An international non-profit organisation that provides addiction therapy training will open in the UAE, officials announced on Sunday.
The International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals was launched in 2015 and operates in 14 countries.
It trains specialised health workers, teachers, volunteers and recovered addicts who are able to relate to people trying to overcome addiction.
“In Egypt, for instance, recovered addicts put on better rehabilitation programmes than doctors,” said Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi, director general of the National Rehabilitation Centre, which will oversee the branch.
ISSUP also helps build prevention programmes that involve creating a support network among all facets of society.
Dr Al Ghaferi said the NRC will work with all concerned parties, including education ministries, the police and social societies, to implement those programmes.
“The key thing with prevention is to build a system that involves the family, society, the school, teachers,” said Joanna Travis-Roberts, executive director of ISSUP.
“So we build a network around the young person to protect their life cycle, by giving young people that confidence they need to face peer pressure, and go through questions they need answered; there isn’t just one perfect way of building that community.”
The NRC is taking positive steps towards reaching that goal, said Melody Heaps, chairwoman of ISSUP’s board of trustees.
“I know that Dr Hamad has an understanding of what it means to build a community supporting prevention, I am secure that he will be working with the structure of government and public sectors as well as NGOs; he understands the science, and once you do and you are committed you are on the right path.
“The reason we are here is because you [the UAE] have this model.”
ISSUP will hold its annual conference in the UAE in 2021. The event brings together specialists from all around the world to discuss challenges and new developments in the field.
This year the event was held in Vienna and was hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, along with support from US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.