EURAD attends the WHO Drug Dependence Expert Committee in Geneva

On Monday 16th June 2014, EURAD President Stig-Erik Sørheim and Secretary General Fay Watson attended the WHO's latest meeting on drug dependence.

16th June 2014

The WHO's Drug Dependence Expert Committee carries out risk assessments on behalf of the UN and makes recommendations for the control of new or existing substances of abuse.

At today's meeting, there was a lengthy discussion about the impact that controlling ketamine would have in developing countries, where ketamine is used frequently as a general anesthetic. During the meeting, there was a presentation from Jannicke Mellin Olsen, of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, who explained that ketamine had several advantages over other anaesthetics, namely that you do not need to control the breathing of the patient, so less equipment is required when it is being used. She spoke of her concerns should ketamine be controlled as developing countries may not have the protocols in place to ensure adequate medical coverage, should it be controlled in the near future. A presentation then followed from Medicines San Frontieres who also spoke of similar concerns in their work.

At the end of this session, Fay Watson, of EURAD, provided a presentation about the work of their organisation, including highlighting their current work on writing publications on human rights and public health. The paper on human rights will include access to essential medicines.