UNODC Country Programme (2011-2014)
Sub-Programme 2: Drug Demand Reduction and HIV Control
Sub-programme 2 of the Country Programme focuses on drug demand reduction and HIV control, working towards the achievement of the following outcomes/outputs:
Promoting a public health prevention approach and protecting individuals, families and communities from drug addiction and HIV are the themes of Sub-programme 2. National drug demand reduction, HIV control and harm reduction programmes are being strengthened through specific scientific-based actions in the areas of drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, advocacy, and HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. In all these areas, the UNODC's work and interventions are targeting mainly vulnerable groups, in partnership with a number of national and international partners. A specific component has been designed to strengthen the capacities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the areas of drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Moreover, South-South cooperation is facilitated through activities that expose other middle-income countries, as well as developing countries, to the good practices carried out by national authorities in the I. R. of Iran in opium substitution therapies and HIV prevention and control in the prison setting.
Major Achievements of Sub-Programme 2 (2011- Mid 2014):
- In the area of prevention, UNODC Iran has introduced many innovative drug prevention measures through the development and publishing of packages for several target groups, with particular emphasis on vulnerable groups like youth, women and street children. Drug prevention measures among high school students, university students, street children, and spouses of drug users were introduced and/or scaled up in a number of provinces through providing training, with booster and evaluation sessions. Piloting of two international "good practices" packages on drug prevention was initiated: Family and School together (FAST) and Strengthening Family Programme (SFP). Other developed training packages include, inter-alia: Health Promotion in Workplace; Strengthening Parents - Life Skills Training Focusing on Drug Use Prevention in Families; and "Healthy Youth" - An Audio-Visual Life Skills Training Package for Parents of Students.
- In the area of drug treatment and rehabilitation, training manuals were developed on the treatment of children and adolescents, psychosocial services to women drug users, and treatment of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) use through behavioural management and brief interventions. Trainers and service providers have been trained to use these manuals in treating drug users and further training of clinicians in their daily work. The trainings are followed by booster and evaluation sessions. UNODC Iran has also been supporting the national counterparts to improve drug demand reduction planning and policy making through the evaluation of the following treatment programmes: drug treatment among adolescents, residential short-term treatment, and group therapy practices. Furthermore, UNODC Iran has been promoting the integration of drug prevention and care services into the Primary Health Care System.
- In the field of HIV prevention and care, UNODC Iran has been supporting increased access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for prisoners, drug users and their sexual partners, and improved care for HIV-positive drug users through the development of training materials and the organization of relevant training workshops and booster sessions. Training packages were developed/advanced in the areas of: prevention of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among women prisoners; HIV/STI prevention among spouses of drug users; HIV prevention training for psychologists and medical staff of the Iranian Police Forces; and HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) in Prisons. Other activities in this regard include: conducting an HIV-focused bio-behavioural survey among injecting drug users and their sexual partners; conducting a needs assessment and a follow-up round table on the access of drug users to HIV prevention and treatment services; and promoting the needle and syringe programmes and the implementation of HIV/TB programmes in a number of prisons.
- UNODC Iran has been active in community awareness-raising in the areas of drug and HIV prevention and HIV and stigma through the production of awareness-raising materials and the yearly organization of events and ceremonies on the occasion of the World Aids Day, with the participation of the relevant NGOs, Governmental organizations and people living with HIV. Key advocacy initiatives include:
- The organization of three major activities to commemorate World AIDS Day 2013, including: 1) The First Press Festival on HIV/AIDS, where selected works of people active in the Press on the subject of HIV/AIDS received awards; 2) The "Kites and Red Ribbons in the Sky of Tehran" festival in a major park in Tehran, with the distribution of red ribbons and brochures; and 3) The Yellow Taxis and Red Ribbons event in Tehran and Mashhad, in which taxi drivers and passengers received information, brochures and some promotional materials on HIV/AIDS.
- The organization of a cartoon competition and two exhibitions in 2012 on the negative effects of stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV, in collaboration with the Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ), Simay-e-Sabz-e-Rahaee NGO, and UNAIDS. In 2014, UNODC published the full collection of the cartoons displayed in the exhibition in a book entitled "Collection of Cartoons on HIV/AIDS".
- Support to an awareness-raising campaign on HIV/AIDS on the occasion of the World AIDS Day 2012, comprised of: information stands in four shopping centres and one park; a mobile team dispatched to different beauty salons in Tehran; and the production of brochures and other promotional items (mugs, red ribbons, and balloons with red ribbon and logos of UNODC). Through this campaign, more than 10,000 people were informed on different aspects of HIV/AIDS, including the routes of transmission, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, and Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres.
- Support to the staging of 60 rounds of traditional street theatre performances on HIV/AIDS in ten towns in Fars province in 2011, and to a street theatre on HIV and stigma in 2012 performed by Congress 60, an active NGO in the field of drug treatment and HIV prevention.
- The organization of a sports and recreational festival on the occasion of the World AIDS Day 2011 with the participation of 200 ex-drug users, with the aim of raising public awareness on HIV/AIDS and improving public attitudes towards HIV-positive people.
- The production of four posters featuring Iranian celebrities promoting the UNODC slogan "Think Health, Not Drugs", to promote drug prevention among students.
- The production of six posters with various themes related to "HIV/AIDS and Stigma".
- UNODC has been working towards the empowerment and capacity-building of local NGOs providing drug demand and harm reduction services through the provision of training on different technical and managerial aspects e.g. on strategic planning, mentoring, and awareness-raising.
- Sub-programme 2 has been advancing regional and South-South Cooperation and contributing to the implementation of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries in the areas of drug and drug-related HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The UNODC Office in Iran has been organizing activities and supporting initiatives within the Regional Programme framework, facilitating the participation of Iranian experts and practitioners in the relevant regional platforms, and supporting the exchange of experiences and good practices between Iran and other countries. The following are key examples in this regard:
- UNODC Iran organized a 5-day training workshop on drug dependence treatment for a group of physicians and psychiatrists from Afghanistan and Pakistan in January 2013 in Tehran, in coordination with DCHQ and the UNODC Regional Office, and in collaboration with the Tehran Psychiatric Institute.
- Through close cooperation with the UNODC Regional Office, UNODC Iran co-organized the Second Regional Consultative Meeting towards Networking of Drug Demand and Harm Reduction Non-Governmental Organizations, together with DCHQ and the Iranian "Rebirth Society" NGO. The meeting was held in Tehran from 17 to 19 February 2014 and culminated in the establishment of a network of drug demand and harm reduction NGOs in West and Central Asia, which will strengthen their ability to collaborate and exchange best practices to address the problems of drug abuse and HIV prevention.
- Within the framework of the Regional Programme's envisaged support for the maintenance and expansion of treatment services for vulnerable groups and high-risk populations, UNODC Iran has been supporting the work of four Drop-in Centres (DICs) providing HIV-related health and social protection services to drug-using Afghan refugees living in Iran. Contracted by UNODC Iran in 2012, these DICs are providing harm reduction and treatment services to the refugees in Shahr-e-Rey and Vramin cities of Tehran and in Mashhad. The services provided by these centres include: needle and syringe distribution, condom promotion and distribution, Methadone Maintenance Treatment, first-aid, wound dressing and care, provision of food, basic counselling, training on HIV and Drugs, referral for HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing and other needed services like psychiatric counselling, dentistry and hospitals. UNODC Iran is regularly monitoring the activities of the centres through the receipt of reports and regular field visits. Moreover, the Office organized a training session for the service providers of the DICs on Peer Education in September 2013 in Tehran and two trainings on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in October and November 2013 in Mashhad and Tehran, respectively.
- UNODC Iran, in partnership with DCHQ, organized a study tour in June 2012 for a delegation from the Kyrgyz Parliament to review the use of Methadone and Buprenorphine in the treatment of opiate dependence in Iran and the experience of Iranian professionals, before considering a possible expansion of Methadone pilot projects in Kyrgyzstan.
- UNODC Iran organized a study visit to Switzerland in September 2013 for an Iranian delegation of experts from DCHQ, the Prisons Organization, Judiciary, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, and the State Welfare Organization to benefit from the Swiss experience in harm reduction facilities in prisons and closed settings, as well as in the community.