In April 27 the chief doctor of the Kyiv Clinical Narcological Hospital "Sociotherapy", Volodymyr Yaryi, and the director of the Ukranian Monitoring and Medical Center on Drugs and Alcohol, Serhii Shum, visited the Republican Narcological Center of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Prison #31 to study the practice of Opiates Substitution Therapy (OST) applied in Kyrgyzstan. The visit was organized in connection to their participation in Paris Pact Experts Working Group (PPI EWG) on Drug Prevention and Treatment, held in Bishkek in 25-26 April, in frames of the Project ‘EU-ACT: EU Action against Drugs and Organised Crime’ for 2018.
Opiates Substitution with Methadone is a Therapy used to reduce and/or eliminate the use of illegal opiates, the criminality associated with opiate use, and allows patients to improve their health and social productivity. Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries successfully practicing OST in hospitals and prisons since 2006 with support of international donor organizations.
Ukraine has been applying OST previously in hospitals and currently is on the verge of covering penitentiary system. The visiting experts were interested in complexities of OST in prisons, in particular, the direct link between anti-drug policy and corruption in prison system, illicit turnover of drugs in prisons, possible resistance from police or prison officials to OST, the influence of prison subculture to OST, security measures, etc.
Kyrgyz officials shared with their best practice on treatment of drug users by OST and 15 stage Rehabilitation Programme called Atlantis. For the last years Kyrgyzstan achieved tangible results in penitentiary healthcare and rehabilitation thanks to projects implemented in pilot sites with support of international organizations. Particularly, for the last years statistics show the decrease of prisoners refusing from drug treatment, decrease of overdose caused deaths, high indicators in treatment of TBC in prisons and introduction of such practices like: "pure zone", "sterile zone", "syringe exchange points", comprehensive medical service within prisons in compliance with all international standards and human rights.