Islamic Republic of Iran


Training Workshop on Psychosocial Intervention on the Importance of Social Support for the Reintegration of Women with Drug Use Disorders into the Society


Tehran, 23 October 2022- Psychosocial interventions are generally recognized as an inherent component of responses to drug use disorders. The effectiveness of this combined approach for improving treatment adherence, reducing illicit drug use, drug-related harms and mortality and above all reintegration in society is backed by research. This approach is especially important in the context of the lives of women which is very different from men. Women drug users often encounter various personal, social, cultural, and structural barriers to entering treatment, such as a lack of treatment for pregnant women, low level of education, psychiatric disorders, history of trauma, stigma, discrimination, shame, poverty, child care duties, low social support, lack of services in accordance with women’s needs, high treatment cost, and rigid treatment schedules.
Based on extensive needs assessment under the previous project cycle, a manual was developed by Dr Jaleh Shaditalab retired professor of sociology and one of the most prestigious Iranian scholars in the area of gender studies commissioned by UNODC. The training guide aims to develop service providers' capacities on psychosocial interventions tailored to the needs of women with drug use disorders and approved by the national counterpart. It had undergone preliminary testing in 2015 and serves as the basis for providing training to relevant centres for implementation and the current training workshop.

UNODC, in cooperation with the Iranian Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ) and coordination with the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education and the State Welfare Organization, has organized a training workshop on “Psychosocial Intervention on the Importance of Social Support for the Reintegration of Women with Drug Use Disorders into the Society”, being held during four days of in-person sessions, in Tehran on 23 – 26 October 2022. The training is facilitated by Ms. Leila Arshad a pioneer in the area of rehabilitation of women with drug use disorders in the country.
The training workshop brings together psychologists and social workers from Tehran, Alborz and Kerman to further explore some key ideas such as ‘Increasing the possibility of women drug users having the minimum support services needed’, ‘Providing the opportunity to discover the abilities of women drug users', ‘Providing a suitable and inviting social environment for behavioral change’, ‘Increasing the probability of access to a job and income, etc.
The workshop was opened by a message from the UNODC Iran Representative, Mr. Alexander Fedulov, highlighting the exceeding needs of women drug users having access to treatment compared to men given the generally lower access of women to economic opportunities which escalates the vulnerability of women with drug use disorders even more. This underlines the need for psychosocial interventions even more among women despite all its difficulties. Dr. Majid Ghorbani, the Director General for Treatment and Social Support of the DCHQ, also reiterated the importance of psychosocial support to women drug users by highlighting the vital role women have in society and families as the emotional cornerstone of both entities. He welcomed the efforts made for the organization of this workshop which is the continuation of the efforts made by the DCHQ. in providing support to women drug users.
Through the present activity, UNODC Iran is seeking to enhance the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in strengthening the treatment of drug use disorders among women, with gracious funding from the Kingdom of Norway.