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The ECOWAS Commission organizes training for Drug Prevention Professionals

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ECOWAS Training

The ECOWAS Commission organized a training for 30 Core Drug Prevention Professionals on Evidence-Based Prevention of Drug Use/Substance Abuse in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin from the 17th to the 21st of October 2023

The main objective of the training of trainers was to build the capacity of drug prevention professionals to improve their practices through the use evidence-based interventions to prevent children and adolescents from starting to use psychoactive substances.

The training hosted under auspices of the Drug Prevention and Control Programme of the ECOWAS Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs is driven by information and data on treatment of drug addiction generated in 2020-2022 by the West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) which revealed that regionally, the data on treatment of drug addiction has a notable rise in the prevalence of drug usage among young individuals when contrasted with the broader population.

The West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) is a sentinel surveillance system with a public health orientation for the collection and dissemination of comparable data on drug abuse and related problems in the region and aimed at improving the information base for policymakers of the ECOWAS Member states to address the social, health, and economic consequences of alcohol and drug use.

At the Opening Ceremony of the training on the 17th of October 2023, the remarks of the Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in the Republic of Benin was delivered by the Political Adviser – Mr. Mamadou Konate and he recalled the commitment of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to address Illicit drug Trafficking, Drug Abuse and Organized Crime with the adoption of the Political Declaration and Action Plan. The Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe in her remarks extended the Commission’s appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Benin for the strong commitment demonstrated in working with the Department to address the problems of substance abuse. She stated that the cohort ages of the onset of substance abuse by young people was a major source of concern and decried the dire consequences for our young people. In conclusion, she stressed the need for greater investment in the implementation of drug prevention interventions as being cheaper and effective than treatment.

The Minister of Interior and Public Security, ably represented by the Director of Cabinet – ABASSE Olossoumare at the Opening Ceremony recognised the ECOWAS Commission’s multi-faceted support in the fight against drugs in the Republic of Benin. He highlighted the important roles of the participants in shaping the lives of the young people and enjoined them to make the very best of the training. He further underscored the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Benin’s zero tolerance to drug use in the country and its emphasis on and support for drug use prevention strategies. He reassured the ECOWAS Commission of the continued support and cooperation of the Government of the Republic of Benin in tackling the menace of drugs.

The Permanent Secretary, Secrétariat Permanent Du Comité Interministériel De Lutte Contre L’abus Des Stupéfiants Et Des Substances Psychotropes (SP-CILAS) – Mr. SIMON SANI Yacoubou in his remarks at the Opening Ceremony expressed his deep gratitude to the Commission and reiterated the commitment of the CILAS to work with the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs.

All participants were fully enthusiastic and engaged throughout the training and at the conclusion of their training and assessment they will be issued Certificates.

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