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Toolkit developed to improve LEAs communication with drug users.

ISLAMABAD -- A toolkit has been launched in Pakistan to improve Law Enforcement Agencies' (LEAs) communication with drug users and other marginalized and vulnerable groups.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), which has prepared the toolkit, has announced it was for the first time that this kind of material has been developed for LEAs and it was handed over in a pilot project to 40 Station Head Officers across Pakistan.

The toolkit is financially supported by the UNODC's Regional Project for Afghanistan and surrounding countries and distribution of the toolkit in Pakistan has shown that its design is highly relevant for police on the ground who are working in complex settings.

Around 4.1 million individuals are dependent on drugs and treatment and specialist interventions are in short supply and often not free of charge.

Poverty makes it very difficult for many addicts to get access to structure the treatment so that less than 30 000 drug users get treated every year.

The toolkit was launched at a workshop at Sihala Police Academy where participants were presented with a toolkit.

During the workshop arranged recently, the UNODC also held a dialogue meeting with 14 high ranking senior Pakistani law enforcement officials which were focused on need to include training for police on their important role in public health more generally, particularly with regards to HIV among key affected populations.

UNODC cooperated with Dr. Nicholas Thomson from University of Melbourne to conduct the workshop.

On the occasion, Dr. Thomson said to be able to design a toolkit like this and then actually speak with most senior officials has been incredibly valuable which would helped find the right strategy for ongoing advocacy with the police and also has given a chance to see how the toolkit can be delivered.

Considering this is part of a broader regional programme, he said, we have got off to a great start.

The UNODC is planning further dialogues and training courses across the region including a regional advocacy and training programme in the first quarter of next year.

Working with law enforcement and HIV issues is a long term endeavour on the organization's side, and the positive reactions to the launch of the toolkit has created a platform from which the organization can continue to work for an improved environment for people who use drugs in the region.

One of the participants said this is a very useful document as UNODC's efforts are commendable for bringing this toolkit to Pakistan and actually delivering it to senior officers from around the country.

He expressed thanks to UNODC for designing this toolkit and it is clear that role of police in public health is important and we need to know how we can better respond to HIV in the national context.

On the occasion, a UNODC official said the event has opened up communication with police academies on a national scale which is a terrific outcome.

He said getting their feedback and inputs will mean that as we go forward in Pakistan with building capacity for law enforcement agencies to effectively work with these vulnerable groups in society.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Nov 4, 2013
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