UNODC Receives Grant from OPEC Fund to Improve Drug Treatment

VIENNA, 5 May 2008 (UNODC) - In a ceremony today at the headquarters of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in Vienna, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and OFID signed a grant agreement for a joint programme to prevent HIV/AIDS among drug users, known as Treatnet II. The OFID grant, of $3 million, will enable UNODC to expand drug prevention and treatment opportunities to individuals who are vulnerable to the spread of HIV. This second phase of Treatnet will focus on Latin America (Colombia, Haiti, Nicaragua and Peru) and Sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia). UNODC will seek co-financing for expansion of Treatnet activities in South East Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

"This grant builds on a good track record of cooperation between UNODC and the OPEC Fund, particularly in Central Asia", said the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa. "It will enable us to reach those who are marginalized because of their illness, and provide them with proper treatment", said Mr. Costa.

Treatnet is designed to improve quality and access to drug treatment, disseminate good practices, bring drug treatment into the mainstream of the health care system, and develop comprehensive care and training based on solid medical evidence. As a result of the programme, medical and social service workers in assisted countries will have a better understanding of the links between drug dependence and HIV, and greater means to provide assistance to their clients, thereby improving drug treatment and reducing the harm caused by drugs.

"Addiction and HIV are health problems with social consequences. Treatment is often a low priority in developing countries, and yet lack of treatment hurts development. Thanks to OFID, we can help vulnerable communities break this vicious circle", said the head of UNODC.

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For information, please contact:
Mr. Walter Kemp
Spokesman
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060 5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
E-mail: walter.kemp@unodc.org

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