ISLAMABAD: UNODC hosts the “Pakistan Drug Demand Reduction Stakeholder Meeting” together with the Government of Pakistan and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to discuss the current situation regarding drug use prevention and drug dependence treatment and care in Pakistan.
The goal is to review current strategies and activities and to create a roadmap to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to develop effective drug prevention and treatment policies. Key partners present at the meeting include provincial health and social welfare authorities, local civil society organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Colombo Plan.
Mr. Toaha Hussain Bugti, Senior Joint Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, opened the meeting highlighting Pakistan’s commitment to a balanced strategy between demand and supply reduction and mentioning the key areas for consideration for the future such as stronger provincial health department involvement in drug treatment.
He was followed in opening remarks by Mr. Jeffrey Robertson, Director, the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs (INL), who emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts towards security, health and well-being. Cesar Guedes, Representative, UNODC Pakistan, mentioned the newly signed Country Programme 2016–2019 and the need to enhance prevention and treatment efforts in line with the international evidence-based standards.
Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, Coordinator, Management of Substance Abuse (WHO, Geneva), drew attention to the high-level agreement taken at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016 and the momentum that has been created for international collaboration in the field of drug prevention and treatment. Veronica Felipe, Director, Drug Advisory Programme of the Colombo Plan, described the present challenges for demand reduction.
It is envisaged that over the course of the next three days all partners work together and share available tools and information in order to prepare the roadmap focusing on four priority areas: 1) training and capacity building on evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies, 2) quality assurance mechanisms for drug use disorder treatment services, 3) community-based treatment service provision in rural areas, and 4) a new household survey on drug use in Pakistan.