Heroin addiction on the rise in Uzbekistan

8 Uzbek therapists are to spend about a month in Portland, Oregon, New York City, and Washington, D.C., studying scientific detoxification methods, Uzbek First Deputy Health Minister Damin Asadov told a news conference on drug abuse prevention. The trip is designed to introduce the Uzbek doctors to the comprehensive US strategy for drug abuse prevention and HIV control, as well as the existing US systems for drug abuse monitoring and assessment. The number of drug addicts has grown four- to fivefold over the last few years, Asadov noted. He went on to say that, formerly, drug addicts normally did so-called 'soft drugs,' while starting from the mid-1990s, medics have seen a dramatic increase in heroin addiction. Now half the drug cases are addicted to heroin, Asadov said. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has sponsored the internship, has worked closely together with the Uzbek Health Ministry to draw up a new program designed to heighten public awareness of detoxification techniques.

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