Management of substance abuse

Research and training activities

The Management of Substance Dependence (MSB) Team at WHO is engaged in activities aimed at enhancing the research capacities of researchers in developing countries.

First of these activities is the publication and dissemination of research guides. Two guides have been published in the past three years, one on alcohol and the other on drug use epidemiology.

The titles of the publications are:

International Guide for Monitoring Alcohol Consumption and Related Harm

Guide to Drug Abuse Epidemiology

A second type of activity involves direct training of developing country researchers in data collection methods and other aspects of epidemiological and social research on alcohol and other substances.

In 2002, MSB collaborated with the African Regional Office to offer training in drug abuse epidemiology for researchers from twelve countries in Harare, Zimbabwe, based on the Guide to drug abuse epidemiology. Participants at this one-week training workshop were mostly mid-career health care workers who had shown strong interest in developing their substance abuse skills.

Training has also been a central part of all MSB research activities whether it is on alcohol epidemiology (e.g., unrecorded alcohol consumption and gender and alcohol projects) or screening and brief interventions projects (e.g., SBI-AUDIT and ASSIST). In connection with the GENACIS project, MSB has organized the training of project teams and interviewers in Argentina, Costa Rica, India, Nigeria and Uganda on the use of the GENACIS questionnaire to collect comparable data. Other projects which have been used to improve the skills of researchers in developing countries are the WHO Collaborative Research Project on Drug Dependence Treatment and HIV/AIDS, WHO Drug Injection Study, and WHO Collaborative Study on Alcohol and Injuries.

For several years now WHO-MSB has also supported the participation of researchers at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) meetings and, through the Global Action Programme for Mental Health (mhGAP) of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, is in its second year of funding a research trainee position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada. Interested researchers from resource poor countries are encouraged to request more information on these projects.