Study on the Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Use Situation and Services for People who Use Drugs in Central Asia

UNODC Mentor in collaboration with colleagues from Coordination and Analysis Unit of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia conducted a rapid assessment in four countries of Central Asia. The main goal of the brief research was to study the impact of restrictive measures imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic on the situation with drug use and provision of drug dependence treatment and services to reduce the negative health and social consequences as well as assist UNODC, donors, organizers and service providers in better adapting to the new situation.

Methodology of the rapid assessment consisted of collection and analysis of existing information from official sources, open data, media, Internet resources and conducting survey among the key respondent staff of respective services, as well as individuals from the community of people who use drugs (PWUD).

46 respondents representing drug treatment facilities (63%), CSOs (24%) and NGOs (13%) participated in the survey. Respondents share by county was Kazakhstan (43%), Uzbekistan (41%), Tajikistan (9%) and Kyrgyzstan (7%).

Assessment findings by country contained information on situation with drug use, availability, price and purity of drugs, access to services and country needs. Based on the analysis of the country data regional trends were also identified.

The results of the rapid assessment were presented during on-line webinar organized on 25 June 2020 to discuss the UNODC global research brief on “COVID-19 and drug supply chain: from production and trafficking to use”. More than 100 participants representing various government agencies, including drug control, law enforcement, customs and border protection and public health institutions as well as civil society organization from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in the webinar. Representatives of the international organizations and donors as well as Mini Dublin Group members have also joined the on-line meeting.