Capacity Building of NRC as a Drug Demand Resource Centre for UAE and the Region
Project Duration: 08/03/2011 - 31/01/2016
Total Budget: US$ 7,970,900
Donor: United Arab Emirates
All relevant drug demand stakeholders in UAE, particularly relevant ministries and the civil society;
Drug Addicts and their families;
Youth, particularly those in Abu Dhabi;
The UAE community at large;
Other drug demand centres in the region.
Outline and Objectives
The countries of the Gulf region have been increasingly affected by the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs. This may be the result of a multitude of interconnected factors such as geographical location near primary production areas in South West Asia, extensive sea and land borders, the increasing focus upon the region as a hub for international trade by sea and air, free trade zones, extensive international air connections and open economy.
Despite the aforementioned situation describing the region as having all the ingredients to become a hotspot for a transit as well as a distribution market for drugs, a comprehensive drug demand response to this situation is still not in place in most of these countries. Moreover, regionally-sensitive good practice centres are sill non-existent.
The drug use situation in the lower Gulf situated countries is on the rise, drug use, particularly opiates, has increased. The UAE is a country at very close proximity to the opiate production zone such as in Afghanistan. UAE is a country of high socioeconomic status, has a relatively young population and is very cosmopolitan in nature. This combined together, may provide fertile ground for it to become a targeted market for dealers.
The National Rehabilitation Centre (based in Abu Dhabi) is the main centre dealing with drug demand reduction in UAE alongside the Chemical Dependency Unit of the Behavioural Science Pavilion of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. The NRC is an institution launched in 2002 and mandated to become a comprehensive infrastructure delivering full-fledged treatment and rehabilitation, research training and professional development in addition to public awareness, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.
The data on the level of drug use in UAE is still very limited with drug data being generated through drug seizure information (indicating increasing trends, volume and flow). Available epidemiological studies are limited. Still the anecdotal evidence and available data coupled with expert opinion information indicates a level of increase in the number of drug users (particularly among female users) as well as a lowering in the age of onset of use. Following the official announcement of its opening, NRC received 199 patients for treatment, with numbers doubling since 2005.
This project is a collaborative programme between the Regional Office and the NRC that aims at establishing the NRC as a regional drug demand reduction resource centre. This objective will be fulfilled using a programme composed of three different phases:
Phase I - a preparatory phase that aims to assess the situation and needs and political positioning of NRC as the leading center of the drug demand reduction response for UAE
Phase II - capacitating the structure of services
Phase III - NRC becomes a regional training centre on good practices
This multi-phase program will strengthen the institutional and human resource capacity of NRC and provide it with all necessary technical assistance and affiliations to provide a comprehensive package of demand reduction activities as well as become a resource centre for the region that is able to train other centers on good practices. Embedded in this project are affiliations with global good practice centers as well as partnerships with several international organizations some of which emanating from affiliations already established with NRC.
The overall goal of the project is to increase the capacity of member states to provide treatment and support services to drug-dependent people.
- The National Drug Control Strategy developed;
- The work of different stakeholders on the response coordinated;
- NRC Strategy developed;
- A steering committee was established in January 2011;
- Focal points were assigned during the steering committee's meeting to continue the implementation of the annual work plan;
- A higher committee to meet annually established;
- Forty five national stakeholders from governmental and private sector attended a stakeholder's meeting organized by the Subregional office in UAE and the NRC to generate consensus on the provision of data for the purpose of the situation assessment studies;
- A UAE drug policy review has been undertaken;
- Recommendations on policy formulations influencing NRC role in service provision to meet the drug situation submitted; and
- Media campaign launched.