Improvement in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders through Adopting Evidence-Based Practices in Pakistan

Background: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 survey estimated that there are 6.7 million Pakistanis aged 15-64 who are illegal substance users. In 2014, Pakistan’s drug treatment capacities remained insufficient to meet demand reduction, with fewer than 100 clinics operating nationwide with the capacity to treat 30,000 substance users. Lacking government funding, over 90% of Pakistan’s detoxification centers are operated by non-government organizations. Although cost and regular funding are the utmost challenges, inadequate staff training, and a slow rate of adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) are also growing concerns that need to be addressed.

Methods: This initiative is proposed to involve employees and clients of detoxification centers in five major cities of Pakistan. The proposed activities are to: (1) survey staff on their ability to change, (2) assess organizational readiness, potential barriers, and available resources to implement EBPs, (3) collect client responses on satisfaction with current services, (4) develop recommendations for adopting EBPs, (5) build capacity with employees and clients concerning specific EBP interventions, and (6) conduct an evaluation of specific interventions for staff and clients.

Results: Anticipated results are: (1) increased knowledge of staff about EBPs, (2) adoption of EBPs in the major treatment centers, (3) increased client satisfaction about treatment services, and (4) replication of EBP-specific interventions into other treatment centers.

Conclusions: The expected outcome is to meet the challenge of implementing EBPs in routine practice settings for substance abuse treatment and to contribute to the reduction of substance use in Pakistan.

U. Shamim. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States
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