Identifying and managing substance use disorders

The effective management of drug use disorders requires:

  • Accessible, adequate, timely, efficient and ethical treatment and care

  • Evidence-based treatment including pharmacological and psychosocial therapies

It is critical for Member States to develop appropriate policies and interventions that support a health and human-rights-oriented response to the world drug problem and that reduce the burden caused by the associated health and social consequences. The inclusion of the treatment of drug use disorders in national health care systems is often difficult, and effective treatment should incorporate many components such as:

  • Outreach services

  • Screening and brief interventions

  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment

  • Evidence-based pharmacological treatment and psychosocial interventions

  • Long-term residential treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery-support services

WHO and UNODC guidelines and tools for policymakers, healthcare providers and other key figures in the management of drug use disorders

The Public Health Dimension of the World Drug Problem outlines WHO’s work to prevent drug misuse, reduce harm and improve safe access to medicines

UNODC/WHO International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders outlines recommendations and best practices in the treatment of drug use disorders.



WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialist health settings