‘Ten Years Later’ – Developing Institutional Mechanisms for Drug Demand Reduction and Addictology Education in Georgia – A Case Study
During the last ten years, Georgia made several important accomplishments in responding to the country’s drug problem. Specifically, in 2011, an interagency national drug coordinating body was established within the Ministry of Justice; in 2015, the multidisciplinary Addiction Studies MA Program was initiated within Ilia State University; and in 2019, the National Drug Observatory (NDO) was founded.
This article reviews these accomplishments within the context of the national drug situation with a special focus on addictology education, following up on two 2011 articles published in the journal Addiktologie: Overview of Drug Situation in Georgia (Javakhishvili et al., 2011) and Educational Needs in the Sphere of Addictology in Georgia (Kirtadze et al., 2011). The article also analyses the factors of success and lessons learned from change management experiences.
The method implied is a case study of Georgia based on a review of relevant literature, scientific and technical reports, government documents, and administrative records relevant to the developments in drug demand reduction, with a special focus on the development of educational infrastructure in addictology.
Factors that facilitated the above-listed constructive developments include persistent efforts by a dedicated group of professionals, the European Union (EU) catalyzation of these processes (e.g., by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction – EMCDDA); universities, experts, international cooperation projects; and local stakeholders’ goodwill to facilitate and promote changes. Addictology education in Georgia could also be considered an important factor in facilitating the changes in the country’s drug response.