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Tuesday, April 16 2024

Colombo Plan approves Ecolink as Training Provider in Addiction Management

Photo Credit :
Dr. Josephine Choong with Dr. Thomas Scaria

Mangaluru: Ecolink Institute of Well-being, a Mangalore based training Institute received an international credential in organizing courses on Universal Treatment and Prevention Curricula on addiction management.

Colombo Plan, a Commonwealth initiated Inter-Governmental International Organization has approved Ecolink as their official training provider in India for conducting courses on addiction management.

This was announced by Dr. Josephine Choong, the Programme Manager for Asia from Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme, while opening a virtual training on “Counselling in Addiction Management”, hosted by Ecolink, 24 July.

The opening ceremony

“We are happy to announce that the Mangalore based Ecolink Institute of Well-being is officially recognized as a Training Provider by the Colombo Plan and the International Society for Substance Use Professionals”, said Dr. Choong while inaugurating the training.
Colombo Plan was started in 1951 as a Commonwealth Organization by seven countries including India for initiating developmental programs in Asia and the Pacific region. The Drug Advisory Programme was started in 1971 which is mostly supported by the US Government and reaches out to nearly 70 countries.

The MOU signed between Colombo Plan and Ecolink enables hosting Certificate programs on Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC), Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC), and various courses in the field with international recognition.

The UTC and UPC are promoted by the Colombo Plan and the UN Office of the Drugs and Crime with financial support from the US Department of State, United States. Those completing the six months course with required hours of practical can appear for an International exam and gain credentials to practice as an Addiction professional around the world.

Dr.Josephine Choong addressing the virtual conference

The credential or license to practice as an Addiction professional globally is awarded by the Global Center for Credentialling and Certification (GCCC) of Addiction Professionals, a UK based credentialing Institute, founded by the Colombo Plan and US Government. Those completing the UTC or UPC from Ecolink can appear for this online examination and gain credential, titled Internationally Certified Addiction Professional (ICAP) from GCCC.

Dr. Josephine Choong explained the urgent need to train more professionals in addiction management and addiction prevention as the number of drug users is on the increase. He said the Universal Treatment and Prevention Curricula are designed based on evidence-based practices and they are promoted in over 70 countries.

“This recognition gave us a boost to our mission of training addiction professionals with credentials who can practice as addiction professionals”, said Dr. Thomas Scaria, the Director of the Institute while addressing a group of mental health professionals, July 24.
He said Ecolink is also an affiliated member of the International Society for Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), a forum created by the Colombo Plan and based in the UK.

52 participants, most of them psychologists and mental health practitioners from all over India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the United States are attending the one-month training program over a virtual platform.

He said the recent World Drug Report released in June estimated that there are over 35.6 million drug users around the globe and India is a dangerous hub of drug trade due to its proximity with the golden crescent and golden triangle. “This necessitates more trained addiction professionals”, he said.

Dr. Thirumagal V., a Chennai based trainer of Colombo Plan conducted sessions on addiction as a brain disease, psychoactive substances, and stages and symptoms of addiction on the first day.

Dr. Thulitha Wickrama, Director of Center for Global Health Research and Policy (CGHRP), an Atlanta based Research Institute said addiction is now a global issue and there is a huge demand for addiction professionals all over the world. CGHRP collaborated with Ecolink in organizing the current training program.

Ecolink Institute of Well-being also runs an online Counselling portal called “” with over 25 well-qualified counselors and psychologists.

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