Family skills development is the most influential factor in substance use prevention – by Dhaka Ahsania Mission

Mr Md. Azizul Islam, Director General (Additional Charge), Additional Secretary, Department of Narcotics Control has said, it would not be possible to achieve SDG if we fail to control substance use and has requested everyone to step ahead being the Chief Guest of a discussion meeting, organized by Dhaka Ahsania Mission on June 29, 2022, at 11 am as part of observing the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The day is being observed this year along with the theme “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”. Exceptional theme declared this year to observe the day because we know, the challenged population who are difficult to reach and who need us most, like people in refugee camps and humanitarian settings; people at risk of being left behind as a result of the pandemic; and people facing barriers of stigma and discrimination and especially the youth and adolescents are the most vulnerable to substance and crime.

In the speech of Chief Guest, Mr Md. Azizul Islam also said we will put more importance on programmes like “Strong Family” to be implemented in different settings to prevent substance abuse. He will be reviewing these proposals with different government stakeholders for successful implementations. The Chief Guest thanked Dhaka Ahsania Mission is organizing such a wonderfully effective programme.

Mr Muhammad Naheeaan, National Program Coordinator, UNODC presented the keynote which was focused on the importance of Family skills-based programmes to strengthen the capacities of families and caregivers to prevent adverse social outcomes. He shared the learning of the “Strong Family” pilot project implemented by Dhaka Ahsania Mission at camps 13, 19, 24, 27 and the host community at Cox’s Bazar. He said, that the project started in Dhaka (Tajgaon) in 2019 but later it expanded to Cox’s Bazar targeting the Rohingya population. The programme addresses vulnerabilities and promotes protective factors that are common denominators to several factors associated with healthy and safe development, these programmes have been found to be effective in preventing a wide range of social and health outcomes (including violence, crime, educational attainment, mental health, physical health and substance use). Children living in challenged humanitarian settings are at greater risk of mental health difficulties or behavioural problems, with caregivers acting as their main protective factors.

And besides, Dr Saima Khan, Country Director, UNAIDS, Bangladesh Country Office attended as Special Guest. The Police Super and Director, Oasis Drug Treatment and Mental Health Counseling Center, Dr S. M. Shahidul Islam, (PPM) and Associate Professor, National Institute of Mental Health, Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed were the speakers and the meeting was presided over by Engineer A.F.M Golam Sharfuddin, General Secretary, Dhaka Ahsania Mission. Mr Iqbal Masud, Director, Health and Wash Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission delivered the welcome address at the meeting.

The special guest, Dr Saima Khan, Country Director of UNAIDS, said as the relapse rate is high after the drug treatment, in that case, intensive follow-up is one of the important factors to strengthen.

In the meeting, Dr Farzana Rahman Dina, Associate professor, Menial Health Institute, Dhaka and Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Dhaka University were also present and delivered a valuable speech.

The Chairperson of the event, Professor Shariful Alam said, supply will remain where there is demand and he thanked all relevant along with the Department of Narcotics Control their valuable discussion in this meeting.

Note that Dhaka Ahsania Mission has been implementing anti-drug activities since 1990. At present, Dhaka Ahsania Mission is operating a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre for drug-dependent males in Gazipur, Jessore and Munshiganj and for drug-dependent females in Dhaka. Member of the National Anti-Drug Committee Dhaka Ahsania Mission has received awards from the Department of Narcotics Control more than once for its contribution to the treatment and rehabilitation and implementation of awareness activities. Many men and women are now living a healthy and normal life with the treatment from these centres.

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