UNODC Brazil organizes training workshop for policymakers on drug use disorders

Brasilia, 11 November 2021 The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Brazil held, from 10 to 11 November,  an online training on the nature, prevention and treatment of disorders associated with drug use, aimed at the audience of policymakers. The meeting gathered public policy managers as well as federal and state government representatives. 

The training was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Citizenship and the National Secretariat for Drug Care and Prevention (SENAPRED) and was supported by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD/OAS) and the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL/USA).

Opening Session - The session was attended by the Representative of UNODC Brazil, Elena Abbati; the National Secretary for Drug Care and Prevention, Quirino Cordeiro Junior; the INL's rule of law officer for Brazil, Gideon Donoho, and the head of CICAD's Drug Demand Reduction Unit, Jimena Kalawski, and the Global Programme Coordinator for the Drug Use Prevention and Health Section ot UNODC HQ.

According to the UNODC Brazil representative, the role of policymakers is crucial in the treatment, care, and prevention of drug addiction. "The purpose of this activity is to provide them with the tools to develop policies, strategies, programmes, and interventions aimed at preventing drug use and expanding the supply and access to a comprehensive care network for people with problems associated with substance use," she said.

Drug Use and the Gender Dimension - According to Wadih Maalouf, Global Programme Coordinator for the Drug Use Prevention and Health Section at UNODC headquarters, gender is a key component in the vulnerability and care of young people with drug use addiction. "While one in three people who use drugs is a woman, only one in six who is in treatment is a woman. Women typically face higher levels of stigma and discrimination," he stated.

For Jimena Kalawski, head of CICAD's Demand Reduction Unit, who presented the OAS' Hemispheric Drug Strategy 2020, "in the Americas, the drug problem is an increasingly complex, dynamic and multi-causal phenomenon that has adverse effects on health, social cohesion, citizen security, the integrity of democratic institutions, economic and social activities." she said. 

The director of Prevention, Care, and Social Reintegration at SENAPRED, Cláudia Leite, outlined an overview of the federal government's actions regarding drugs: "the government established a regulation that differentiates between users and dealers, adopting a position against legalization and focusing on the treatment of chemical dependents and actions aimed at both the addict and the family”.

"The current model relies on the interconnection of an assistance network, which involves dozens of federal, state, and municipal institutions and entities, such as basic health units, outpatient clinics, CAPS, therapeutic communities, general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, specialized clinics, support houses, and mutual help groups, among others," she reported.

UNODC's Drug Work - UNODC acts globally in the involvement and active participation of governmental organizations, universities, civil society organizations, health professionals and others in the field of prevention, in the promotion of a systematic, intersectoral and multidisciplinary response to the problems associated with substance use, which are complex and affect a large segment of the world's population.  

UNODC supports actions aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3 "Ensure a healthy life and promote well-being for all, at all ages" and more specifically in relation to the goal 3.5 of this objective focused on "strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including the abuse of narcotic drugs and harmful use of alcohol", as well as all other SDGs related to this theme in the 2030 Agenda.  

To ensure that children, adolescents, and youth, especially those living in contexts of marginalization and poverty, can fully develop their potential, drug prevention strategies must consist of a set of integrated, evidence-based, and context-specific interventions and policies for different contexts, life cycles, and levels of risk. 

Drug addiction is considered a multifactorial health issue with characteristics of a chronic disease. Thus, effective and evidence-based treatment and care services must guarantee the same quality standards as those available for any other chronic disease. 

According to the World Drug Report 2021, among people who have used a substance in the last year, it is estimated that approximately 36 million, or almost 13%, have a substance use disorder, which means, a use that can lead to dependence and/or require treatment. Additionally, the report points out that special attention is needed for young people, since the highest levels of drug use were registered in the population aged between 18 and 25 years old.      


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