UNODC Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS), in collaboration with the WHO, International Experts from Australia and Italy, the Colombo Plan, UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (ROSEAP) and field offices in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam), organized UNODC web seminar entitled “Drug Dependence Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation Support for People, Families, and Communities affected by Drug Use Disorders in the COVID19 Crisis in Southeast Asia” on 12 June 2020. The webinar was organized building on UNODC’s technical guidance document “UNODC Suggestions about Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation of People with Drug Use Disorders in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Its major objectives included: 1) share useful guidance, information, materials in provision of drug treatment and rehabilitation services in the COVID19 crisis; 2) Discuss challenges on the ground among regional and national experts with support from international experts; and 3) Share good practices in adapting to COVID19 situation and preparedness. Overall, 72 policymakers and drug treatment experts from 8 Southeast Asian countries, such as Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, presented in this webinar.
The webinar was opened together by Ms. Giovanna Campello, Chief of PTRS UNODC Vienna, Ms. Karen Peters, Programme Officer UNODC ROSEAP, Dr. Carrina Ferreira-Borges, Programme Manager, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Ms. Nathalie Panabokke, Deputy Director, Drug Advisory Programme of the Colombo Plan. As Keynote presentations, Ms. Anja Busse, Programme Officer PTRS, provided an overview of the UNODC’s suggestions for treatment, Care and Rehabilitation; Dr. Carina Ferreira-Borges, WHO European Office, briefed the WHO interim guidance document “Preparedness, Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention”; Dr. Nicolas Clark (Australia), Director of Victoria medically supervised injecting center and Dr. Giuseppe Carra (Italy), Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Milano Bicocca shared their practices and lessons learned in their clinical service provision from their frontline drug treatment experiences in the COVID-19 context. After these presentations, the participants exchanged ideas and discussed challenges to ensure the provision of drug treatment and rehabilitation services in this challenging time. The webinar concluded with the commitment to further collaboration and mutual support among participants.