Handbook on Addressing Substance Use Disorders in Humanitarian Settings – Access to Services for Displaced Populations and Host Communities in Acute and Protracted Emergencies

Insights zone 4 (I4)

Abstract

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has developed a handbook on 'Addressing Substance Use Disorders (SUD) in Humanitarian Settings'. There are 82.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide (UNHCR 2021). Additionally, 235 million people were living in humanitarian emergencies (OCHA, 2021). Displaced populations may be vulnerable to SUD for a variety of reasons. The UNODC estimates that globally 36 million people are in need of treatment for drug use disorders, yet only one in eight persons in need has access to treatment for drug use disorders.Extensive literature research on the topic of addressing substance use and SUD in humanitarian settings followed by an expert group consultation, convening 110 experts and government representatives from all regions. The findings were further enhanced through a Delphi process and additional peer reviews.A summary of practical guidance and information on available tools for the assessment, planning, implementation and monitoring on SUD treatment services/programmes, and services to address associated health and social consequences of substance use, adapted to humanitarian settings and ready for field testing.While there is limited information about the effectiveness of addressing SUD in humanitarian settings, the handbook can serve to enhance the integration of SUD treatment and care in humanitarian responses.

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