Controversial anti-drug programme to be introduced in Kyrghyzstan

Kyrghyz physicians are poised to venture a risky experiment, launching a so-called “methadone programme” in this central-Asian republic. This method, designed to alleviate the negative effect of injecting opium and heroin, has long been used in some developed countries (the US, the Netherlands). This method means that a drug addict, instead of “heavy” medicine, takes methadone pills. Although methadone also causes some kind of euphoria, this excludes using a syringe and gives hope for a drug addict to somehow get socially adapted. At least, this view is being upheld by Boris Shapiro, director general of the republic’s Anti-AIDS programme. The “methadone programme” is believed to be necessitated by the worsening situation with drug addiction in this former Soviet republic. According to official statistics, there were 3.9 drug addicts per 100,000 of the republic’s population in 1991, the drug addicts being virtually uninfected with AIDS. By these days, the situation is, 30 times as worse, as the minimum. One of the main reasons is the fact that Kyrghyzstan is located on the main route of drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Russian and the West Europe, experts say. Still, many experts oppose the methadone programme. They fear that, under the Kyrghyz conditions, even if a partial legalization of methadone will facilitate youth’s access to this ambiguous potion.


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