International Law and the "Central Principle of Balance"

"In 1998, WHO [World Health Organization], in cooperation with its collaborating center at the University of Wisconsin, elaborated the concept of the 'Central Principle of Balance' in order to guide the development of national drug regulatory policies pursuant to the Single Convention.64 According to WHO, 'The Central Principle of Balance' represents the dual imperative of preventing the abuse, trafficking, and diversion of narcotic drugs while, at the same time, ensuring medical availability. As stated by WHO, 'When misused, opioids pose a threat to society; a system of control is necessary to prevent abuse, trafficking, and diversion, but the system of control is not intended to diminish the medical usefulness of opioids, nor interfere in their legitimate medical uses and patient care.'65
"The concept of the Central Principle of Balance should not be limited to national regulatory policies, but should also guide the development and implementation of international drug control policies."


Taylor, Allyn L. "Addressing the Global Tragedy of Needless Pain: Rethinking the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs," Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Law Center, January 2008) Vol. 35, No. 556, p. 564.