Science-policy-practice - UNODC Policymakers Training on the Nature, Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drug Use Disorders

Implementing Organization

The UNODC Policymakers Training on the Nature, Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drug Use Disorders (DUDs) aims to support decisionmakers in developing policies and interventions targeted at preventing drug use and increasing access to comprehensive systems of care for people affected by DUDs, including synthetic DUDs. With the active participation of governmental institutions, universities, treatment centers, civil society organizations and professionals in the development of an action plan and respective follow-up, UNODC promotes an intersectoral and multidisciplinary response to towards the healthy and safe development of children and towards improving the lives of those affected by drug use disorders, in line with international standards. 

Accomplishments to Date
  • More than 1,800 policymakers enhanced their knowledge on evidence-based drug use prevention and treatment and care of drug use disorders since 2017 
  • The average knowledge increase of the policymakers trained is between 5% and 42% across trainings since 2017 
  • 58.87% female participation in trainings since 2022 (when indicator was introduced) 
  • Multisectoral action plans developed at each training 
  • 3-month follow-up impact assessment conducted in participating countries. The most recent evaluation (Colombia) indicated that out of those who were interviewed, 88.9% stated that the training has changed their ideas/perceptions drug use disorders treatment and care. One participant mentioned that this training has taught him/her “to be more empathetic and understand consumption as a mental health problem that requires attention, support and accompaniment, without hindering, judging or punishing”. 
  • Nation-wide roll out of policy makers trainings in Mexico (2002-2023): Trainings conducted in all 32 states with 524 public officials trained from  354 different government institutions/organizations, civil society and academia, 32 actions plans developed to ensure evidence-based prevention and treatment, three face-to-face consolidation workshops were held, and the installation or reactivation of the local committees for prevention and treatment was made possible in some states. 
Project Activities
  1. An in-country preparatory assessment that also identifies national stakeholders, including training participants 
  2. A 3–5-day training for 25 decision makers (with expertise in health, justice, education and from civil society organizations) on the nature, prevention treatment and rehabilitation of drug use disorders, including synthetic drug use disorders. Trainings can be held at national, regional or local level. 
  3. Development of a multisectoral action plan at each training 
  4. Conduct 3-month follow up assessment and/or follow-up working tables with technical referents to ensure implementation of the multisectoral action plans and ensure their sustainability 
  5. If training was rolled out nationwide, work with local congresses to generate public policies on prevention and treatment tailored to each state. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • “Science-policy-practice” - Increased number of Member States implement evidence-based prevention, treatment and care for people who use drugs and people with drug use disorders in line with the UNODC-WHO International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders  
  • Further enhancement of global training package directed at policymakers and pertaining to the topic of the nature, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of Drug Use Disorders (DUDs) though ongoing trainings conducted 
  • Continued dissemination of the policy makers training package on evidence-based prevention, drug use disorder treatment and care, in line with international standards 
National Level Outcomes
  • Improved knowledge and skills of policymakers on the topic of the nature, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug use disorders (DUDs), as measured by pre- post-test exams 
  • Established multisectoral action plans that promote evidence-based prevention and treatment in place 
  • Improved outcomes in impact assessment after three months i.e., change in perception of policymakers 
  • Established policies on evidence-based prevention and treatment in place that tailored to the country/state/province. 

Current State Participation

More than 60 countries across the globe implemented PM trainings between 2017 and 2023. 


Anja Busse (Ms.) Programme Officer Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section Drugs, Laboratory and Scientific Services Branch UNODC A-1400 Vienna T: +43 1 26060 4389 Email: anja [dot] busse [at] un [dot] org (anja[dot]busse[at]un[dot]org)