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NUMS’ Int. conference for creating awareness about drug addiction and help rid educational institutions of it

RAWALPINDI June 7: (APP):National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) will be hosting one- day

international conference on June 11, for creating awareness about damaging impact of drug use and addiction, already affecting 4 million youth in the country and help look for ways and means to tackle diverse issues emerging out of Substance Use Disorders(SUD).

The international moot will be a joint venture of NUMS and Phoenix Foundation for
Research & Development (PFRD). Its main focus would be on abuse of the substance(drugs) its prevention and suggest steps for curbing the spread of drug addiction in the light of proposals coming from both national and international scholars participating in the conference.

Commenting on the purpose of the conference NUMS’s Pro Vice Chancellor Academics Maj Gen Saleem Ahmad Khan HI(M), (Retd) said it would help in identifying loopholes in the educational institutions where our vulnerable youth have fallen prey to drug addiction which was very much underreported. This conference will help to work out a strategy to detect drug addiction and will also provide guidelines for the policy makers to address it. NUMS has always been endeavouring to highlight the national issues, especially those affecting the young students, he added.

“We are trying to strategize our policy for prevention of drug abuse, especially in our
educational institutions. We will be comfortable when all our institutions are free from drug abuse”, said the Pro Vice Chancellor.He said that was the reason all the stakeholders like Vice Chancellors, psychiatrists , psychologists and representatives of Anti-Narcotics Board have been invited to participate in the international conference.

Dr Zakia Bano Associate Prof of NUMS ‘s Psychology Department while giving details of the conference said, the experts hailing from different leading universities and psychology institutes from across the country and abroad, who have done research in various aspects of Substance Use Disorders (SUD), will speak on the occasion.
SUD are chronic diseases due to excessive and uncontrolled intake of drugs spreading fast among Pakistani youth where sixty four per cent population is below the age of 29 and 30 per cent between the age of 15 and 29 years, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.

There were around 275 million people using drugs across the world in the last year, while
over 36 million of them were sufferingdrug use disorders,according to 2021 World Drug Report by UNDO, Cgiving details about the Conference. She said Punjab Social Welfare Department reported early this year that the use of drugs in Pakistan “is growing at an alarming level.”

“Substance abuse is a diagnosable, curable disorder and all countries are facing this
burning issue. There is a dire need to explore different important aspects of SUDs including, treatment, Co-occurring disorders, prevention, and continuum of care. The conference will follow on changing attitudes and growing knowledge around substance abuse issues facing today’s various societies,” said Dr Zakia Bano
The conference, will help mental health professionals to implement and develop effective
prevention strategies, intervention and treatment programmes through practice and policy making. Which will ultimately help improve the clinical practices, systems, effective individuals, families, and communities.

The conference will provide the platform to create evidence-based solution of the substance use , prevention and treatment.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, therewere more than 6.7 million drug users in Pakistan and 4 million among them wereaddicts, which was the highest number for any country in the world. “More than 800,000 Pakistanis aged between 15 and 64 use heroin regularly.

It is also estimated that up to 44 tons of processed heroin is consumed annually in

Pakistan’s neighbor,Afghanistan produced 9,000 metric tons of opium in 2017 alone and
being a landlocked coutry, drugs produced there are smuggled through its neighbours.

All the international speakers who will virtually participate in the conference includes , Dr.
Kevin P. Mulvey, PhD Executive Director, International Consortium of Universities for Drug
Demand eduction(ICUDDR), Dr. KmranNiaz Chief Epidemiologist, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Vienna, Austria and Dr. PrapapunChucharoen, Director Neuroscience Mahidol University Thailand. Dr. Beatrice Kathungu, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology Kenyatta University, Kenya will speak onthe Role of Universities in Promoting Evidence Based Practice in the Field of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment while Dr. Muhammad Zeeshan, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Rutgers Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School, New York will talk on“Why Children and Adolescents Use Drugs: Neuroscience,
Myths, and Prevention.”


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