EU Experts Accessed Experience of Kyrgyzstan in Drug Prevention
Aleksandr Zeliçenko (Bişkek)
Bishkek – Experts from the European Union assessed the level of drug prevention in the country within the sixth phase of the Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP), funded by the European Union and implemented by a Consortium of the EU Member States led by Deutsche Gesellschaft Zusammensrbeit GmbH (GIZ).
The assessment mission involved recognized experts from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic and Poland. After they visited hospitals and university departments, ministries and agencies, met with security officials and representatives of HIV and drug-service NGOs, heads of international organisations, studied the relevant documents and witnessed the drug situation, they were convinced that Kyrgyzstan’s drug policy is well-balanced.
Along with strict measures of legal responsibility for serious drug crimes – sales of drugs, drug trafficking, smuggling, harm reduction programmes are active as well, facilitating the process of drug addicts” access to medical institutions, maintenance therapy, as well as psychologists” and social workers” assistance.
In prisons, anyone who wishes to give up not only drugs, but alcohol and tobacco, along with treatment, get access to “Atlantis” Centres, where adequate psycho-social assistance and support is rendered. The so called “Clean Zones” where drug addicts who decided to quit drugs receive social assistance does not have analogues in the former Soviet Union.
The one of the “missing” elements in Kyrgyzstan”s drug policy is primary prevention, which is specific work with those who have not yet started using drugs or just experimenting with them. Classroom studies or lectures of juvenile affairs inspectorates and occasional lectures of narcologists are unable to fill in this niche. The country needs a Government-supported policy of drug prevention and prevention of substance use, especially among young people.
The EU experts intend to assist in the solution of this problem in the framework of the sixth phase of CADAP. The country will also be introducing the most advanced treatment methods for addictions, including increasing multidrug abuse, when in addition to heroin, spices, medicinal drugs in combination with alcohol, and even simple inhalants – glue, gasoline and household solvents are being used by young people.
CADAP plans to assist in the retraining of drug treatment specialists, nurses, improving skills of social workers and psychologists who work with drug addicts.
Under CADAP, promotion of the most modern models of drug policy, the institutionalization of the process of collection, processing and use of data on the drug situation will also be continued taking into account local features, traditions and mentality.