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Red Cross Says Tajikistan Has More Drug Addicts Than Estimated

A drug seizure in Tajikistan's Soghd province in August 2011A drug seizure in Tajikistan's Soghd province in August 2011
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A drug seizure in Tajikistan's Soghd province in August 2011
A drug seizure in Tajikistan's Soghd province in August 2011
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DUSHANBE -- A senior Red Cross official says he believes the number of drug addicts in Tajikistan is eight to 13 times the 8,000 that officials there claim, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Massimo Barra, chairman of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Standing Commission, said at the end of a five-day visit to Tajikistan that most influential UN agencies are similarly worried that the number of addicts in Tajikistan is far higher than the official estimate.

He put the number at between 60,000 and 100,000 people.

Mahmadrahim Malakhov, head of Tajikistan's narcotics center in Dushanbe, told RFE/RL that he agrees in principle with Barra. Malakhov said no one will come forward and admit to being an addict or that they are HIV-positive due to the stigma attached to it.

Malakhov said the proximity to Afghanistan, a huge global drug producer, and the availability of cheap heroin makes it difficult to fight drug addiction in Tajikistan.

Malakhov said the real number of drug addicts in Tajikistan could be five times higher than the official figure of 8,000.

Barra said Tajikistan's six drug-treatment centers could begin distributing methadone, which is used medically as an analgetic and substitute narcotic in treating heroin addiction.
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by: Tajik from: Earth
September 16, 2011 13:12
The operation of the The International Red Cross/Red Crescent in Tajikistan has diminished substantially in the past 15 years. The chairman of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Standing Commission's visit is certainly important, however, it would be of a greater significance and value should Dr. Barra base his findings on a credible research. To express an opinion based on one's belief could be far from an actual reality

The UN agencies such as the UNDP and UNODC are implementing projects on the issue however, they lack a centralized and well coordinated approach to tackle the problem. They know of a hidden truth that if they cooperate and function in consolidation, they stand to loose donor resources, as each of these agencies have their own respective funding sources and benefactors who would agree to fund certain mandates only.
This brings about a continued "battle" for funds within these UN agencies, which in turn impedes the progress and costs the people of Tajikistan in lost opportunities.

by: Hank from: US
September 27, 2011 01:50
It's a sad, but even Tajikistan will have methadone treatment available sooner than Russia.

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