The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a training for high-level participants to address the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders from 22-24 October 2019, in Brasilia, Brazil. The meeting gathered about 50 people among representatives of the federal, state and local governments involved in the prevention, treatment, social reintegration of drug users and the fight against trafficking.
The event was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Citizenship and the National Secretariat for Drug Care and Prevention (Senapred) with the support of the United States Embassy through the International Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL).
The opening table this Tuesday (22) was attended by Quirino Cordeiro Junior (Secretary of Care and Prevention of the Ministry of Citizenship), Kristian Hölge (UNODC representative for Peru and Ecuador), James Laverty (Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Attaché.
For Quirino Cordeiro, the qualification of professionals, including local managers, is one of the goals of the portfolio. "This is a special moment for the Brazilian government as we believe it is extremely important that the policy changes we are making in Brazil, starting this year, be accompanied by a solid training process of professionals who are effectively working on the implementation of public policies", said the secretary.
Prevention and treatment are worth
According to Kristian Hölge, this workshop will focus primarily on UNODC International Prevention Standards and UNODC-WHO International Substance Use Standards that identify the key components and characteristics of an effective drug prevention and treatment system based on scientific evidence. The treatment for substance use disorders should always be consistent with existing United Nations conventions. Besides that, "The 2019 UNODC World Drug Report points out that 275 million people aged 15-64 have used drugs at least once in 2016. The report also says that deaths directly caused by drug use have increased 60% between 2000 and 2015. "So we have to look for mechanisms to combat drug use, based on scientific evidence which above all put people first. There should be no place for improvisation", said Kristian.
"International drug control conventions have been designed to protect and promote public health, particularly of vulnerable groups such as at-risk children and adolescents, marginalized, excluded people, or people with a history of emotional trauma, psychological and health issues and concomitant mental disorders", he stressed.
Kristian Hölge reaffirmed that in 2016, the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) recognized that the drug matter is a shared common responsibility, requiring an integrated, multidisciplinary, balanced, broad and scientific evidence-based approach.
James Laverty, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Attaché talked about the increasing number of cocaine users and the lowering of its price. "In the 1990s there were 14 million regular cocaine users and currently there are 21 million. Cocaine production has more than doubled in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. In recent years, cocaine seizures have been increasing. As a result, the drug price in the market has decreased by about 60%," he stated.
The UNODC Global Drug Treatment Coordinator, Elizabeth Saenz, also stressed that the focus of efforts should be on people. "Our role is to accompany governments to protect the lives of human beings, to protect the rights of people who are affected by drug addiction or are vulnerable to developing a substance-use problem", she said.
"This training is a dynamic tool that can be tailored to the needs of countries whose aim is promoting the knowledge, the understanding, the scope and the potential of health and drug control education system", she added.
UNODC Training Manual
UNODC uses a training manual to guide the creation of effective evidence-based drug prevention and treatment efforts. This tool aims to support Member States in developing appropriate policies, strategies, programmes and interventions targeted at preventing drug use and increasing the availability of and access to comprehensive systems of care network for people affected by drug use and associated disorders.
Developed especially for policy makers, the handbook aims to improve the knowledge, the understanding and the intersectoral range of psychoactive substance control and thus improve the quality of life of affected people.