These facts were revealed when conducting a cross-sectional questionnaire based on the methodology of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) among school students aged 15-16 years, which was implemented in Kyrgyzstan in 2017 by the EU-funded Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP Phase 6) with support of the AIDS Foundation East-West in Kyrgyzstan. The main objective of the ESPAD study was to obtain comparable data on the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, illicit drugs and other psychoactive substances among young people.
Data on drug use among school population – together with the data on drug use among the general population and indicators of problem drug use, drug-related infectious diseases, drug-related mortality, treatment of drug users – is a basis of epidemiological monitoring of the drug situation in the country as defined by the approach of 5 key indicators of European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The provision of reliable and accurate data is the key to enhancing social awareness on drugs and fostering evidence-based national decision making processes. Needs for adequate prevention campaigns and treatment services cannot be grasped without data.
In order to improve national capacities to build, maintain and further develop drug information networks, Component 2 of CADAP supports national working groups in collecting data from different ministries and compiling reports in line with EMCDDA standards. The accurate data provided by CADAP 6 and the established information networks is used by national authorities (decision and policy makers in Central Asia) to develop comprehensive national responses to the drug problem.
National partners have shown strong support and political will to fully embrace the European best practices, to exchange experiences with EU experts and to engage in a dialogue with other Central Asian countries. As a result, the general population and people who use drugs benefit from better treatment and prevention services offered by national authorities.