Until 2020, the Ministry of Health supplied rapid drug detection tests in the body, such as tests for Opiates and Methadone. These tools have served as biological instruments for assessing the drug status in the body and treating substance users, especially for individuals undergoing methadone maintenance treatment programs. These tests were also sold in pharmaceutical depots in Kosovo.
In 2021, the Ministry of Health discontinued the supply of rapid tests.
According to the organization Labyrinth, which is the only licensed organization in Kosovo to provide services for children and adults who use narcotics, the discontinuation of rapid tests has directly impacted the reduction of cases for treatment and has hindered the therapeutic progress of clients. Many of them are forced to seek help outside the country.
Children and adult drug users cannot begin treatment without undergoing a rapid test, which is used for diagnosing drugs in the body.
All European countries allow the use of rapid tests for detecting drugs in the body. These tests are easily accessible, they can be purchased at pharmacies and used at home, as well as administered by organizations or institutions that treat clients with rehabilitation programs.
Therefore, KOMF considers that the Ministry of Health should urgently review this issue and make it possible to supply rapid drug detection tests so that children and adult drug users can have proper access to treatment services in Kosovo.
The average age for individuals to start using drugs is 16 years old! In recent years, the total number of users has surpassed 30,000 for the first time, while children and adolescent users continue to make up an increasing portion of this figure each year.