The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) will soon roll out substance use disorder treatment initiatives nationwide to augment the activities of the current few treatment centers, Mr Michael Addo, Deputy Executive Secretary of NACOB, has said
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The initiative would be part of NACOB’s commitment towards public education on the devastating effects of illicit substance.

Mr Addo said such initiatives would include a drop-in centres that would be providing out-patient services for clients with such disorders to seek answers concerning their diseases and other interventions from trained counsellors.

A call centre will be created to provide some interventions via telephone, he said, adding that NACOB was targeting the youth who were the most vulnerable of the target populations.

Speaking at a closing ceremony of a training on the Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) on substance use disorder for some addiction treatment professionals in Accra, Mr Addo said, NACOB has taken keen interest in citizens who have been affected directly or indirectly by the use and abuse of drugs because of its devastating effects

The training was held for some 21 professionals who treat or manage persons with substance use disorders in the country.

Mr Addo said addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by a compulsive seeking of drug use despite harmful consequences, and so people should disabuse their minds that the phenomenon was spiritual and give the needed support to persons with such disorders to aid their faster healing.

He said the treatment of substance use disorders involve a combination of interventions since drug use also had co-occuring diseases like cancer of the lungs that might need to be treated medically and separately.

He said aside the training of professionals who managed addiction, NACOB was also planning to roll out a baseline survey to assess the drug situation in the country to be able to provide the most effective guidelines to all stakeholders.

“Also, stakeholders meetings will be arranged to brainstorm and formulate ideas so as to fight this menace in unison,” he said.

Touching on the training for the addiction treatment professionals, Mr Addo said NACOB has trained about 80 professionals made up of nurses, doctors, clinical psychologists and treatment centre managers as well as reverend fathers, to help increase their insights into the most effective ways of managing addiction.

He said the training was being held annually until “we are able to train all such professionals to acquire the needed skill to handle the complexity of addiction.”

This batch of professionals went through the three weeks training and treated courses including case management, crisis intervention, documentation and ethics.

“It is expected that these issues discussed will enhance their work practices to increase effective treatment outcomes”, Mr Addo said.

“There is hope for those who are in substance use so we shouldn’t lose hope on them”, he said.
“But NACOB will need statistics on the situation and make projection into the future and so we are collaborating with the management centres to document all such data”, he said.

Mr Logosu Amegashie, Head of Addiction Disease Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, a resource person at the training, warned that the trend of addiction was changing and that a lot of people were now using more cannabis, cocaine and heroin more than other drugs.

“We are gradually getting engulfed by the menace and we all need to work together to stop it”, he cautioned.

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