National Rehabilitation Centre launches capacity-building initiative on drug and alcohol prevention in UAE, Middle East Region
The National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre of excellence in the field of substance abuse in the Middle East, is set to organise a capacity building training event in the field of drug and alcohol abuse prevention. The programme will take place virtually from May 30 to June 4.
The training targets policymakers and specialists from the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as well as Egypt and Sudan.
The first of its kind training programme in the Middle East emerged as a result of the NRC’s strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Office of International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US Department of State (INL). Based on the MoU, NRC has been accredited as a training hub for Colombo Plan programmes for the Middle East region.
The training programme, which will be held over a period of five days, includes nine main topics based on the ‘Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC)’, which was developed by the ‘Colombo Plan’ team. Dr Hamad Abdullah Al-Ghafri, Director General of NRC, will participate in delivering those virtual training sessions along with specialists from the centre and the "Colombo Plan" team.
The capacity building programme follows the NRC’s prevention and early intervention strategy. Both elements are considered to be an effective way to reduce the consequences of substance abuse in society, especially at a time when many countries around the world are recording a rise in drug and alcohol abuse rates.
This programme aims to engage senior officials and policy makers in awareness-raising efforts on the importance of prevention and drug abuse management, in addition to enabling front-liners to receive specialised training on the comprehensive prevention approach and drug abuse prevention practices.
Speaking about the initiative, Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi, Director General of the NRC said, "We are witnessing profound efforts globally to tackle all forms of addiction, yet there remains more to be done to bring about lasting solutions to this dilemma. In NRC, we are proud to become the first entity in the Middle East to provide training programmes that are engineered in accordance to a comprehensive prevention approach."
He went on to add: "The programme will enable front-liners and specialists to understand the UPC developed by Colombo Plan. At NRC, we are keen to monitor all societal behavioural developments for all age groups at the local or global level, and to look for their causes and the extent of their impact on pushing community members to adapt behaviours that may lead them to addiction".
Al Ghaferi concluded by saying: "Awareness and prevention are fundamental to protecting society especially the youth who represent our future."
In February 2021, NRC announced that it has joined the International Technology Transfer Centre (ITTC) network, making it the only entity from the Gulf region to become part of this network. The ITTC network includes entities from South Africa, Ukraine and Vietnam, in addition to a coordination centre in the United States. The ITTC Network aims to develop the skills of professionals, organisations and systems that provide substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.