Health Projects

Drug use is associated with increased vulnerabilities in many areas of life, resulting in adverse social and health consequences, such as co-occurring mental and physical disorders (including HIV, Hepatitis and other infectious diseases), drug-related deaths, unemployment, stigmatization, crime and violence. Furthermore, decades of conflict and instability have left many Afghans vulnerable to a wide range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – common risk factors for the initiation of drug use and the development of drug use disorders.

Over the years, UNODC Health section has supported Afghanistan in strengthening drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and harm reduction programs based on scientific evidence, human rights and gender consideration by developing:

1) Comprehensive and effective drug policy and system;

2) Coordination among stakeholders;

3) Technical tools (e.g., national guidance, clinical protocols, psychosocial protocols);

4) Capacity building of national policymakers, public health officials, health and drug treatment professionals, social care and education providers, and criminal justice and law enforcement officers.

Drug Prevention and Education Program

The primary goal of substance use prevention is to help non-substance users avoid or delay the initiation of substance use. For those who are already substance users, prevention seeks to minimize the likelihood that they will develop substance use disorders (e.g., dependence). Prevention also has a broader purpose, which is to support the healthy and safe development of children and youth and to allow them to realize their potential by becoming contributing members of their community and society.
With more than 60% of total population under the age of 25, Afghanistan has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world, making the effort on prevention even more crucial.
UNODC has been piloting several family skills programmes for the prevention of drug use, crime and violence at the national level. These programs are designed for families with children aged between 8 and 14 with the aim of improving parenting skills, child well-being and family mental health. 

Technical Support

UNODC has been supporting Afghanistan in strengthening drug use harm reduction programs based on scientific evidence, human rights and gender consideration by developing Afghanistan’s National Strategic Plan on HIV, Hepatitis & STIs prevention, diagnosis and treatment, National Guidelines, technical tools and training manuals on evidence-based harm reduction, OST, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of overdose of illicit drugs and Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C prevention and treatment guidelines and National Guideline on HIV prevention services to people who use stimulant drugs.
UNODC has also provided support to translation (both in Dari and Pashto) and publication of key documentation such as Recovery management protocol, Psychosocial protocol, WHO-UNODC international standards for the treatment of substance use disorders and COVID-19 pandemic prevention packages for wider dissemination in the country. In addition, UNODC has developed IEC material on the harmful consequences of drug use.

Capacity Development

UNODC has trained over 2,000 national policymakers, public health officials, health and social care providers, and educational professionals in Afghanistan in line with the UNODC-WHO International Standards for Drug Use Prevention and the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders at the national level and outside the country.


Current Activities

From 2022, a Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA) has been established. This inter-agency mechanism and UN-Multi-Partner Trust Fund is supporting UN joint programming in the provision of basic human needs in Afghanistan. UNODC is one of the participating UN organizations.
Under this fund, UNODC is supporting local organizations to manage centers delivering drug use prevention activities, primary health care, psychoeducation session as well as harm reduction interventions in different regions of the country (Kandahar and Laghman provinces). In addition, with the support of several international donors, UNODC is providing support to revitalize existing Drug Treatment Centers with provision of food items, winterization kits, hygiene material along with essential medical supplies.
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