Accra, Ghana (PANA) - A five-day workshop on drug use and HIV risk among West African youths was billed to open here Tuesday, as part of continuing efforts by ECOWAS to address the issues through intensified public awareness.
Specifically, the workshop will seek to increase the awareness around alcohol and substance use disorder and HIV-related sexual risk behaviours and educate stakeholders on the global strategy to reduce the harmful practices, the ECOWAS Commission said.
It is also aimed at educating stakeholders on specific prevention and treatment interventions as well as to encourage greater commitment to the inclusion of alcohol issues in HIV prevention and treatment approaches.
In addition, participants will be empowered to plan and deliver research-based prevention programmes at the community level.
The workshop will draw experts from ECOWAS member states, particularly from the ministries of health, youth and sports, National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, National Youth Councils and Associations, civil society organizations, international partners and UN agencies, including the UN Office for Drug Control, the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS.
The workshop is in line with the 2008 directive by West African leaders to the Commission to address the challenges of drug and substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among the youths in the region.
In May 2011, the Commission organised an experts’ meeting, also in Accra, on drug demand reduction within the framework of the ECOWAS Action Plan against Drug Abuse, Trafficking and Organised Crime.
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