Launching of ‘National Drug Use Survey Pakistan 2022-24’ - A key milestone in developing effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programmes

October 26, 2022, Islamabad – Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif has observed that Pakistan, being contiguous to major drug producing areas, is more prone and susceptible to drug abuse which has manifested in the increased number of addicts across the country.  It was noted by the Prime Minister in his message on the launching of National Drug Use Survey Pakistan 2022-24 which was read by Ms Sabino Sikandar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control (MNC), during a high profile ceremony held here in Islamabad. The survey is a joint effort of the UNODC Country Office in Pakistan in collaboration with Ministry of Narcotics Control, Government of Pakistan and U.S  Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law enforcement Affairs (INL).

“Drug abuse has emerged as an issue potentially endangering human society in terms of health hazards, crimes, money laundering, economic challenges in the form of underground economies, sponsorship of militancy and terrorism etc. It becomes even more challenging and threatening when dynamics of drug abuse and varieties of drugs are fast changing and spreading without any boundaries, which is leading to exponential rise in drug abuse across the globe in general and Pakistan in specific”, Prime Minister further stated in his message.

UNODC Representative in Pakistan, Dr. Jeremy Milsom in his welcome remarks thanked the Government of Pakistan for its support in taking lead on the survey and the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for gracious financial support to conduct the National Drug Use Survey as well as drug prevention and treatment interventions in the country. He also mentioned that “the comprehensive data on drug use patterns and trends is key to developing effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programmes and the Survey Report will serve to promote thoughtful discussions, inform policies and strengthen national cooperation.”

Pakistan conducted its previous survey in 2012-13 to estimate the extent and patterns of drug use in the country. A lot of changes have been observed in drug use trends in the region since the previous survey, especially in terms of anecdotal information of a rapid increase in the use of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine.

The National Drug Use Survey 2022-24 will comprise of a Household Survey and a High-Risk Drug Use Study covering major districts in each province to ensure nationwide coverage.The Household Survey will be based on a probability sample proportional to the size of the population aged between 15 and 64 with a sample size of over 111600 households while the sample size for High-Risk Drug Use Study involves 7000 high-risk drug users recruited through respondent-driven sampling in 23 districts of Pakistan. The sampling frame for the Household Survey will be based on the most recent census data and listing of households available nationally. The survey will generate reliable evidence-based information to facilitate government counterparts in developing effective and responsive planning on drug prevention, treatment and care services in the country.


A presentation was arranged by Dr. Kamran Niaz, Epidemiologist Research Section, UNODC Vienna and the implementing organizations to sensitize the audience on implementation of National Drug Use Survey and elaborate the phased process of Household Survey and High-Risk Drug Use Study.

Mr. Andrew J. Schofer, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Islamabad,  thanked the Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, UNODC, and other partners for their collaboration. He further stated that, “through this project, the U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) will support the Government of Pakistan in gathering  evidence-based information on changing patterns of drug use while facilitating stronger implementation of programs and refinement of policies.  The launch of the survey is an important milestone in ensuring the availability of evidence-based information on drug use in Pakistan, filling an often-overlooked gap.  The information and recommendations contained in the completed survey report will help in saving lives by informing the development of drug prevention and treatment programs and suggesting desired policy or regulatory changes. The United States is proud to partner with the Government of Pakistan on drug demand reduction efforts.  To date, INL has provided financial support worth USD 24 Million (522 Million Pakistani Rupees)  for drug treatment and prevention efforts in Pakistan. I am also pleased to share with you that this year we celebrate the 75-year anniversary of the partnership between United States and Pakistan.  The US Government, through INL, has invested more than USD 1 Billion over the last 40 years to improve citizen security and enhance law enforcement capacity across Pakistan.”

 Ms. Humaira Ahmed, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control,  in her speech mentioned that “the drug use problem has emerged as a serious threat to health and security of the people in Pakistan specially the youth with tendency towards drug use being observed even in educational institutions. She emphasized that addressing the drug problem effectively requires a comprehensive multisectoral response from various departments/sectors.” 

Joining online from UNODC Headquarters in Vienna, Ms. Giovanna Campello, Chief of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section, talked about the importance of the National Drug Use Survey in understanding the ground situation, and the gaps and challenges to strengthen drug use prevention and drug dependence treatment and care interventions. She also highlighted the efforts that were being made in collaboration with the government of Pakistan in developing a mechanism to ensure quality drug treatment services and scaling up the capacity of drug treatment professionals to deliver quality drug treatment services that are in line with the UNODC/WHO International standards. Nawabzada Shazain Bugti, Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, in his concluding remarks, emphasized on the need for being strategic in drug prevention and treatment approaches. He hoped that the survey will help in providing information to take stock of drug situation in the country and facilitate in chalking out strategies to effectively combat the challenges of drug abuse.

The survey will be implemented by the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), a leading research organization in Pakistan, under the aegis of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination while the High-Risk Drug Use Study will be carried out by a prestigious NGO named Phoenix Foundation. The National Household Survey will last till the end of December 2023 followed by an extensive process of data analysis and report generation by UNODC till June 2024.

The event was attended by honorable representatives from government ministries and departments, foreign missions, UN organizations and civil society organizations.


The project is being executed with the financial support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).


 Media coverage:

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Islamabad Post

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