Start tackling those who push illegal drugs


Representatives of Ukrainian and international NGOs are calling on the authorities responsible for policy on narcotic substances to demonstrate greater transparency and openness.

This was expressed in a resolution passed at a roundtable held on Wednesday. According to one of its organizers, Pavlo Skala from the International Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, the event was intended to mark 14 years since the three main laws on regulating narcotic substances were passed.  The participants commented that the narcotics policy in 14 years had not led to any fundamental improvement in the situation with the number of addicts constantly rising. According to the International Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, the number of injecting dug users stands at 402 thousand.

“Drug crime has turned into an organised drug business which is more and more often controlled by corrupt officials and law enforcement officers. Yet for some reason it is the addicts and not those involved in organized drug crime who the law enforcement agencies and penal system focus on,”, Pavlo Scala commented.

At the same time the participants did note certain positive moves in 2008 with the removal at legislative level of monopoly over the sale of drugs, the adoption of a harm reduction policy and introduction of methadone treatment in the majority of regions of the country, etc.

Less positively, they pointed out that availability of medicinal drugs for patients needing painkillers, palliative, substitute or hospice assistance remains one of the lowest in Europe, with this being made extremely complicated through numerous normative obstructions which are a hangover from Soviet times.

They stressed the need for greater transparency and involvement in the formation and implementation of policy by representatives of civic society from among experts, groups of drug addicts and their families.

They also recommended that the competent bodies take into consideration the demands and conclusions of their resolution in the directives of the Ukrainian delegation which in March will take part in the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic substances.

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