This report describes our current understanding of the neuroscience of psychoactive substance use and dependence. It draws on the explosive growth in knowledge in this area in recent decades, which has transformed our understanding of the biochemical action of psychoactive substances, and contributed new insights into why many people use them, and why some use them to the extent of causing harm or of becoming dependent on them.
The global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, endorsed by the Sixty-third World Health Assembly in May 2010, recognizes the close links between the harmful use of alcohol and socioeconomic development. It represents the commitment by the Member States of the World Health Organization to sustained action at all levels.
The aim of this draft discussion paper, “From coercion to cohesion: Treating drug dependence through health care, not punishment”, is to promote a health-oriented approach to drug dependence. The International Drug Control Conventions give Member States the flexibility to adopt such an approach. Treatment offered as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions has to be evidence-based and in line with ethical standards.
UNODC published Guidelines to implement family skills training programmes for drug abuse prevention in March 2009. These guidelines contain evidence of effectiveness, principles of family skills training programmes, cultural adaptation guidelines, advice on how to recruit and retain families through the programmes, practical advice on training of staff, as well as information about monitoring and evaluating family skills training programmes.