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A new stage in the struggle for humane drug policy in Kyrgyzstan

On 19-21 June 2023, the second official visit of the Regional Commission on Drug Policy (ECECACD) took place in Kyrgyzstan. This event is important for overcoming problems related to drug addiction and creating a more humane and effective system of assistance and rehabilitation.

This time, the Commission’s special attention was drawn to a problem that constitutes a serious obstacle for people suffering from drug addiction – the existence of a registry, due to which people do not seek medical treatment, including receiving therapy with opioid agonists. In order to address the situation, ECECACD will provide expertise and technical assistance to Kyrgyzstan to amend the legislation, as access to medical care is a key factor in the treatment of drug dependence.

Another important objective put forward by the ECECACD Commission is the abolition of compulsory drug treatment. According to the data provided, there were 111 sentences containing compulsory treatment measures, about 20 per cent of which were imposed on people who are not drug users. This is of serious concern and requires urgent changes in the system.

It is important to note that during the visit the commissioners presented a new document – Drug Policy Guidelines for the EECA region, which aroused keen interest among the representatives of law enforcement agencies. This document will serve as a basis for the development and implementation of anti-drug measures in the region.

During the official visit, a number of high-level meetings were held with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, deputies of key committees of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) and ministries responsible for this sphere, as well as with a delegation of ECECACD commissioners, including Alexander Kwasniewski, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Natalia Nikitenko and Volodymyr Tymoshenko. The result of these meetings was an agreement to continue work on these issues.

In turn, the ECECACD Commission promises to provide expert and technical support to amend the country’s legislation regarding the abolition of the drug registry and compulsory treatment. Such changes will contribute to the creation of a fairer and more effective drug policy in Kyrgyzstan. The efforts made by the commission and the participants of the meeting are an important step towards a healthier future for the country and its citizens.

It should be noted that in November 2021, the first official visit of the Regional Commission on Drug Policy (ECECACD) took place, during which two key aspects requiring close attention at the country level were identified: the abolition of the drug registry and compulsory drug treatment.