Archived: WMA Statement on the Use and Misuse of Psychotropic Drugs

Adopted by the 29th World Medical Assembly Tokyo, Japan, October 1975
and amended by the 35th World Medical Assembly Venice, Italy, October 1983
and rescinded at the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, 2006

  1. The use of psychotropic drugs is a complex social phenomenon and not simply a medical problem.
  2. Within society generally there is urgent need for intensive public education, presented in non-moralizing, non-punitive manner, and the development and demonstration of practical alternatives to drug use. Physicians, as knowledgeable, concerned citizens, should participate in such programs.
  3. Physicians should prescribe psychotropic drugs with the greatest restraint and observing the strictest possible medical indication ensuring that all prescribing of psychotropic drugs reflects accurate diagnosis, appropriate non-pharmacologic advice, and careful utilization of precise pharmacotherapeutic materials, mindful of the potential dangers of misuse and abuse.
  4. Physicians should accept the responsibility for collating and providing factual information regarding the health hazards of the non-medical use of all psychotropic material, including alcohol.
  5. In cooperation with governments and relevant agencies, the medical profession should ensure that such information is disseminated as widely as possible; especially within those age groups most likely to experiment with drugs to counteract peer group pressure and other factors which lead to misuse and abuse, and in order to maintain for each individual the right and the responsibility of free exercise of informed personal choice.