As part of the capacity developing component of the global project "TREATNET II: Treating drug dependence and its health consequences", the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia organized  the regional "Training of Trainers on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care" from 24 August to 11 September in Tashkent. The three weeks training comprised simultaneous instruction in 3 thematic areas: a) initial screening, assessment and treatment planning; b) elements of psychosocial treatment; and c) addiction medications and special populations. Seven Master Trainers from Belorussia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania, Pakistan and Sweden lead the training in their respective areas of expertise.
Thirty seven potential trainers from the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) attended the training to be trained in one of three thematic areas. These participants included experts with varied backgrounds such as psychiatry, drug dependence treatment experts, psychologists and counsellors, teachers especially from medical institutes and medical universities and service providers working in NGOs and other settings.
The training had two main objectives: to improve the participants' own knowledge and skills in the technical aspects of drug dependence treatment and to enhance their skills in conducting interactive training sessions. To build these skills, particular attention was given to role plays and practice sessions for participants' presentations during the training. Participants learned what different categories of psychoactive substances do to the body and brain; how to screen individuals with substance use disorders and conduct brief interventions to address the individual's drug use; and contemporary concepts and guidelines for addiction medication for a range of substances of abuse including stimulants, cannabis, benzodiazepines and opioids. Participants  developed the knowledge and skills required to conduct a comprehensive psychosocial assessment of a substance abusing individual at the initiation of treatment and to develop comprehensive treatment plans using the Addiction severity index. Additional topics covered included concepts and skills in basic counselling skills, cognitive behavioural therapy for relapse prevention, and motivational interviewing for people to change behaviour, treatment of people with co-occurring substance abuse, medical and mental health disorders, as well as special considerations for treatment of women and young people with substance use disorders.
After the training, the participants were certified as National Trainers and became part of the international network of trainers under TREATNET. As a next step, the participants will form national training teams, prepare a grant proposal for a National Training Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment to be supported by UNODC, and conduct nine individual and national level training sessions in their thematic areas. The participants will continue to receive mentoring support and advice by the Master Trainers and UNODC regional office.