Experts from Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other officials have begun the validation of empirical survey on substance abuse, treatment and rehabilitation facilities.
This activity is being carried out through a Two-Day validation Workshop which commenced on the 3rd of March 2020 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Workshop is meant to assess the nature and extent of substance abuse treatment services provided in ECOWAS Member States, determine and evaluate the various treatment approaches and create a regional directory of substance abuse treatment facilities, among others.
Addressing participants at the Workshop, on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission’s Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, the Principal Programme officer, Law enforcement (Drug), Mr. Daniel Amankwaah emphasised the importance of treating the management of substance abuse and after effects with more intensity, looking beyond the mere criminal aspects of drug abuse and selling to include also, the health dimensions.
Calling for a holistic approach to the management of substance abuse, he drew attention to spill over situations where drug carriers and dealers who are prevented from crossing borders with their substances end up selling their illicit wares to the local population by creating domestic markets.
Also speaking in support of the on-going efforts following the launch of the West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) report, Professor Isidore Obot urged participants to go back to their countries to strengthen the endeavours in the areas of treatment, rehabilitation and other related measures put in place to deal with identified challenges.
Following the general overview of the Workshop targets given by Dr. Olubusayo Akinola, the experts reviewed the implementation of the ECOWAS political declaration and regional action plan, strides, challenges and lessons learnt.
The Workshop will also feature presentations of country situations and on new developments, trends as well as the ECOWAS initiatives on three pilot support (to the treatment and rehabilitation facilities) in Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo.
Participants are expected to adopt the survey report on treatment and rehabilitation facilities in ECOWAS Member States.