Balochistan, one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the southwest of the country is highly prone to both natural and man-made disasters. Shared border with Afghanistan adds to economical, security and social challenges experienced by the population, making the province vulnerable to issues related to drug trade and drug trafficking. In 2013, the Drug Use in Pakistan Survey Report, launched collaboratively by the Narcotics Control Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, and UNODC, Balochistan is mentioned as the province with the highest rate of prevalence in opiate users and severity of their dependence among the four provinces of Pakistan.
Despite the fact that Balochistan can formally boast of a treatment facility that could accommodate up to 250 beds for people with SUDs, insufficient resources limit practitioners to serving only 50 people at a time. The lack of trained and qualified professionals results in the absence of specialised programmes and services for women and children, insufficient detoxification, treatment and rehabilitation services required for individualised treatment approach. The community also strongly needs organisations focusing on prevention and information dissemination, especially at schools and colleges of the province.
 Drug Use in Pakistan Survey Report, UNODC, 2013.
It is in Quetta, the capital of the province that on 15-23 February 2016, the Colombo Plan International Centre for Credentialing and Education of Addiction Professionals (ICCE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control of Pakistan, conducted the 12th National Training on UTC for addiction practitioners of Balochistan. A group of 18 participants from both governmental and non-governmental organisations, engaged in treatment service provision in Quetta, took part in the training held at Serena Hotel. ICCE Pakistan National Trainers from Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi facilitated the training, aiming to provide participants with an understanding of physiology of addiction as a brain disease, pharmacology of psychoactive substances, comprehensive overview of the nature of change, and the core components of comprehensive of SUD treatment.
In order to ensure that ICCE initiative responds best to the needs of the treatment practitioners in Balochistan, Ms. Anna Blyum, ICCE Programme Officer, who coordinated the initiative, discussed the local context of SUD treatment with several medical practitioners, participating in the training. “New knowledge, skills and attitude…We are here for a change”, – Mr. Zulfiqar Ali, Programme Manager, MATRC ANF, Quetta shared his view on the training impact. In view of resources constraints and challenges that Balochistan treatment practitioners face in their everyday practice, being a part of ICCE training and credentialing initiative in the country, presents a good opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing and professional development.
ICCE wishes to express its sincere appreciation to INL for funding the initiative and NCD for their collaboration in successfully organising the training initiative.
What Participants Say:
“This is a first time that all psychologists, FCPS doctors, counselors, social workers and other treatment staff were trained under the same roof. We learnt from the each others’ experiences ”.
Syed Adil Shah, Chief Supervisor, Milo Shaheed Trust, Quetta, Pakistan
“It was great eight days of fruitful activities…It is an immense pleasure to be a part of Colombo Plan ICCE training on SUDs. For me, as a professional in mental health and substance use disorders, this training brought further enhancement of my view on drug addiction. Our society has a beautiful combination of trans-cultural variations of beliefs, spirituality, myths and traditional activities. The training will have an effect if a systematic approach is applied with proper checks and balances. As a Facilitator Communication Skill at CPSP, trainers helped me to further enhance my knowledge on how to manage group activities, how to cover different assignment in short timing and skillfully apply ice-breakers”.
Dr. Hazrat Ali Khan, Assistant Professor & Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, Bolan Medical complex Hospital, Quetta