9 November 2012 - In order to standardize and enhance the delivery of drug treatment and rehabilitation services in Pakistan, UNODC has launched a publication entitled "Treatment Protocols for Drug Use", which was produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Narcotics Control and with technical support from the University of Adelaide (Australia), a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centre.
Pakistan is part of the UNODC/WHO global project on drug treatment and rehabilitation, which is aimed at enhancing the capacity of drug treatment professionals based on the treatment protocols. Following extensive review by experts, these protocols have been endorsed by the Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi, where the launch took place. The objective is to provide high-quality, evidence-based drug treatment services to drug-dependent people.
Speaking at the launch, UNODC Pakistan Representative Jeremy Douglas said that "UNODC promotes policies that strike the right balance between the reduction of drug supply, as well as demand, and also guide Member States to adopt science-based drug prevention and dependence treatment". Mr. Douglas added that treatment policies and services had not been developed in a structured, strategic and sustainable manner. In general, treatment centres lacked unified drug treatment guidelines. Those protocols would not only be aimed at standardizing service delivery but would also assist in effective monitoring, he said.
Professor Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences, stated that "This publication will be a useful tool for drug treatment practitioners and will help them provide services in a more efficient way. These protocols will improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of drug-dependent treatment and rehabilitation services."
Javed Iqbal, Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control, said that, under the National Drug Control Master Plan (2012-2015), the Government of Pakistan aimed to mainstream drug treatment and rehabilitation services into the health system. He said that people with drug use problems should receive effective and humane treatment, that drug use should be considered a medical problem and that drug users should receive nothing less than what would be expected for any other disease.