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Some Eastern European, Central Asian Countries Working To Improve Harm Reduction Programs

“As former presidents, senior diplomats and experts meet in the Lithuanian capital to discuss a litany of rights abuses, lethal epidemics and social destruction caused by repressive drug policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, pockets of hope for drug reform are emerging across the region,” Inter Press Service reports. “Delegates at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Vilnius Jun. 9-12 … repeatedly heard how state drug policy across the region remains widely rooted in repression and criminalization, compounding public health problems and having no effect on reducing drug use,” the news service writes, adding, “But what also emerged from the conference was the success of harm reduction efforts in some countries and surprising reform plans in others.” IPS describes initiatives in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine that are working to expand harm reduction programs and reform laws that hinder their implementation (Stracansky, 6/11).