Substance Abuse


The main priority approaches developed to respond to the growing challenge of addressing substance abuse issues in the African Region cover:

  • Awareness and commitment
  • Policy development
  • Information system and research
  • Capacity building

Awareness and commitment
The success in implementation of a given program lies, first and foremost, on the achievement of political commitment, acquisition of the necessary human and financial resources and on the involvement of civil society. Therefore the program focuses on:

  • Increasing advocacy for countries' political, financial and technical commitment in addressing substance use related problems;
  • Promoting and building productive partnerships and alliances involving health professionals, families and communities and collaboration between governments, international organizations, and other concerned parties at national, regional and global levels.

Policy development
Policy and legislation are essential to prevent the fragmentation and inefficiency of services and activities and to ensure a framework that prevents violation of human rights and ensures that treatment and care are delivered to those in need. The focus is on:

  • Strengthening countries' capacity for the development and implementation of national policies, plans and legislation for addressing public health problems caused by alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances;
  • Building commitment to scaling up services in the context of primary health care services provision.

Information system and research
Surveillance and research are fundamental to asses needs in countries and inform policy and program development. Monitoring and surveillance systems for alcohol and other drugs publicize information about current and future trends regarding consumption and related-harms and policy actions taken amongst others. The focus is on:

  • Establishing or strengthening at country and regional levels integrated information systems with substance use indicators capable of collecting, analyzing, reporting and disseminating information ;
  • Developing and strengthening evidences on alcohol and other psychoactive substances consumption and related problems.

Capacity building
Adequate training, development and upgrading of human resources are essential for organizational capacity building for substance abuse disorders. Prevention, early detection and management of substance use problems at primary care level and effective treatment for people with disorders are important components of societal and community responses that need to be ensured. The focus of the program is on:

  • Strengthening and building capacity of Member States to provide quality of care and services;
  • Developing, disseminating and implementing evidence-based preventive and curative interventions that allow a more effective approach at community level.

Monitoring Alcohol Marketing in Africa - MAMPA Project