UNODC conducts gender-sensitive substance use disorder training day in Ecuador

Image of the development of the second day of training
Second day of training

Quito, 16 March 2021.- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through the Global Drug And Treatment Care Project - with the support of Ecuador's Ministry of Public Health - developed a training day on treatment for women, adolescents and girls with substance use disorders and the management of substance use disorders during pregnancy.

Over three days (16, 17 and 18 March) more than 25 health professionals (psychologists, doctors and psychiatrists) working in different provinces of Ecuador will deepen their knowledge of specific care for women, pregnant women, adolescents and girls with disorders from problematic use of alcohol and other substances.

At the opening event, Ignacia Páez, mental health manager at the Ministry of Public Health, thanked UNODC for its ongoing accompaniment on these issues. "Welcome to this teaching space. What we are building is the difference; I invite you to weigh on the personal history of your patients."

Giovanna Campello, head of UNODC's Drug Control and Crime Prevention Section, emphasized "the duty to strengthen mental health work for women, adolescents and girls; substance use treatment deserves a gender perspective," he said.

According to data from the Ecuadorian Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), in 2017, 3516 women died from drug-related causes, or 38.13% of all drug deaths, demonstrating the need to strengthen prevention and treatment actions for harmful uses of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, said Antonino De Leo, Representative of the UNODC Office for Peru and Ecuador.

"Scientific evidence indicates that disorders associated with substance use affect the nervous system and are related to health problems, poverty, violence, criminal behaviors and social exclusion.  These factors tend to place a greater burden on women and girls," Mr. De Leo said, while congratulating the Ecuadorian authorities on deepening the approach to these issues in the context of public health.

The training days will be led by Marta Torrens, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and will be held in a virtual way.

UNODC confirms its commitment to further efforts to strengthen mental health services in the country and cooperation for the full implementation of treatment standards and strengthening quality assurance in mental health services.

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