Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Coordination meeting of chief drug treatment professionals of  the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states

6-7 July 2017, Minsk, Belarus 

On 6-7 July 2017, a coordination meeting of chief drug treatment professionals of the CSTO member states in Minsk, Republic of Belarus was organized. Representatives of the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (RP) were invited to attend the meeting to discuss further cooperation between UNODC and CSTO on drug demand reduction issues.  

The meeting was opened by a representative of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, welcoming all the participants of the meeting and expressing gratitude to CSTO, the representatives of member-states and UNODC. Mr. Ivan Konorazov, Chief Drug treatment specialist and Mr. Yevgeniy Brun, Chief Drug treatment specialist from Russia addressed the inaugural session.  This was followed by technical presentations on drug use treatment and prevention by the Director of the Moscow Drug Treatment Centre And the chiefs of drug treatment centres from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Russia. The presenters provided an overview on the drug situation, drug prevention and treatment in their respective countries, with the session followed by a questions and answers phase. The UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator for Sub-Programme 3 on drug demand reduction gave a presentation on the achievements for 2016 emphasizing the need of more collaboration between UNODC and CSTO in the areas of joint study/research, study missions, and training sessions. 

On the same day, a visit was organized to the National Anti-Doping Laboratory which was founded in 2007. The laboratory is equipped with sophisticated laboratory equipment and well trained staff and undertakes anti-doping analysis of blood and urine samples in compliance with international anti-doping rules and guidelines.

On 7 July 2017, a visit to the Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) site located in the suburbs of Minsk was organized. The OST programme in Belarus started in 2007 as a pilot project with a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Today, the programme has grown to 19 sites across the country providing OST to nearly 900 opiate drug users. Now, the harm reduction programme in Belarus is completely funded by the state.

Also, the participants of the meeting visited the drug use rehabilitation centre in Minsk where the drug users receive evidence based drug treatment including peer counselling, meditation and psychotherapy.

By the end of the meeting, a draft list of additional measures for demand reduction among CSTO member states were distributed for review and consideration. Also, areas of possible cooperation between the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries and CSTO were discussed. It was agreed that the RP Sub-Programme 3 will organize a study mission of drug treatment professionals from the RP countries to the drug treatment and OST centers of excellence in Minsk, provided the RP secures additional financial resources.