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CARICOM promotes standards for drug treatment and rehabilitation services

Greater Georgetown, Guyana – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is seeking to establish minimum standards for care and treatment as well as services and facilities for substance abusers, even as it continues its drive to reduce the demand for, and use of illicit drugs.

To this end, the Secretariat has partnered with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) to facilitate a regional training workshop, in Jamaica, on Standards of Care for Treatment and Rehabilitation Facilities for Substance Abusers.

The workshop, which will take place at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay on 3-4 March, 2009 will provide a forum for participants from the public, private and non-governmental sectors to identify and agree on minimum Standards of Care and Treatment for facilities in CARICOM Member States and as such will bring together care providers in drug treatment centres from private and public institutions; public policy makers on drug related services and community-based drug treatment service providers.

The meeting will also field a team of regional and international expert facilitators, including CICAD, who will not only share with participants current and emerging information on standards of care and treatment for drug rehabilitation facilities but will also assist participants in identifying minimum standards of care to guide the development of treatment standards at the country level.

Among the issues that will be explored are: minimum standards of care in Latin America as well as the Caribbean; progress reports on standards of care/services in Member States and challenges confronting them; standards for regional training institutions; and standards for treatment providers.

At the end of the two days, it is hoped that participants will also develop national and regional strategies for strengthening or establishing and implementing national treatment standards.

According to Ms Beverley Reynolds, CARICOM Secretariat’s Programme Manager for Sustainable Development, the two-day workshop “presents an excellent opportunity to capture the views of this wide cross section of practitioners as well as to promote the work being undertaken by the Secretariat as it relates to drug demand reduction in general and more specifically, to the provision of care and treatment for substance abusers.”

The need for such training, Ms Reynolds said, arose from recommendations by the OAS/CICAD Multilateral Evaluation Mechanisms and the Programme of Work for the Regional Drug Demand Reduction Strategic Framework 2006-2008 and also from requests by Member States who needed technical assistance in the area of care and treatment.

The workshop will immediately precede a meeting involving European Union, Latin American and Caribbean (EU-LAC) countries at the same venue. This meeting commences on March 6th and will focus on improving drug treatment services in EU-LAC cities.

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