India: Workshop on drug dependence treatment launched for practitioners from Afghanistan and Punjab (India)


New Delhi/20 November 2017- As part of UNODC's Global Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care, a two-week long workshop was inaugurated by the UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia in New Delhi, India. The training workshop is targeted at clinical staff and practitioners from Afghanistan and Punjab (India). This workshop is a joint endeavour between UNODC's Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (Drug Prevention and Health Branch, UNODC, Vienna), UNODC Country Office Afghanistan and the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia.

Three international consultants will be in charge of delivering the training. This training on drug dependence treatment for practitioners and experts from Afghanistan, and Punjab aims to enhance the knowledge and skills to improve the quality of services provided to people affected by substance use.

The program was inaugurated by Mr. Sergey Kapinos, UNODC South Asia Representative, Ms. Mohini Daljit Singh, CEO, Max India Foundation, and Dr. Elizabeth Saenz, UNODC Project Coordinator, Vienna.

"The aim of this workshop is to develop a basis for the implementation of a training cascade at the level of beneficiary countries and to increase the capacity of service providers to deliver science and human rights-based interventions for the benefit of people affected by drug use disorders," Mr. Kapinos said in his inaugural remarks.

He added, "Millions of youth and children are being affected by drugs and it is imperative to collectively address this issue, both from the health perspective as well as the law enforcement front. We must act together in the spirit of shared responsibility and urgently, to stop the scourge of drug use in our countries."

The UNODC Training Package is a unique tool to enhance the level of knowledge and skills of professionals working in the field of substance use disorders.

"Lighting the lamp signifies an auspicious beginning. I hope this will be the beginning of a stronger collaboration between all of us to provide effective treatment for those affected by drug use. Drug use affects all aspects of life, including mental health. It is therefore vital to exchange expertise & experiences to combat this crisis and work together. Max India Foundation supports UNODC's efforts in this area and looks forward to working together. I also urge participants to imbibe and learn as much as possible from this workshop and share this knowledge widely," asserted Ms. Singh, while addressing the gathering.

"The idea of this workshop is to enable participants to become multipliers of expertise and knowledge, as well as the message, that drug use disorder is a serious health issue. I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan for their support to UNODC's work in Afghanistan," Dr. Saenz said.

According to the 2017 World Drug Report, over 29.5 million people who use drugs are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders, and of these, 12 million are people who inject drugs (PWID).

The magnitude of the suffering caused by drug use is underlined by the estimated 28 million years of "healthy" life lost worldwide as a result of premature death and disability caused by drug use.

Overdose-related deaths represent approximately one-third to a half of all drug-related deaths, which in most cases are attributable to opioids.

Yet, only one in six problem drug users have access to drug dependence treatment services - thus pointing to the large gap in service provision that still remains to be closed.