BAAP, A Step Up in Evidence Based Practice

The other day I had a conversation with a colleague over engagement of former drug users in drug demand reduction (DDR). My submission was that such practice, even though done by many, is not evidence based as no study whatsoever has affirmed the success of such practice. A program that works for DDR is the one that uses interactive methods, have weekly structured sessions and is delivered by a trained professional and/or peer!

Evidence based Practice (EBP) in addiction treatment is what is being rooted for in many quarters as the quest for drug demand reduction intensifies. EBP are interventions that are scientifically based and ensures that there are effective treatment outcomes. EBPs are based on research evidence.

Addiction professionals therefore should use EBP interventions in assisting clients. It is worth noting that for this to take place, there must be continuing education and platforms availed for sharing information and research. I am so gratified in highlighting that such platform is available in Botswana at last following the formation of the Botswana Association of Addiction Professionals (BAAP).

BAAP, a non-profit organisation was registered by the Registrar of Societies on the 16th July, 2021. BAAP aims to professionalise the field of substance use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, avail a platform for collaboration by addiction professionals as well as promote information sharing of evidence based practices. To further demonstrate the quest to professionalise the addiction field, BAAP hosts the International Society for Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) Botswana Chapter. ISSUP is a global NGO that support the development of a professional prevention, treatment and recovery workforce. ISSUP Botswana National Chapter therefore continues the mandate of imparting information and continuing education in Botswana context.

BAAP membership is open to addiction care focused professionals that include among others psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, clinical social workers, guidance and counselling teachers and credentialed addiction professionals.  Members will share experiences in the field as well empower each other which will go a long way in improving treatment outcomes of the clients. This is a welcome development without doubt!

Article appeared in the “The Mental Health Series with David Sidney Mangwegape” in the Midweek Sun Newspaper published on the 19th January 2022.