Treatment for Psychostimulants and for Co-Morbid Psychiatric and Medical Disorders are Discussed by Experts from the Central Asian States

Drug dependent patients are at high risk of health problems, poverty, violence, criminal behavior, and social exclusion. Personality, affective and other psychiatric disorders prevail among this category of patients and worsen their recovery. Taking into account the burden on health, social and legal systems, the comorbidity of drug use and mental disorders leads to high costs for society. Furthermore, there is a new emergence of synthetic stimulants and their use has risen globally, especially in Asia but there are also growing concerns in North America and parts of Europe. These two matters were put at the centre of discussions during the regional training organized by UNODC in cooperation with the Government of Uzbekistan.

On 4-8 November 2019, 24 specialists from the drug treatment centres, narcology clinics and institutions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, participated in the Regional Training on introduction of the protocols on treatment for psychostimulants and for co-morbid psychiatric and medical disorders organized by  UNODC global project on "Treating drug dependence and its health consequences: Treatnet" in collaboration with Sub-programme 3 "Prevention, treatment and rehabilitation and HIV prevention" of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia.

"We hope that, based on the gained knowledge, participants will be able to develop effective national protocols on treatment psychostimulant use disorders, as well as on treatment of co-morbid mental and medical disorders." - noted Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia.

"It is being recognized that the psychiatric disorders caused by drug use is a major challenge to public health responses. The use of psychostimulants remains to be a problem in many countries of the world, as along with cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, new synthetic stimulants appear.

However, there is no specific therapeutic intervention to treat stimulant dependence. Despite the fact that science and clinical practice have shown progress in the development of psychosocial treatment of dependence on stimulants, many patients need complex treatment, including pharmacotherapy. This regional training is intended to highlight the above-mentioned pressing problems." - said Mr. Farrukh Sharipov, Head of the Main Directorate on Providing Prevention and Treatment Services of the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

During first two days, the participants were discussing important issues related to the diagnostic challenges on treatment of drug use disorders (DUDs) in patients affected by mental disorders and other medical conditions related to infectious diseases, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, and pain. And on 6-8 November 2019, they were increasing the knowledge about the specific effects and the health and social consequences associated with use of different psychostimulants.

"Often, we do not have medication to treat stimulant addictions. But we have a lot of medicines to treat psychiatric disorders. And if you diagnose it, you have a medical treatment which brings the patient into the medical setting where you can treat other conditions. It engages patient in treatment. And we know that treating psychiatric disorders also can help the patients to benefit from psychosocial treatments and use skills to be abstinent from substances." - Mr. Adam Bisaga, UNODC International Trainer, Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Strengthening prevention and treatment for people with DUDs is an essential demand reduction strategy of significant public health importance, which is a cornerstone of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) outcome document, and has been specifically set as Target 3.5 of Goal 3" Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages", under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

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