Drugs and Health
The African region is affected by security and transnational organized crime challenges. Current major threats include the use of the region as a transit area for cocaine and heroin and an increase in the local use of all types of drugs. While drug consumption is worryingly increasing in the region, efforts to support drug prevention, drug dependence treatment and care services in a health framework have become even more important. This is associated with the infrastructure (human, medical and material) of treatment settings providing clinical services including vital treatment for drug use disorders, HIV, hepatitis prevention, treatment and care. The lack of specialized treatment facilities and trained professionals in rehabilitation facilities constitute a major impediment to a sound drug prevention and treatment health system.
Moreover, the challenges include the lack of transparency in the health systems, and the high risk of disease transmission in prisons, based on vulnerabilities to poor health due to cramped living conditions, lack of sanitation and hygiene and overburdened prison health services.
Furthermore, significant challenges include an intensification of health emergencies with criminal groups taking advantage of opportunities arising from pandemics, humanitarian crises to exploit vulnerabilities and gaps in health and social protection systems; the trafficking in falsified products to and within Africa is increasing, including vaccines, medicine and medical products.
UNODC works with member states to ensure that drug treatment services in West and Central Africa meet the international standards for care. This is achieved through our work to support the creation of national/sub regional drug information systems and through the implementation of drug treatment related assessments, data collection, monitoring and evaluation.
Through our different programs in the regions, UNODC works to enhance the capacity for drug treatment services to provide support for adolescents with drug use disorders and their families while supporting advocacy related activities and the coordination and development of evidence-based policies on drug dependence treatment and care. Drug prevention interventions such as family skills programs as well as family therapy materials for the treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders - including those in / or at risk to be in contact with the Criminal Justice System - have been implemented in the region.
We are working in supporting families and communities in ensuring the healthy and safe development of children and youth and their protection from drug use and drug related harm; fortifying health and social systems against organized crime; improving access to controlled medicines, as well as the health of people in prisons; and to promoting health-centered and evidence-based drug control and HIV, Hepatitis prevention, treatment and care.