Abu Dhabi hosted a significant conference on May 12 that aimed at combating drug misuse and addiction and establishing a global network of collaborations between organisations and experts in the field of substance use and disorders.
The National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) hosted the event at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre till May 16 in collaboration with the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Sean Murphy, Charge Affairs of Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), said at the inauguration that drug addiction is a major problem that demands a global coordinated approach to prevention and treatment.
"People with substance use disorders need compassion and care throughout their treatment," Murphy added.
The International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) has played a critical role in uniting the global workforce to combine the most up-to-date learning and mandates to support substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services in translating research into practice.
"A US domestic crisis makes our collaboration with the UAE and other countries important," Murphy continued. "A comprehensive solution to resolving this situation must include reducing global job demand."
"My colleagues in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the Department of State are spearheading the government's global efforts to address drug demand," he said.
The US State Department collaborates with local governments and civil society to develop specialised training programmes like the Universal Curriculum to prevent drug use and treat persons with substance use disorders in nations around the world, according to the expert.
"This initiative empowers trainers to increase standards of care in their own communities by training preventative and treatment workers," Murphy added.
Drug misuse and addiction, according to Dr. Hamad Abdullah Al Ghafri, Director-General of the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) in Abu Dhabi, is a huge problem that affects all nations.
"The UAE is committed to offering the most up-to-date medical procedures and techniques in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of substance abuse," he stated.
A universal curriculum is required
Kevin Mulvey of the International Consortium of Institutions for Drug Demand Reduction asked universities all over the world to collaborate and create a unified curriculum on how to deal with drug misuse and addicts.
"We can design curriculum and training to better equip the professions to best address and deal with challenges confronted by persons suffering from drug dependency through a consortium of universities," Mulvey added.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) official, one of the few health aims for the international community's Sustainable Development Goals 2030, which were set in 2015, is devoted to substance abuse, specifically strengthening, prevention, and treatment.
Youth participation is required
When addressing a development framework for substance misuse, Mohammed Hussein, a Sri Lankan youth leader, said it was critical to consider young people's aspirations and concerns.
"Youths should be recognised as partners in developing and implementing substance abuse and prevention strategies, and their concerns should be included in all aspects of planning, implementation, and evaluation," he said, adding that it was critical to find ways to connect with young people and engage them meaningfully, as well as include them as leaders of today and tomorrow.
Hussein stated that it was past time to realise young people's genuine potential.
The conference, which was held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa region, drew over 1,000 experts and researchers in the domains of substance use disorders from all over the world.
The five-day conference brought together the most recent research findings in the domains of substance abuse, prevention, treatment, and recovery support.
The theme of the conference is 'Uniting the global community to address the scourge of addiction.'