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Methadone should be banned: Kazakh MP 06 октября 2014, 18:30

A Member of the Kazakhstan Parliament demanded to urgently ban methadone from being used in Kazakhstan.
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Kazakhstan political party Ak Zhol has demanded a ban on methadone, which they call a “threat to the national security” of Kazakhstan. MP Meruert Kazbekova, member of Ak Zhol, addressed the Prime Minister at a plenary session of Mazhilis, the lower chamber of Parliament, Tengrinews reports.

Methadone therapy was launched as a pilot project in 2008 in Pavlodar and Temirtau. The experiment was aimed at testing the opioid replacement therapy in helping to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Central Asian country. The therapy has generated controversy in various countries including Kazakhstan.

The MP said that the pilot project showed negative results in 2011. An independent commission submitted their report to the Kazakh Ministry of Health concluding that methadone was both ineffective and dangerous for treating drug addicts. “For unclear reasons the test results have been concealed. Now methadone lobbyists are attempting to put it on the list of essential drugs in order to get funding from the state budget within the guaranteed volume of free medical care, that is, at the expense of the taxpayers," she said.

She claimed that the use of methadone was only transitioning the drug user to a harder drug with more disastrous consequences. She cited that Russia banned methadone and Kyrgyzstan refused to build a methodone production plant “promoted by methadone lobbyists”. In addition, another Central Asian country, Uzbekistan stopped its pilot project giving the remaining drugs to Kazakhstan “in the form of charitable assistance, as humanitarian aid”.

MP Kazbekova said that “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) developed a document through the National Center for Prevention and Control of AIDS – on access of opioid substitution therapy in Kazakhstan in 2010-2014”.

She added that those who developed the document, including UNODC representatives, “prudently do not assume any responsibility for the implementation of methadone in our country, placing it on those who will be actually putting the project into practice, and noting that a delay in delivery of methadone dozes by even one day threats the country with socio-political unrest”.

The deputy reminded that the government was supposed to persecute production, manufacture, distribution, sale, transit, import and export of narcotic substances.

She concluded that all of the above suggested a definite “threat to the national security” of Kazakhstan and called to take urgent measures, ban methadone from being used on the territory of Kazakhstan and include it in the list of substances prohibited from being used for medical purposes.

Reporting by Assemgul Kassenova, writing by Dinara Urazova

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