6. Target 3.5 of Sustainable Development Goal 3 sets out a commitment by governments to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. Several other targets are also of particular relevance to drug policy-related health issues, especially target 3.3, referring to ending the AIDS epidemic and combating viral hepatitis; target 3.4, on preventing and treating noncommunicable diseases and promoting mental health; target 3.8, on achieving universal health coverage; and target 3.b, with its reference to providing access to affordable essential medicines.1
13. Within the framework of the global health sector strategies on HIV and viral hepatitis,1 and of the End TB Strategy,2 WHO will continue to promote and support the implementation of harm reduction interventions outlined in the WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS technical guide3 with the aim of reaching the 2020 and 2030 fast-track targets in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. WHO will further collaborate with UNODC on the development, implementation and monitoring of evidence-based policies and interventions for prevention, testing, treatment and care of HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis in the community and in prisons.
14. Ensuring access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes as part of a balanced national drug policy is an essential element of several Health Assembly resolutions, such as those on effective cancer control, strengthening palliative care, emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia, and epilepsy.4 WHO will intensify and expand its activities for developing and disseminating normative guidance and will continue to provide technical support to countries to improve adequate access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, in collaboration with the International Narcotics Control Board, UNODC and other competent United Nations entities, and other partners such as members of civil society. As part of its core function, WHO regularly updates the WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines, including those medicines that are under control of international drug treaties. The Secretariat is reviewing medicines for pain and mental and behavioural disorders which will be considered for addition to the Model Lists by WHO’s Expert Committee of Selection and Use of Essential Medicines at its 21st meeting in March 2017. In addition, the Secretariat is drafting guidelines for the management of cancer pain.
17. (…) There is thus a need to ensure the implementation, in a multisectoral and coordinated manner, of a comprehensive package of drug control measures that cover the entire public health continuum – from primary prevention and risk reduction to management of drug use disorders, rehabilitation, care and harm reduction – and that are grounded in the fundamental public health precepts of equity, social justice and human rights, place emphasis on countries and populations in greatest need, and give due consideration to the economic, social and environmental determinants of health, science and evidence‐based interventions, and people-centred approaches.
18. In its work on drug-related issues, WHO will take into account the specific health needs of children, young people and women, including pregnant women, and prioritize development, implementation and evaluation of normative guidance and technical tools to improve equitable coverage and effectiveness of appropriate prevention, treatment, care and harm reduction interventions, as well as ensuring access to controlled medicines for medical use (…).
19. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, entrust WHO with the responsibility of reviewing and assessing substances to determine whether they should be controlled under the conventions.1 Fulfilling this mandate involves ensuring the provision of robust data to the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence for the review of the most prevalent, persistent and harmful psychoactive substances. The Expert Committee will then be providing timely, evidence-based advice to facilitate informed decision-making by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the international scheduling of psychoactive substances.