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Workshop "Nature, Prevention and Treatment of Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders" in Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, July 29, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN), through the global program on drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of the drug prevention and health section, conducted the workshop "Nature, prevention and treatment of psychoactive substance use disorders".

Twenty-one drug demand reduction policy makers from different institutions such as the National Drug Council, the Penitentiary System and the Ministry of Youth, among others, participated in this virtual training, which took place on July 21, 23, 28 and 30.

The objectives of this workshop were to improve knowledge, understanding and intersectoral outreach for the control of psychoactive substances, and thus improve the quality of life of people at risk for the consumption of psychoactive substances; and to support progress in the implementation of the guidelines and national policies of the Dominican Republic in this area.

The opening ceremony was attended by Jaime Marte Martinez, president of the National Drug Council; Giovanna Campello, head of the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation section of UNODC (Vienna), Jose Vila del Castillo, regional representative of UNODC and speakers Dr. Elizabeth Saenz, UNODC project coordinator and Dr. Mariano Montenegro, director of the Colombo Plan for Latin America (INL).

Vila del Castillo highlighted that "according to the latest World Drug Report, around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year, while 36.3 million people, or 13% of the total number of people who use drugs, suffer from substance use disorders and only 1 in 8 people who require treatment manage to receive it".

"Although the impact of COVID-19 on drug challenges is not yet fully known, the analysis suggests that the social impact of the pandemic has led to increased inequality, poverty and mental health conditions, especially among already vulnerable populations, and these are factors that could push more people into drug use," the regional representative stressed.

Vila del Castillo expressed his satisfaction "to support the Dominican Republic in its process of developing policies to prevent drug use and increase access to care for people affected by drug use by providing them with this training".