UNODC enhances drug dependence treatment services in Senegal

As many West African countries, Senegal has witnessed a rise in criminal activity, illicit trafficking and drug abuse over the past few years. Indeed, according to the 2018 World Drug Report, 87% of global opioid seizures (notably Tramadol) were made in West and Central Africa and North African countries.  In June 2019 alone, Senegalese maritime customs intercepted 789 kg of cocaine hidden in cars smuggled from Brazil. In addition, a growing number of synthetic drugs are being produced in clandestine laboratories in the Western part of the continent.

In terms of consumption, statistics for West and Central Africa show a prevalence rate of 13.2% for cannabis (compared to an average of 3.9% worldwide) and an estimated 1.1 million opioid users and 1.1 million heroin injectors (World Drug Report 2018). Polydrug use is also common across the region. Socio-economic factors, such as poverty and inequalities, as well as disillusionment and lack of perspectives contribute to the increasing rates of drug consumption among young people. These developments have resulted in increased global efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of drug dependence on health, social cohesion and the stability of States.

Against this background, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) organized a TREATNET training workshop on drug use disorder treatment and care from July 30th to August 2nd 2019 in Saly-Mbour, Senegal. The training was organized in coordination between UNODC's Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN), UNODC's Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and funded through UNAIDS' Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF). The Ministry of Health of Senegal, along with twenty-five health and social work professionals, national defense and security forces' representatives from the different regions of Senegal, participated in the training.As part of the TREATNET program, the workshop was led by psychiatrist-addictologist and focal point on drug treatment and care of the Ministry of Health of Senegal, Dr. Abou Sy.


Photo of the CEPIAD center

TREATNET is divided into several modules covering aspects of drug dependence and the reduction of associated risks. Some of the central themes include the importance of promoting treatment as an alternative to imprisonment and the reinforcement of universal and targeted prevention campaigns. The latter are particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as sex workers and prisoners. Participants in the training will act as focal points to diffuse the knowledge and competencies acquired in their professional environments. Initiated by UNODC TREATNET is, therefore, a capacity building strategy which aims to improve treatment and care for people with drug use disorders, recognizing addiction as a public health problem that requires evidence-based treatment. The objective of the program is to strengthen the capacities, knowledge, competencies and skills of treatment and care service providers in the implementation of comprehensive and multisectorial treatment and care strategies, in accordance with the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders (UNODC/WHO, 2016). The TREATNET programme also contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3- Good health and wellbeing, notably target 3.5 relative to substance abuse, SDG 5- Gender equality, and SDG 16- Peace, justice and strong institutions, aiming at enhanced coordination between the health and the justice system.

Finally, the program forms part of a series of actions undertaken at national level in the fight against drugs, such as the opening of a comprehensive addiction treatment center (CEPIAD) in 2015 in Dakar. To this date, the center has provided pharmacological treatment for opioid use disorders to approximately 1 172 patients between ages 15 and 70. In addition, the Faculty of Medicine of the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar inaugurated the first University Degree in Addictology program in the region on February 28 th 2018.

For more information :

UNODC Drug prevention, care, treatment and rehabilitation

UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN)


World Drug Report 2018

UNODC and the SDGs