Uniting the global community to face the challenge of addiction ISSUP Conference Abu Dhabi 12-16 May 2022.

The WFAD was present during the ISSUP Conference: Uniting the global community to face the challenge of addiction in Abu Dhabi 12-16 May 2022. The event took place virtually and in-person and was hosted by ICUDDR, INL, ISSUP and NRC. The conference showcased the latest learning from the fields of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery support and allowed the global workforce to meet and exchange.

During this time members from the WFAD secretariat, Board, and partners presented in various capacities.

Amy Ronshausen, International President of WFAD and Executive Director of DFAF, and Carlton Hall (Carlton Hall Consulting) – “Prevention in a Changing Marijuana Landscape”.

The presentation highlighted prevention in a Changing Marijuana Landscape, which was a deep dive into the current changing marijuana policies in the United States and the impact of those policies on public health. The presentation gave examples of current marijuana products, such as edibles, wax, and ice, as well as examples of marketing practices. A review of data from recent surveys on how these practices impact youth perceptions regarding risks were included. The session showcased an overview of current research on the impacts of youth marijuana use including the impact on mental health. Prevention strategies are challenging in this ever-changing policy landscape but not impossible. The session highlighted the importance of youth prevention efforts and how to navigate strategies for educating youth and adults.

Regina Mattsson, Drug demand reduction efforts (WFAD projects) on the African continent during the African Union Commission (AUC) Continental Consultation, 12th-16th May 2022

The presentation provided an overview of the work of WFAD and its members on the African continent. The nine pillars of the African Unions Plan of Action were highlighted through the work of WFAD and partners, the following of which were highlighted: The East and Central African Liaison Office, the Country Office in the DRC, and the two networks: The Nigerian Chapter and the East African Network for Prevention and Treatment of Substance use Disorders, the latter of which was created by members in the East African Region with a vision of a vibrant regional platform that advocates for the reduction of substance abuse in East African community. Finally, the Sober Youth Healthier communities project was highlighted. The project, implemented together with the WFAD DRC and three partner organisations (InterAction, DASOD, and SYFES) supports young persons to leave, and prevent others from joining, the violent street gangs of Kinshasa, named Kulunas. The project focuses on mental health and psychosocial support, whilst offering parental support, vocational training, and income-generating activities whilst engaging in lessening stigma within the local communities. The psychosocial support is gender-sensitive and trauma-informed. The main components of the income-generating activities include waste management and water production. Some positive outcomes include: The Waste management component, Inter-actions is currently serving over 10,000 households, 53 hotels, 86 churches, 40 hospitals, and 25 schools. Boreholes were built with the help of youth and will be producing between 25,000 and 50,000 litres of water per day. Providing drinking water for about 100,000 inhabitants of Kinshasa. For the first time since 2009, the inhabitants of two neighbourhoods in Makala municipality have seen water supply restored in their neighbourhoods

The water supply mini network and standpipes brought into service are expected to supply water to around 40,000 inhabitants, or nearly 6,000 households, including two health centres, one of which is a reference health centre in the Makala municipality.

Finally, Regina invited attendees to read the WFAD Member Magazine and to attend the World Forum on the 13-14th of June.

Asia Ashraf, (Peace INN) special advisor and member of WFAD Gender Working Group
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at Virginia Commonwealth University
The presentation presented the Hubert H, Humphrey Fellowship Programme, which was established in 1978 to honour the accomplishments of the late US Senator and Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey. It is a Fulbright exchange activity that brings accomplished professionals from selected countries to the U.S. at a mid-point in their careers for a year of study and professional experiences.

Fellows are nominated by U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions based on their potential for leadership in a wide range of fields. Fellows participate in a variety of educational and training experiences including academic coursework, a specially designed seminar, conferences and workshops, cultural excursions, and professional affiliation with an organisation in their particular areas of interest.

Now completing its 16th year, the primary focus of the VCU Humphrey Fellowship Programme is on drug abuse prevention, treatment, and policy. Since its initiation, the VCU programme has had a strong record of accomplishments.

In this session, Asia Ashraf described how her participation in the programme increased her ability to advance the field of drug abuse prevention, treatment, and policy.

We would like to express our Congratulations to Nusroto Al-Anashid led by Rima Saade Turk, board member of WFAD, who were the winners of ISSUP Local Drug Demand Reduction Initiative Award: Middle East – for their project focusing on supporting women who use drugs in their recovery and reintegration journey.

The objectives of the programme are as follows:

  • To socially reintegrate female substance users
  • To support women and girls to become skilled and independent
  • To support them to build their capacity and learn executive function skills
  • To provide them with job opportunities and encourage healthy lifestyles.

The Civil society Task Force also met for fruitful discussions regarding capacity strengthening activities and coordinated work to support the increase of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions.

Finally, the WFAD Team attended the parallel Youth Forum, engaging with youth from across the globe.

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