National Drug Prevention Advisory Committee (NDPAC)

[highlight_sc bg_color=#21c2f8 text_color=#ffffff border_color=] Ministry of Narcotics Control,

National Drug Prevention Advisory Committee (NDPAC)

1st Prevention/Awareness Sub-Committee Meeting[/highlight_sc]

23rd November 2019

With a young population of over 135 million, Pakistan has a youth bulge to which it has to provide a healthy environment in the interest of the country’s future. Proliferation of drugs and the ensuing menace of drug addiction is eating the fabric of our society – the youth and taking away the healthy development of the young generation. This is a national crisis of a scale more intense than other health outbreaks, contributing an extra on the public health departments like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other related diseases.

 

To develop immediate strategies to address these concerns, the Ministry of Narcotics Control constituted the National Drug Prevention Advisory Committee – NDPAC chaired by the Minister for Narcotics and Drug Control Mr. Shehryar Afridi in October 2019. The NDPAC in its first meeting further set up three sub-committees on prevention/ awareness, law enforcement and rehabilitation and mental well-being with the key tasks to identify major policy, practice and implementation  gaps, propose areas for attention and suggest solutions, and develop a plan of action for enforcement.

Mrs. Cristina von Sperling Afridi was appointed as the Chair of the Sub-Committee on prevention/ awareness. NDPAC Sub-Committee on Prevention and Awareness will focus on:

  1. Targeted drug prevention programmes for Educational Institutions
  2. Admissions Policies to monitor student’s health profiles.
  3. Mandatory requirement for all schools to have a student counselor/therapist available to students in public and private schools.
  4. Develop a system to register all psychologists graduating from universities, and these can form the resource base. Internship programmes
  5. Curriculum in schools to have a mandatory subject on drug use and its effects from grade 5th to 12th. Students to get points in the school grading system and be reflected as community service to aid in student future college admissions. There should be an age appropriate awareness curriculum for grade 3-4.
  6. Sports as an important element of education, and an effective and meaningful way for engaging youth. Schools have to become the hub for supporting sporting activities with enhancement and increase in number of sports facilities for youth. Mandatory sports activities in schools to be implemented.
  7. Awareness Campaigns on drug use prevention including TED talks, student debates, walks etc.
  8. Develop a robust national policy for both public and private rehabilitation centers in the country requiring standardized and uniform standard operating procedures and protocols, that clearly monitors their operation.
  9. Develop appropriate legislation to address the gaps and challenges to move towards the goal of a drug free Pakistan with the Provinces to have an independent body to control narcotics and drug abuse, working directly under the command of the Chief Ministers.
  10. Accountability system to be cross-cutting at the national / provincial system for accountability of youth and drug awareness programmes is essential.

1st Prevention/Awareness Sub-Committee Meeting

 

Minutes of the Meeting

November 23, 2019

 

List of Participants:

1. Mrs. Cristina von Sperling Afridi Head of the Committee
2. Mrs. Lubna Ghani Hayauddin Member
3. Ms. Maliha Khawaja Member
4. Mrs. Ayeza Yazdani Abid Member
5. Mr. Osman Mirza Member
6. Dr Parveen Azam Member
7.

8.

Ms. Farwa Zafar

Ms. Sana Mehmud

Member

Member

9. Dr. Arif Afridi Observer
10. Mr. Sam Afridi Observer
11. Mr. Faisal Latif Observer
12. Ms. Sanila Javed Observer

  

Key Action Points for Follow-Up

The 1st Sub-Committee on Prevention/Awareness of the National Drug Prevention Advisory Committee (NDPAC) was held in Islamabad on Saturday November 23, 2019.

Meeting Objectives

The meeting sought to identify major policy, practice and implementation gaps related to narcotic and drug use in Pakistan, propose areas for attention, suggest solutions, and develop a plan of action for implementation.

Key Action Points for Follow-up

The agenda items presented were well received by all participants as given in the discussion note prepared for this workshop. The importance of solutions that will work and make a difference was noted. Why things are not working and show how they can work better is a way forward.

Four Sub-committees to develop detailed proposals to develop the final working paper of this sub-committee were formed covering:

Committees Members
i.    Awareness and education institutions Maliha Khawaja

Ayza Abid

Lubna Ghani Hayauddin

Mahvesh Khan

ii.   Rehabilitation Dr Parveen Azam

Usman Mirza

iii.  Legislative frameworks Farwa Zafar

Momina Randhawa

iv. Sports Sana Mahmud

 

The committee members will work around the key action points noted below in preparing their papers. Cristina Afridi and Faisal Latif to coordinate with the four sub-committees and with Majid Rafiq for campaign strategy

Following are key points put forth for action:

1. Priorities for Educational Institutions

  • A positive approach with a holistic health outlook for students should be adopted by schools’ admissions policies which must include requirement of a student’s health profile at entry from a certified lab on an annual basis. This to be done at the district/tehsil level. This would not be targeted at only drug use but look at a students’ well-being. This will remove any stigma associated with drug related blood test method. Review linking with the ongoing primary health care programmes in provinces.
  • Parents should be used as information sources on students’ smoking habits, as smoking is the gateway to drugs. Using a collective approach like the British Council “Active Citizens” project is a good practice to consider.
  • Mandatory requirement for all schools to have a student counselor/therapist available to students in public and private schools at the tehsil level. Develop a system to register all psychologists graduating from universities, and these can form the resource base. Internship programmes
  • Curriculum in schools to have a mandatory subject on drug use and its effects from grade 5th to 12th. Students to get points in the school grading system and be reflected as community service to aid in student future college admissions. There should be an age appropriate awareness curriculum for grade 3-4.

2. Awareness Campaign

  • A national level media awareness campaign developed on drug use on television networks, radio, social media, print and through special events as an annual walk led by students and celebrities, theatre plays, etc. Moreover focused discussions, TED talks, student debates and art competitions at national level. To highlight this issue, a tweet led by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take the lead to raise awareness among the youth.
  • PEMRA to require 10% of the airtime, which is allocated for the public awareness, and ensure that the television channels broadcast the anti-drug use awareness campaigns.

3. Sports

  • A separate Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs be created, to inject energized focus on youth and sports as both go hand in hand.
  • Develop a sports policy for educational institutions, focusing on a mandatory physical education activity in schools with a minimum 4 hours per week. Dormant sports fields to be activated in schools and in communities and cities.
  • Corporate sector to be encouraged to support sponsor sports programmes and awareness activities as part of their CSR, within and across schools for which the local sports complexes to be made available to students.
  • Enhancement and increase in number of sports facilities for youth across the country. Local governments have to create spaces (grounds, tracks, courts, etc.)

4. Policy on private rehabilitation centers

  • As a first must develop a robust national policy for both public and private rehabilitation centers in the country, that clearly monitors the operation of private rehabilitation centers.
  • National policy to state standardized and uniform standard operating procedures and protocols for rehab centers to follow. The rehabilitation must have a holistic approach towards recovery and treatment methods e.g. acupuncture.
  • Sports and physical activities be made mandatory during the process of rehabilitation, while planting, cooking, cleaning and vocational training should also become part of their daily routine for reintegration.
  • Programmes to be developed with current treatment practices to be adopted and outlined in the policy.
  • Training programmes can be run to develop competency skills for those interested in opening rights-based and best practice rehabilitation centers. Can share DOST Foundation experiences in running rehab centers in KP.
  • The rehab centers’ registration should include provision of the profile of all the staff, their salary structure, the sample of the admission form (which should include all the details of the patient/client). All the transactions (including client charges, fees, rent, purchase and administrative costs should be made through the bank account). The private rehabilitation centers should submit their annual audit reports to the registering authority along with the bank account statements to validate their registration and strict monitoring of all the financial transactions be ensured for checks and balances at all levels.

5. Legislative Frameworks

  • Develop appropriate legislation to address the gaps and challenges to move towards the goal of a drug free Pakistan.
  • Drug issues need to be separate from excise and taxation department in provinces.
  • We suggest the Provinces have an independent body to control narcotics and drug abuse, working directly under the command of the Chief Ministers. The Department should have powers to arrest and investigate under the new laws of narcotics Control, while the force head should be a national security expert, who may have experience of dealing with such cases in the past, and also have hands on with international conventions.

 

6. Accountability

 

  • Accountability system to be cross-cutting at the national/provincial system for accountability of youth and drug awareness programmes is essential.
  • An inclusive accountability model should be developed that involves key stakeholders in the process.

 

 

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