Nine nations develop roadmap for Asian drug users to help treatment, prevention

Nine nations develop roadmap for Asian drug users to help treatment, prevention. | Courtesy of
Nine countries in Asia recently adopted a new roadmap that guides its users in the best way to speed the transition to evidence informed treatment, prevention and support services for the region’s drug users.

The Third Consultation on Compulsory Centres for Drug Users (CCDU), which was hosted in Manila, Philippines, showed that the traditional punitive approaches are not working. There needs to be a shift from the current punitive policies and laws to voluntary, community-based services. This is why participants at the meeting developed the new roadmap.

“The roadmap is a big step forward towards the full implementation of voluntary community-based services for people who use drugs in Asia and the Pacific region,” Steve Kraus, director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific, said. “Where communities are engaged and provide services to their peers, we are seeing results. If we scale up evidence-informed programs, we can end AIDS among people who use drugs in the region.”

The participants used evidence to show that the current approaches are not working and that the new roadmap may be beneficial.

“As there is not evidence on the cost-effectiveness of the compulsory centers, it makes more sense to transition to voluntary community-based approaches,” Benjamin P. Reyes, deputy executive director for operations, Dangerous Drug Board, Quezon City, Philippines, said. “The need to transition is a response to the problem of drugs in our communities because it’s evidence-based.”

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