Background on CICAD'S Demand Reduction Program:
CICAD’s Demand Reduction Program, now in its twentieth year, has developed hemispheric policies to prevent and treat drug use, and has conducted technical assistance, training and cooperation both nationally and multi-nationally to enhance the capacity of governments and NGOs to deliver substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Over the last ten years, CICAD has strongly encouraged its member governments and NGOs to set policy, and establish national regulations and standards for drug treatment centers. Most Latin American countries now have such standards, based on the standards recommended by the World Health Organization in 1993. This regulatory framework needs to be implemented and complied with locally, where it is not widely known. This Project will focus on:
Additionally, as CICAD’s member states are moving to improve their criminal justice systems and update their drug laws and strategies, a movement is developing to examine alternatives to incarceration for minor drug offenders. CICAD strongly supports such initiatives, and anticipates that through the present Project, judges and public prosecutors in particular can be sensitized to the possibility of such alternatives and the rationale for them.
However, while these activities have conformed to best practices in the Western Hemisphere, there has been little cross-fertilization in the area of drug treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction* with EU member states.
CICAD’s ongoing program in LAC in drug treatment and rehabilitation
Standards of care in drug treatment: Since 1996, CICAD, in initial cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has been fostering the adoption by OAS member states of standards of care in drug treatment, following the 1993 World Health Organization model. In each country, the program brings together the main treatment providers (usually NGOs), the Ministry of Health and the National Drug Commission to agree on basic standards that a drug treatment program should meet, such as recommended number of staff, medical supervision, adequate infrastructure, patient confidentiality, etc.) The standards are adopted by the Ministry of Health, which typically has (or ought to have) regulatory authority over treatment programs. Most countries of Central and South America now have such standards on the books, but compliance is often haphazard. In the Caribbean region, Barbados, Belize and Suriname are embarked on the development of quality standards of care; Bermuda and Cayman Islands have in place a system for accreditation of drug counsellors, but the region as a whole is largely lacking in quality standards and regulatory authority.
CICAD’s next phase of this program is: a) to provide Health Ministry planners and evaluators with the tools to monitor compliance with the standards and exercise their regulatory authority; b) move towards mandatory compliance, licensing of treatment programs, and enforcement, and c) expand the program to the English-speaking Caribbean. The present Project will allow CICAD and the participating LAC cities to advance this goal by drawing on European experiences and expertise, while at the same time, sharing with European counterparts their obstacles and successes.
Integration of drug treatment into national health care services: CICAD’s goal over the next five years is to advocate for national policies to bring drug treatment into the national health care system or national social security system. This will increase coverage; improve access by making care more affordable, and reduce stigmatization of problematic drug users by ensuring that they receive equitable care. CICAD’s policy in this matter is based on guidelines developed by an expert task force and approved by the CICAD Commission. To that effect, see CICAD’s web site at:
Drug treatment in adult prison and juvenile corrections systems: CICAD is embarked on four initiatives in this area:
The present Project will provide another umbrella under which these various programs can come together.
Training in drug treatment in the Caribbean:
The present Project will allow links to be made with the previous training strands and previous cooperative relationships to be resumed.
CICAD’s Inter-American Observatory on Drugs, established in 1999 as CICAD’s statistics and research arm, has established a uniform system for the collection of epidemiological data on drug use. This system, known as SIDUC, is in regular use in 29 of the 34 member states of the OAS, and is replicated in the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) questionnaire. Two of the survey instruments are relevant to the present Project, (the questionnaires used in drug treatment centres, and in detention centres) and will be used as part of the needs assessment described above.
The Inter-American Observatory on Drugs is also conducting an ongoing program to examine the social and economic cost of drugs to society. This study is currently being conducted in Argentina, Barbados, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay. The findings of the studies are already being used in Costa Rica, for example, to advocate greater reliance on drug treatment than on incarceration for minor drug offences.
CICAD’s program to decentralize drug demand reduction policies and programs in the Andean region: CICAD has been operating this program with the support of the Government of Spain. The present Project will draw extensively on the lessons learned from this ongoing program, and will build on the networks that have been created.
Background on the European efforts against drugs:
updated on 2/28/2011 4:10:30 PM