KARACHI 8th November 2012: Dow University of Health Sciences in collaboration with Ministry of Narcotics Control & United Nations Office on Drug and Crime launched “Treatment Protocols for Drug Use in Pakistan” today at Arag Auditorium of Dow Medical College, Karachi. Javed Iqbal, Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control, Dr. Muhammad Shahid, Director General, Ministry of Narcotics Control, Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Country Representative, Prof. Dr. Masood Hameed Khan, Vice Chancellor, DUHS, Associate Professors of Psychiatry Prof. RazaurRahman and Dr. Ishaque Sarhandi including many experts involved in treatment of drug addiction besides officials of Narcotic Control Board and UNODC attended the Launching Ceremony. Copies of the drug treatment protocols was also distributed to the experts and organizations involved in the treatment of drug addicts.
The proposed “Treatment Protocol for Drug Use in Pakistan” in collaboration with Ministry of Narcotics Control and United Nations Office on Drug and Crime Control were given to Dow University for review and subsequent endorsement was extensively looked in and following modifications was put forward for approval. The modifications were then reviewed by independent experts and finally the draft was prepared for approval by the University syndicate.
Dr. Muhammad Shahid, Director General, Ministry of Narcotics Control giving the “Drugs situation iIn Pakistan” said that Pakistan is the primary transit country for opiates produced in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, the opiate abuse is a serious problem. It is estimated that there are 6,25,000 opioid users in Pakistan and 125,000 injecting drugs users. Out of which 60% of the drug addicts falls in the age group of 15-30 years. Provincial estimation of drug use shows that there are 200,000 drug users and 100,000 Injecting Drug Users in Punjab, 87,000 and 44,000 in Sindh, 90,000 and 8,000 000 in KPK and 45,000 and 4,500 in Balcohistan. The overall prevlance of drug abuse in Sindh shows that there are 20,000 Injecting Drug Users with a prevalence of 0.6%.
He further revealed that there is high risk practice of needles sharing with Sind and Baluchistan is 80 percent and in Punjab 70 percent. Up to 20% of the addicts are selling blood. Pakistan has been declared as Concentrated HIV Epidemic among Prevalence of HIV among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) Country. It is am emerging threat and need to tackle as earliest possible.
To over the issue, Ministry of Narcotics Control has development new initiatives which includes Protocols for Treatment of Drug Addicts in Pakistan; Introduction of Oral Substitution Treatment; Drug Abuse Survey 2012; Transformation from Drug Awareness to Prevention; Development of Webpage for Organizations; Development of Community Leaders for Narcotics Control; Encouragement of Law Enforcing Agencies and Treatment and Rehabilitation facilities
Javed Iqbal, Secretary, Ministry of Narcotics Control sharing his views on the occasion sadi that its is an important componenet for anti-narcotis force. This is the main problem in Pakistan as it has various dimension. This mess is spreading in the street of our country. 90% of the addiction is smuggled from Afghanistan. We at the federal, provincial level has established check points to check the supply. We are thankful to DUHS for reviewing and subsequent endorsement in this treatment protocols. This protocol is the world best practice protocols.
Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Country Representative, in address termed it as a challenge for Pakistan. He hoped that this treatment protocols will go a long way and provide the services at it’s best which is very much needed in the country. In Pakistan, the public sector facilities are usually used by the low income group, though a bulk of lower middle class is also seen visiting private sector health facilities. It will be a well come sign, if state of art facilities are developed throughout the country, if not possible, at least in the premier tertiary care centers across the country. The provision of treatment offered to the clients/patients should reflect their psychological and social needs, should have flexibility and variation to respond to the situation and should not have conflict with the tradition, customs, norms and values associated with the profession since ages.
Prof. Dr. Masood Hameed Khan in his address said that it is important issue in Pakistan. The issue results in million and trillion dollars of investment of the country. It is very diffcult tacke this problem because it has multi-prolonged approached. After the launch of this treatment protocol, DUHS will start training family physicnam general practitioners who to treat these patitents. Dow University has decided to start centre for drug treatment in Abdul Qadir institute
Dr. Muhammad Ishaque Sarhandi, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, DUHS said that Pakistan’s geographic location is next to Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of illict opium, places the country in a vulnerable position in terms of drug trafficking as well as drug abuse. The latest assessment of drug use in Pakistan was done in 2006 shows that Heroin was the commonest illict drug used Though there is increasing use of Cannabis, sedatives (Benzodiazipines), and inhalants is reported.
Knowing the scope of a problem naturally aids efforts to tackle it. In this connection it is heartening to hear that a national survey, the first of its kind since 2006, will be carried out this year to gauge the patterns and prevalence of drug addiction in Pakistan. This new assessment will help develop rehabilitation and demand-reduction programmes that are commensurate with the reality on the ground. The protocol extended to DUHS by the UNODC authorities for review and subsequent endorsement was extensively looked in and following modifications was put forward for approval. The way faculty has worked on the draft and the acceptance shown by the Ministry of Narcotics and UNODC to incorporate all the modifications in the protocol is highly appreciable.