The WHO has announced the eleven substances to be reviewed at the upcoming 43rd Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) meeting, scheduled for 12th-16th October, have been identified through a prioritization process.
The ECDD is a scientific advisory body to WHO that is convened at least once a year to make recommendations about the need for and level of international control under the 1971 and 1961 Drug Conventions. Recommendations are based on a thorough scientific review process that assesses psychoactive substances with potential for abuse or dependence. Through this assessment, the ECDD requires scientific evidence, either from literature or other reputable sources, which documents drug-related harms such as abuse, toxicity, and fatalities. Importantly, the recommended scheduling also considers therapeutic use to ensure that international control does hinder access to medicines where they are needed.
New psychoactive substances to be reviewed for international control at the 43rd ECDD include the opioid isotonitazene; benzodiazepines flubromazolam, clonazolam, diclazepam; the dissociative drugs diphenidine, 2-MeO-diphenidine, and 3-Meo-PCP; the stimulant 3-FPM; the hallucinogenic substance 5-MeO-DALT; and two synthetic cannabinoids, MDMB-4en-PINACA and CUMYL-PEGACLONE.
Next steps include the critical assessment of these substances using available data from Member State questionnaires and relevant literature. The resulting critical review reports will serve the basis for the Committee’s assessment and will be available for public commentary during a virtual open session held on 12 October. Registration details for the Open Session will be made available on the ECDD website here.
Scheduling recommendations made by WHO are presented to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), a policy-making body comprising of UN Member States, for acceptance, effectively updating the scheduling status of substances under international control.