NACOB trains more addiction professionals to manage addicts

The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) says persons with substance use disorders, formerly known as “drug addicts” should not be left alone to their fate but must be supported through proper care by all stakeholders to restore them to healthy states.

Mr Michael Addo, Deputy Executive Secretary of NACOB, said contrary to the popular view that addiction was due to an immoral lifestyle, it rather was “a chronic relapsing brain disease characterised by a compulsive seeking of drug use despite harmful consequences”.

Mr Addo was speaking at the closing ceremony of the training on the Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) programme for substance use disorder for 21 professionals who treat or manage persons with substance use disorders in the country.

He said people needed to disabuse their minds that addiction was “spiritual and that witches have put a barrel in the persons tummy”.

Through the UTC programme, born out of a partnership with one of the biggest drug reduction organisation in the world, the Colombo Plan in India in 2015, Ghana has so far trained about 80 addiction professionals made up of nurses, medical doctors, clinical psychologists, pastors or reverend ministers as well as treatment centre managers in the field of addiction management.

Mr Addo said after a needs assessment carried out by NACOB, it decided to collaborate with some selected treatment centres in the country to institute the training for front line addiction professionals.

He said it was not enough “to be a nurse, doctor of a counsellor; there is a set of skill needed to handle the complexity of addiction, hence this training which runs yearly to increase insight into the most effective ways of managing addiction”.

The intention also is to train, professionals and increase the workforce to counter this growing concern, he said.

He said the training lasted for three weeks and treated courses like documentation, case management, crisis intervention and ethics for addiction, adding that it was expected that “these issues discussed will enhance their work practices to increase effective treatment outcomes.

Mr Addo said NACOB was committed to provide continuous education to the public on the devastating effects of illicit substances, targeting the youth who were the most vulnerable population.

He said NACOB’s main mandate of control and enforcement of drug laws would be intensified in the fight to curb trade, cultivation and production of banned substances.

Ms Mavis Cecilia Coffie, a nurse at the Patang Hospital who participated in the programme, expressed her appreciation for the skill development which would go a long way to properly give care and treatment for people with such disorder.

Mr Logosu Amegashie, Head of Addiction Disease Unit, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, a resource person at the training, said the country faces a looming challenge of addiction especially among young people and so there was the `need to have more rehabilitation centres as well as well trained professionals who could well manage and treat people.

He said it is wrong for anyone to propose the legalization of “wee” or Indian hemp in the country now when Ghana did not yet have such facilities to care for people who could get addicted to such drugs.

He commended NACOB for its proactiveness in sharpening the skill of professionals so they would better manage such concerns.

The participants were presented with certificates for participating in the course that started on October 7 and ended on October 25.

They are expected to write an international examination in November next month to certify them as international addiction professionals.

Source: | Ghana

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