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It is estimated that 87 million people in the Americas will use controlled drugs by 2030. Graphic: Getty Images.
It is estimated that 87 million people in the Americas will use controlled drugs by 2030. Graphic: Getty Images.

PAHO seeks to improve substance abuse policies in LATAM, the Caribbean

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has launched a project specifically focusing on the improvement of substance use disorder policies across Latin…

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Around the world, there are only one in eight people who receive treatment for a substance use disorder when needed, according to estimates from The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 

To combat these medical shortcomings in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO has launched a project aiming to improve substance use disorder policy within these regions.

PAHO’s project will seek to provide technical support to various areas in Latin America, the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Panama, Ecuador, Guyana, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

The project’s improvements on technical support are intended to improve health and social responses for substance use related issues.

Based on the UNODC’s 2021 World Drug Report, 87 million people in the Americas are projected to use controlled drugs by the year 2030.

One aim of the project is to improve current statuses of substance use disorder in these health systems, which PAHO reports to disproportionately concentrate on lower to middle-income countries.

PAHO reports stigma, social isolation, and premature death as some of the most pressing difficulties facing people who suffer from substance use disorders.

The pandemic has also worsened the quality of life for those who suffer from substance use disorders, leading to higher risks of COVID-19-related complications.

The project from PAHO was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

It is a part of PAHO’s Strategy and Plan of Action on Substance Use and Public Health. 

The strategy promotes “demand reduction initiatives that cover prevention, early intervention, treatment, care, recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration measures as well as initiatives and measures aimed at minimizing the adverse consequences of drug abuse in social and public health fields.”

PAHO’s project is also part of an effort to strengthen public health approaches in addressing substance use problems, and will strengthen other partner relations for the organization.

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