National Policies in Drug Demand Reduction

How to prevent young people from using new psychoactive substances? Do UN conventions allow providing methadone therapy in prisons? Is mandatory drug dependence treatment effective? - these were some of the questions that policy makers discussed during UNODC workshop in Astana (13-15 October 2015).

This was the first time, when 3-days training on drug use prevention, treatment of drug use disorders and harm reduction was organised for people representing non-health sectors. The workshop was attended by high-level policy makers from drug control agencies, penitentiary departments, criminal justice and health sectors as well as civil society representatives from all Central Asia countries.

Dr. Gulnur Kulkayeva, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee for Control of Medical and Pharmaceutical Activities of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted in her opening remarks that many decision makers do not have sufficient information about evidenced informed treatment of drug use disorders. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about effective and balanced drug demand reduction policies that will ensure that drug dependent people receive the necessary health and social services.

The participants increased their skills to draft, negotiate, advocate and support drug policies which are in line with the International drug Conventions as they relate to protecting the life of people affected by substance use disorders whilst ensuring safety and security of the population. The workshop facilitated exchange of knowledge of key demand reduction issues, as well as raised awareness for the need to address drug related issues using a comprehensive, scientific and human based approach. It was conducted within the framework of UNODC project "Treating drug dependence and its health consequences: Treatnet II".