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Drug policy in Central Asia (CA) is still mainly focused on a supply reduction approach; it is mostly seen as a national security issue, instead of a public health matter; therefore, coordination mechanisms primarily rely on the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and state drug control agencies. Considering the importance of a balanced approach to drug supply and demand reduction, and in harmony with current, post-UNGASS developments, there is a window of opportunity within the framework of CADAP 7 to support CA governments in aligning their policies with principles that protect human rights, enable development and ensure rights-based treatment and support.


The common attitude of the general population in the CA countries is supporting the traditional approach of a ‘drug free society’. In the CA region there is a highly complex and challenging drug policy environment. International evidence-based standards are not yet being fully applied for different reasons, such as lack of information on the existing standards, lack of institutional capacity and/or resources to implement them or they might not even been identified as appropriate standards.


Considering that the EU best practices cannot be implemented without identifying their relevance, feasibility, adequacy and sustainability, technical assistance provided at expert level becomes an effective strategy while working with governments on advocating to amend legal frameworks to fit international standards that have demonstrated to have a positive effect on people’s and public health and safety.


That being said, it has to be acknowledged that with EU assistance, CA has adopted more coherent and balanced drug policies.

The EU and CA have worked together to adopt more coherent and balanced drug policies; for example, CA states, have committed to integrate specific drug demand reduction strategies and programmes into their national plans.

Although the national authorities of CA have prepared the annual drug reports and country situation summaries in line with International evidence-based standards, there is still work to be done considering the legal gaps in the countries’ national legislations that do not allow them to comply with the requirements of UN Drug Control Conventions.

Considering the multifactorial nature of the world drug situation and the multidisciplinary approach required to address drug policy, global experience have demonstrated different avenues to advance in these policies: a tailored advocacy strategy using a regional approach where all the necessary stakeholders and professionals are involved to reach national consensus on effectiveness. There is a clear increased interest in the region on sharing experiences and assessing results of policy interventions with European partners. These insights justify a targeted efforts focusing on strategic and programmatic interventions to show results that will pave the way to rewrite strategies, laws and regulations.

Despite the difficult context, it can be stated that CADAP has been the main driving instrument to facilitate technical assistance leading to policymaking and programmatic developments in CA by mainstreaming and advocating for EU practices through regional and national discussions.


Considering significant political changes have happened and evolved since the ending the previous phase of CADAP, CADAP 7 focuses on assessing the best approach to build upon the current political situation and government structures; it keeps on encouraging cooperation between all relevant stakeholders and promoting the notion that the multifactorial nature of the drug situation, require a multisectoral and multidisciplinary balanced strategy.


For example, through a process of assessment, discussion and dialogue followed by cautious planning, all activities planned in the programme have a tailored approach to the countries’ specific needs. These approaches are based on a proven effective models and strategies that are adapted to the countries’ specific needs and requests with the objective of building national progress.

The approach will be similar in all countries: assessment, discussion and dialogue, followed by plans and roadmaps on how to build on national progress.

They will be detailed in the inception phase after the assessment missions and discussions with the national key stakeholders, in order to include input on the countries’ current needs.