KU Hosts Conference on Substance Abuse Prevention in Higher Education Institutions

Fri Dec 22 2023
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KARACHI: The University of Karachi’s Institute of Clinical Psychology organized a one-day national conference on “Substance Use Prevention and Treatment: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice” (ICP-NCSUPT-2023) at KU’s HEJ Auditorium.

The event, supported by the Higher Education Commission’s Local Challenge Fund (LCF) and the World Bank, aimed to address the challenges of substance abuse in academic settings.

During the inaugural session, the provincial health minister, Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz, emphasized the need to understand the reasons for drug use, citing societal factors and the lack of rehabilitation centers as contributing to the increasing number of drug addicts.

Dr. Niaz expressed concern over the societal acceptance of substances like Gutka as non-drugs and highlighted the importance of religious scholars in raising awareness about drug prevention. He also identified the role of media, proposing regular morning show programs on drug prevention.

Brigadier Umar Farooq, the Regional Directorate Commander of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Sindh, shared that ANF Sindh had seized six metric tons of drugs in 2023, worth 81 million dollars in the international market, and had arrested 252 traffickers during the year.

Senator Dr. Karim Ahmed Khawaja, Chairman of the Sindh Mental Health Authority, stressed the importance of finding ways to prevent substance use in society. KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Khalid Mahmood Iraqi highlighted the negative impact of substance use on youth and national progress.

Professor Dr. Imran Bashir Chaudhry, Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Dr. Ziauddin Medical University and Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning (PILL), addressed substance use as a global public health challenge. FATA University Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan identified drug abuse as a major issue confronting the youth.

Professor Dr. Salman Shahzad, the Principal Investigator of the LCF and a faculty member at KU’s ICP, provided an introduction to the project. He expressed researchers’ concerns about the prevalence of substance use in academic institutions.

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