Dianova Members Participate in the 74th Session of CICAD

CAPSA  and Dianova Uruguay presented their core activities and projects at the 74th Session of CICAD in Washington DC

74th regular session of CICAD

CICAD serves as a forum for OAS member states to discuss and find solutions to the drug problem and provides them technical assistance to increase their capacity to counter the drug problem

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission – known by its Spanish language acronym, CICAD – is the consultative and advisory body of the Organization of American States (OAS) on the drug issue.

CICAD works closely with partners such as the UNODC, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and many others, while maintaining strong ties with civil society organizations. During the 74th session of CICAD held in Washington D.C. in December 2023, CAPSA  and Dianova Uruguay, both members of Dianova International, were invited to present their core projects. Anthony Esposti, CEO, CAPSA, presented the principle of Substance Use Health and Patricia Puigdevall, Psychologist, Dianova Uruguay Foundation, focused on the importance of person-centered care in the treatment of substance use disorders, from a human rights-based standpoint.

Both interventions can be downloaded (pdf document) on the OAS dedicated web page in English and Spanish languages, or directly:

  • Intervention by CAPSA in: EN ES
  • Intervention by Dianova Uruguay in: EN ES

CAPSA Introduces Substance Use Health

On December 12, 2023, through the support of Dianova International, Anthony Esposti, CEO of CAPSA, was a panelist, among other civil society organizations, at the 74th session of CICAD.  This intervention was convened to explore the obstacles to a human rights approach to the ‘drug issue’.  Anthony brought to the delegates the principle of Substance Use Health and how the basic human right to health needs to be addressed in international drug policy.

Interventions at CICAD

Mr Anthony Esposti (right) CEO, CAPSA, and Ms Patricia Puigdevall (on screen) during their interventions at CICAD – Photo: all rights reserved

There is universal agreement that health is a basic human right, enshrined in the constitutions of many countries and declared by most international institutions.  But when it comes to talking about substance use, especially in the international arena, regulations, trafficking and enforcement tend to dominate the conversation.  The health of people who use substances is rarely discussed.  What if we reframed the conversation, also focussing on protecting the health of people who use substances?  Would that make a positive difference in their health outcomes?  CAPSA thinks so.

The on-going practice of focussing only on the far end of the spectrum, the illness model, ignores the vast majority of the population who use substances and do not have an SUD.  Nowhere along the spectrum do services, resources and evidence-based information exist, to any large degree, for people who used/used substances, in support of their health goals.

Substance use health spectrum

Drug policy is contentious and contextual. As we saw at the CND, the world can be divided on how best to move forward. CAPSA believes that health is a unifying lens that cuts across treatment, prevention, and even the more contentious issues of harm reduction and enforcement. It is a discussion that binds us to our similarities, not only our differences, and unites us with an ultimate goal that we can all stand behind – Substance Use Health for all.


CAPSA, a national organization, located in Ottawa, Canada, actively collaborates with organizations, communities, and systems, resulting in substantial improvements in people’s health concerning substance use. CAPSA’s team of educators, researchers, and policy experts, informed by their professional expertise and lived experience, are dedicated to eliminating systemic stigma. By delivering evidence-based solutions, CAPSA works to ensure equitable access to knowledge and services for all individuals. This unique approach removes systemic barriers for people and brings positive change to organizations and systems to become inclusive, effective, and compassionate while improving Substance Use Health.

Anthony Esposti, CEO of CAPSA, leads an energetic team of professionals in their work to dismantle and transform stigma and discrimination for people addressing their Substance Use Health.  Anthony has served as an executive on several not-for-profit boards of directors and is past Chair of CAPSA itself.


Person-centred care and human rights: the importance of the individual treatment plan

In her presentation, Patricia Puigdevall, a psychologist at the Dianova Uruguay Foundation, noted that after more than 25 years of accompanying people with substance use disorders in their recovery process, the teams at the Dianova Uruguay Foundation have observed that substance use is likely to lead to a significant deterioration in people’s health and an increase in preexisting vulnerabilities.

It is in this context that institutions, the public health system, social policies and drug policies have a role to play in guaranteeing access to health care for all and protecting the rights of everyone. Patricia Puigdevall noted that it is the actual access a person has to health care that will either facilitate or hinder the process of help seeking (Ríos A, 2020).

Counselling session

The person-centred treatment planning relie son collaboration and shared decision-making with participants; this non-authoritative approach allows people to take more of a lead in their treatment process – Photo: Shutterstock

Patricia went on to talk about the fundamentals of the person-centred care approach, namely the respect and protection of human rights and the recognition of the ‘patient’ as a subject of rights, co-responsible for all decision-making concerning their own life and health. Person-centred care involves valuing the patient as an individual with unique needs. It includes understanding patients’ experience and working with them to ensure that their care plan reflects their individual needs. In this way, people are encouraged to participate in their own recovery process and to work in partnership with the team to promote their physical, mental and social well-being.

The individual therapeutic project implemented by Dianova Uruguay involves several characteristics:

  • It involves the individualization of the therapeutic process through active listening, during which the person is accompanied in order to better identify their own needs.
  • It promotes the development of the person’s autonomy, their ability to make decisions and therefore to be responsible for their own decisions.
  • It is necessarily flexible and adaptable
  • Its focus is on the person, not on the drugs they use
  • It is compatible and consistent with the harm reduction approach.

To conclude her presentation, Patricia emphasized the importance of networking and the need for a professional, multidisciplinary approach to ensure that people are cared for in all their complexity and that their rights are respected and protected.


Founded in 1999, the Dianova Uruguay Foundation serves adolescents with substance use disorders and their families. It provides comprehensive public addiction treatment programmes for adolescents with substance use problems in residential, outpatient and day-care settings, in collaboration with the Child and Adolescent Institute, INAU and the National Addiction Network (RENADRO) among other institutions. More particularly, the Foundation is dedicated to serving adolescents and young adults with a dual pathology (substance use disorders associated with severe mental disorders) through a public residential programme implemented in collaboration with public institutions.

Patricia Puigdevall has a degree in psychology, specializing in crisis intervention, focal psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and substance use. Patricia works at the Dianova Uruguay Foundation and is the technical coordinator of Novasalud