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National Recovery Symposium with the Theme: โ€˜Substance Use Disorder is Preventable and Treatable, and Recovery is Possibleโ€™

Tshering Dorji

The Restorative and Rehabilitation Division of The PEMA Secretariat has organized a three-day National Recovery Symposium under the theme: ‘Substance use disorder (SUD) is preventable and treatable, and recovery is possible.’ This theme aims to shed light on SUD as a medical condition that can be both prevented and treated, emphasizing the potential for recovery and urging individuals, communities, and healthcare professionals to focus on prevention strategies and effective treatment approaches. Additionally, it highlights the importance of approaching individuals with SUD with compassion and empathy.

The National Recovery Symposium intends to enhance continuing care and aftercare services for individuals grappling with SUD while fostering the growth of a resilient recovery community for those facing substance use challenges. The symposium seeks to celebrate individuals in recovery who have triumphed over stigma, denial, and other obstacles to treatment, showcasing their journey towards healthy and productive lives. Moreover, it aims to raise awareness about substance use disorders, their impact on individuals and communities, and the significance of recovery.

One of the main objectives of the symposium is to disseminate knowledge about evidence-based practices and effective treatment modalities for substance use recovery. Additionally, it aims to facilitate dialogue, idea exchange, and partnerships among professionals, policymakers, community leaders, family members, and individuals in recovery. The symposium recognizes the importance of extending the focus of treatment beyond the initial phases, emphasizing the need for ongoing support and care in promoting long-term recovery.

Continuing care and aftercare services play a crucial role in helping individuals transition back into their communities after completing earlier stages of treatment and rehabilitation. These services address crucial issues related to abstinence and recovery, providing essential support as individuals redefine their own journey to recovery, navigate life post-treatment, and reintegrate into society. However, in Bhutan, the aftercare program for individuals in recovery remains underdeveloped, with inadequate follow-up care for those who complete rehabilitation.

Furthermore, the symposium acknowledges the challenges and hardships faced by individuals in recovery, which often go unnoticed. Substance use and substance use disorders have a profound impact on individuals, families, and communities globally, including Bhutan. In addition to the physical and psychological toll, individuals who use substances often encounter stigma, discrimination, and social exclusion, further complicating their path to recovery. Addressing these issues comprehensively is crucial in fostering a society that values the well-being, dignity, and rights of all individuals.

The National Recovery Symposium has featured a range of activities and engaging sessions, including Recovery plenary, Concurrent Workshops, and Recovery countdown. The Recovery Plenary aimed to create a collaborative platform where experts, professionals, individuals in recovery, and their families can share knowledge, experiences, and best practices. It seeks to increase understanding and awareness of the harmful effects of stigma and discrimination on individuals who use drugs, their families, and communities, while promoting empathy, compassion, and non-judgmental attitudes towards this population.

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