more than 400 stakeholders convened in October 2015 under the theme “Momentum for change: research and advocacy reducing alcohol harm”.
Participants discussed barriers to implementation and the need for a global strong network, and WHO urged governments to focus on implementation of the most effective and cost-effective actions to reduce harmful use of alcohol.
1.7 bedsper 100 000 population are available for the treatment of alcohol and drug use disordersBeds for the treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders
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.