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WHO launches unified repository for drug dependence data with over 450 compounds

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently announced the launching of a new repository of all drug-dependence technical reports and resources that will allow people to source information within a single webpage.

In a media statement, the  United Nations Health Agency said that the repository, from the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) of WHO, an important resource for health professionals, drug policy experts and policy-makers, as many of the substances reviewed by ECDD have otherwise limited information regarding their public health risk.

WHO stated that the repository is the sole online, freely accessible collection of information on new psychoactive substances and medicines for medical and scientific purposes and has over 450 compounds.

“Improving information-sharing with health-care professionals and other experts involved in tackling the world’s drug problems can lead to better awareness on abuse, harms and dependence of psychoactive substances reviewed by ECDD,” the statement read.

Pointing out that this can contribute to increased implementation of effective public health responses relating to drugs, such as improving detection of substances and clinical treatment of overdose and other related negative health consequences of drug use, WHO said that additionally, this resource is important when sourcing information regarding the therapeutic use of psychoactive drugs.

The WHO ECDD is made up of an independent group of psychoactive drug and medication professionals and evaluates the health hazards and benefits of psychoactive substance usage using a set of predetermined criteria.

The Committee meets annually to review the public health impact of selected psychoactive substances and make recommendations to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), a policy-making body comprised of 53 UN Member States, on whether or not these psychoactive substances should be placed under international control.

The International Narcotics Control Board monitors countries' implementation of CND-adopted recommendations.

In recent years, the WHO ECDD has advised the CND on cannabis's international control status, resulting in its reclassification for consideration for recognised medicinal purposes. The repository contains all of these technical materials.

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