Kyrgyzstan can face methodone shortage

Alexander Tokmakov, Deutsche Welle

The methodone program is under verge of collapse in Kyrgyzstan. Methodone is a replacement therapy for drug addicts. Shortage of methodone can make as many as 900 people to turn to drugs again.

The reserve of methodone, synthetic narcotics which is legally sold to drug addicts to avoid injection use, is going to exhaust. It can make participants of methodone program to turn to drugs again.

The program on substitution therapy with methadone in Kyrgyzstan has been introduced in 2003. Now it involves about 900 drug-dependent persons. In addition, since last year under a pilot project methadone is sold to prisoners in correctional colonies.

Methodone program has caused disputes on numerous occasions

Methodone program has caused disputes on numerous occasions in the country. Opponents say that methadone is not a lesser evil than heroin, it is also addictive and it does not treat. In addition, methadone is bought by foreign donors, particularly the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. This raises the question of what will happen to patients if methadone delivery to the Republic is suspended.

The Kyrgyz doctors seem to have encountered the first such problem. Another consignment of methadone was not delivered in time. The reserves are running out. Deputy Director of the National Center on Addiction Tatiana Borisova said that "some kind of trouble occurred from the Global Fund, so that all questions to them." The country still has methadone.

The reserves of the medicine will run out soon

Meanwhile, according to the source of DW in the Ministry of Health, the current stock of methadone will exhaust in next few days. The doses issued to patients were reduced by more than two times, but this is not enough.

With regard to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, the organization is also not willing to take responsibility for the situation. Head of Mission of the Kyrgyz Foundation Sagynaly Mamatov in an interview with DW correspondent said that they hold tender commercial companies for the purchase of methadone in time and money was allocated in time, but there were some difficulties with documents. Mamatov accused Republican Center on Addiction, saying, "the center informed too late that methadone is about to end."

Agency for Narcotics Control gives explanation

Agency for Narcotics Control also says that they did not create any obstacles. Chief of the Legal Narcotics Agency Timur Isakov said a private firm Yunihelp won a tender for the procurement of methadone and the company was to bring the medicine from the Netherlands. "The Agency, for its part, has given permission to import 9.5 kilograms of methadone in worth $10, 000," Timur Isakov said.

He said Yunihelp sent all the papers in the Netherlands, but these documents are returned to be translated into English. "This work is underway, the delay occurs due to the correspondence, Isakov said

On April 15, the Health Ministry also sent to the Agency for Narcotics Control request for an increase in quotas on procurement of methadone up to 30 kilograms and to expand the program and the Agency has approved the new quota.

Participants of methodone program can turn to drugs again

Thus, none of the Kyrgyz organizations involved in the methadone program is unwilling to be responsible for delaying the supply of the drug. Whoever is be to blamed, when methadone completely finished, and it is not deliver in time, many participants of this program will turn to drugs again. It can lead to an increase in crime, because people will have to buy from somewhere and they will need money.

Deputy Director of the Center on Addiction Tatiana Borisova also said methadone is already a matter of life and death for some drug addicts.

"This is a unique treatment, they drink methadone under the supervision of a doctor, we pour them with doses of approximately the same as they were taking heroin so that they will have no breaking," Tatyana Borisova said. Methadone relieves breaking, but does not cause euphoria. Some of our patients say that without the methadone they will die, she said.

She said the methadone program was success in Kyrgyzstan. Drug addicts are returning to normal life and find a job. National Center on Addiction advocates that the program is continued.

Opinions expressed in this article may be different of those held by Trend

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