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Workshop on the nature, prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in Panama

Panama, 16 December 2019. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN) in coordination with the National Commission for the Study and Prevention of Drug-Related Crime organized the Workshop on the Nature, Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, from 10 to 12 December in Panama.

The seminar was addressed to 40 policymakers of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Security, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of the Presidency, National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family, World Health Organization, White Cross, Hogares Crea, among others.

The workshop facilitators were Elizabeth Saenz, global coordinator of the Treatment and Rehabilitation section of the Health and Drug Prevention Branch of UNODC Vienna; consultant Mariano Montenegro; and Melva Ramírez, UNODC project coordinator in Panama.

At the opening ceremony, Melissa Flynn, Director of Projects and Operations at UNODC Panama, said that "5.6 per cent of the world's population, aged 15-64, used drugs at least once in 2017".
"All populations have particular needs, which must be taken into account when designing interventions for them, for example, women, children, or adolescents in conflict with the criminal law," said Flynn, adding that "for all of them it requires specialized interventions, both prevention and treatment, and that they are based on scientific evidence.

He stressed that "the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has within its mandates to support countries with technical assistance for the formulation of policies, and the development of strategies and programs with the aim of preventing the use of psychoactive substances and strengthening care and treatment initiatives".
The Workshop on the Nature, Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders has been held in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and more recently in Central American countries.
The objective of this training is to improve knowledge and understanding of this problem, as well as to strengthen intersectoral work to address the issue of psychoactive substances, improving the quality of life of people at risk from consumption of these substances. In addition, to support the implementation of the national guidelines that Panama currently has in this area.