A recent expert working group sponsored by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria included two professionals with ties to the Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program at Virginia Tech. They are Dr. Fred Piercy, former department head and current professor emeritus of family therapy and Dr. Manjushree Palit, 2014 PhD graduate of the Department of Human Development and currently assistant professor at the Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Haryana, India.
The group of 23 invited experts worked from June 7-10, 2018, on ways to adapt elements of evidence-based family therapy for adolescent drug disorders for use in low- and middle-income countries. The overarching goal was in line with UNODC’s mandate “to contribute to the creation of families and communities resilient to multiple challenges around drugs, crime, or radicalization.” Participants will continue to work on this training project, with UN support, remotely and in low-income countries though development, piloting, and field-testing phases.
Fred Piercy said that “it was gratifying to be part of such a potentially pivotal UN-sponsored event and to see family therapy professionals working together on a goal with such far reaching implications for so many people across the world.” Giovanna Campello of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime stated that it was indeed “high time” for the UN to acknowledge that evidence-based family therapies for adolescents with drug disorders has entered the world stage and was delighted that the UN would have a role in disseminating elements of these therapies to low-income countries.