Science of drug prevention and treatment discussed by global experts

Opening of UNODC's 2015 Scientific Consultation on Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders. Photo: UNODC8 December 2015 - More than 30 researchers from around the world who work in the field of drug demand reduction, together with over 200 participants from 85 countries, are gathering in Vienna this week to discuss the latest findings in drug prevention and drug dependence treatments. They will also discuss programmes that have proven to be effective in stopping or reducing the negative health and social consequences of drug use. Running from 8 to 10 December, the  Scientific Consultation on Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders aims to strengthen global drug policy with the latest research, considering the dignity of people affected by drug use disorders as a priority.

The event, hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), highlights the science behind evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions. It also supports Member States in developing policies, strategies and methods based on scientific research and ethical standards. The meeting, additionally, adheres to Sustainable Development  Goal 3: "To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages'', and its corresponding target 3.5: "Strengthening prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.''

"This meeting provides a space for experts to share their research and views on the most urgent and crucial issues related to the science of drug use prevention and treatment and care of drug dependence," said UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, at the opening. Also present were Ambassador Khaled Shamaa, Chair of the Board tasked with the preparations for the Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem (UNGASS); Vladimir Poznyak, WHO Coordinator of Management of Substance Abuse, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse; and Esbjörn Hörnberg, Chair of the Civil Society Task Force.

The Scientific Consultation explores in detail topics ranging from 'contemporary understanding of drug use disorders' to 'gender sensitive drug dependence treatment'. It will also look into possibilities of applying evidence-based prevention and treatment methods in a practical way when developing effective drug policies for different settings and regions. The aim is to build bridges to a future in which no person at risk of drug use is left behind.

To benefit people with drug use disorders, during the two-day Consultation, experts from around the world will discuss effective, accessible and affordable drug dependence treatment and care strategies and how they  are mainstreamed in the health and social services.

Further information:

UNODC's work on drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation

Executive Director's remarks at the event opening

Scientific Consultation programme of activities