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Establishment of a Treatment, Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Network in Central America

... This initiative has been developed and implemented by UNODC ROPAN  in an effort to create a regional network for treatment, rehabilitation and social reinsertion that facilitates the improvement and modalities of integral attention through the different services available for persons who use or abuse drugs. Since 2004, with the original supervision of the UNODC Liaison Office in Mexico (LPO Mexico), the programme has been systematically implemented in six Spanish-speaking countries:  Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and  Panama. In 2006,  Belize was also incorporated into the programme.

The Project has been divided into various phases. The first three of these phases were designed to facilitate the establishment of the institutional bases in each country, a process which has resulted in valuable experiences.

During the first phase, a national focal point was established in each country for the creation of a regional network of centres for treatment, rehabilitation and social reinsertion. Each national focal point has aspired toward facilitating the application of the basic norms for treatment promoted through the programme, as well as the elaboration of national and regional assessments on the situation of the attention services for drug-dependent patients.

The second phase of the programme involved intervention from the national and regional assessments. This allowed for a regional, academically-accredited training programme to be designed in agreement with the national authorities and developed with the support of regional universities and think tanks. Likewise, agreements were signed with institutions of higher education in each of the participating countries, as well as universities in Mexico forming what has become known as a Consortium of Universities.

During the third phase, the "IT Follow-up System for Addictions", piloted by the Central Offices was developed with the objective of providing the region's countries with an integral, homogenous tool that allows for the diffusion of information on the incidence and tendency of drug consumption, as well as for the improvement of the services of governmental and non-governmental centres.

In the fourth and final phase, the programme also played an integral role in the creation of the Central American Network of Investigations of Drug Addictions (RECIA according to its acronym in Spanish). ROPAN, the national focal points and the Consortium of Universities, all contribute in various ways to the network. RECIA actively promotes the improvement in the quality of the region's treatment services and interactive technical feedback, public policies through the development of investigative initiatives that allow for the exchange of experiences and the generation of studies and projects at the national and regional levels.