Afghanistan has been suffering from a long-time conflict which has extensively affected all areas of life. One of the terrible effects of war has been a devastating rise in opium cultivation and drug use in the country. Afghans have been the primary unfortunate victims of this tragedy, since access to drug treatment, prevention and awareness services as well as other social and public health infrastructures have been very much limited. Moreover, due to four decades of conflicts, substance use treatment and prevention has not been considered as a priority by the policy makers and the need to technical and professional investment in the field has been commonly ignored. Luckily, during the past seventeen years, with the support from international community especially the INL, significant achievements have been made in substance use treatment and prevention sector and hopefully the momentum will be preserved.
Growth and professionalization of civil society organizations providing substance use treatment and prevention services has been a major achievement in the past decade. Now, it has been acknowledged that building professional networks and promoting professionalism is a key step to effectively deal with drug abuse problem and improve quality of prevention, treatment and recovery services. Therefore, the idea of becoming a member of Global ISSUP and establishing Afghanistan National Chapter was focused and pursued for the last two years by the consortium of civil society organizations, the CHATAR. CHATAR was found in 2016 with the primary aim of improve coordination and networking between the civil society organizations of Afghanistan working in the field of substance use prevention, treatment, recovery and substance use related HIV/AIDS prevention. Based on that, the application to become ISSUP National Chapter and communication with Global ISSUP was initiated over the past year. Our application to become the National Chapter for Afghanistan was approved and we were formally invited to attend the ISSUP National Chapters Meeting to represent Afghanistan for the first time in Nairobi, Kenya.
CHATAR will be the host organization for ISSUP Afghanistan National Chapter. CHATAR, is an officially recognized body, working with other stakeholders to promote professionalism, evidence based practices and ethical standards in substance use prevention, treatment and recovery field. The vision of CHATAR is to stand a strong and active ‘civil society entity’ in Afghanistan that effectively responds to the needs of the Afghan substance use affected population, while safeguarding the human rights of individuals. It also aims for sustainable services not only for the affected individual, but also for families and the community. It intends that its efforts will change the individual to become an asset for both family and community.
ISSUP Afghanistan National Chapter, aims to
- strengthen the network of professionals working in substance use prevention, treatment and recovery in the country.
- promote evidence-based practices, professionalism, high quality services, ethical standards, research and knowledge sharing among the professionals and stakeholders in local, national and international level.
- develop networks with international organizations to improve mutual cooperation, sharing resources and knowledge.
- to share the knowledge, developments, opportunities and available resources with those working in the field.
ISSUP Afghanistan National Chapter is delighted to invite the Afghan professionals working in the field of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery to come together through this national platform and play a constructive role in further enhancement of this professional network. It encourages all those who aspire to undertake their drug demand reduction work professionally to also become members.
Afghanistan is now a formally established ISSUP member and all professionals and those interested can apply for membership, as per the criteria and become members of ISSUP Afghanistan National Chapter