Members of the Eastern and Central European and Central Asian Commission on Drug Policy (ECECACD) have last week visited the Kyrgyz Republic. The Commissioners met with Government representatives including Mr. Edil Baysalov, deputy Head of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Adilbek Biybosunov, 1st Deputy of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Zhalalidin Rahmatullaev the Deputy Minister of Health. They also held meetings with the Head of the Penitentiary service, Mr, Askat Egemberdiyev and members of the Zhogorku Kenesh (Parliament), the Deputy Mayor of Bishkek city, UN agencies, and civil society representatives.
During the visit, the delegation discussed the current drug policy status in the country. A number of issues for further work and consideration emerged during the visit, including:
- low access to opioid analgesics for palliative patients and patients with chronic pain;
- the continuation of a registry of people with drug dependency and of compulsory treatment in the legislation;
- the increasing use of new psychoactive substances.
Some of these issues could be addressed within the current Governmental initiative on legislative inventory.
The ECECACD Delegation was comprised of:
- Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, WHO Special Envoy for the European region, former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, former Minister of Health in Lithuania;
- Mr. Pavel Bém, former Mayor of Prague and former Head of drug policies, Czech Republic, member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy;
- Professor Michel Kazatchkine, former Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria; Senior Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy;
- Mr. Aleksander Kwaśniewski, (Chair), former President of the Republic of Poland, member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy; and
- Elvira Surabaldiyeva, former Deputy Prime Minister on social affairs, Kyrgyzstan.
The Eastern and Central European and Central Asian Commission on Drug Policy (ECECACD) is a new high-level, independent body that was established by high level leaders to bring an informed, evidence-based debate about humane, effective and sustainable drug policies to the region.
The region is home to an estimated 3 000 000 people who use drugs— one quarter of all people who inject drugs worldwide and is also one of two regions in the world where HIV infections continue to increase.
Kyrgyzstan has been a pioneering country in Central Asia in the implementation of harm reduction programs, including programs around the penitentiary system and the decriminalization of drug use.
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