Andrey Rylkov Foundation
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Report on the course of implementation by the Russian Federation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.

General information:

The Political Declaration[1] (hereinafter: 2009 Political Declaration) and Plan of Action (hereinafter: Plan of Action) on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, adopted at the 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, calls on the Member States to submit reports on the results of the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration every two years to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

This report was prepared by members of the Public Mechanism for Monitoring Drug Policy Reform in the Russian Federation (hereafter, Public Monitoring Mechanism), together with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. The Public Monitoring Mechanism was established in December 2010 and is comprised of representatives of non-governmental organizations, representatives of people who use drugs, public health specialists, and independent Russian experts in the field of drug demand reduction, and receives technical support of representatives of the UNODC and UNAIDS in Moscow. The functions of the Secretariat of the Public Monitoring Mechanism are carried out by a Moscow-based non-governmental organization — The Andrei Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice.

Executive Summary

This report reviles the defects of Russia in implementing the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, especially in the area of drug demand reduction and health protection.

Two political documents that set the course for drug demand reduction have been adopted in the Russian Federation since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration: the State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation in the Period until 2020 (affirmed by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 9 June 2010) and the Plan for the Implementation of the State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020 (affirmed by the decision of the State Anti-Drug Committee of the Russian Federation dated 24 September 2010). Both documents overemphasise drug control at the expense of drug demand reduction and measures to reduce health-related harms of drugs. Despite the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the international treaties of the Russian Federation on the right to health, private life, physical integrity, freedom of speech, freedom from arbitrary deprivation of liberty, freedom from ill-treatment and punishment and other human rights and fundamental freedoms, the current Russian approach to drug demand reduction provides for:

  • Further reinforcement of the official position of the Russian authorities which are “categorically against opioid substitution treatment”[2] and consider harm reduction programs as “ineffective”[3] and equal to drug propaganda, leaving no hope that the Government would fulfil its obligation under the 2009 Political Declaration to “strengthen efforts aimed at reducing the adverse consequences of drug abuse… taking into consideration not only the prevention of related infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis, but also all other health consequences, such as overdose” as well as develop “a comprehensive treatment system offering a wide range of integrated pharmacological (such as detoxification and opioid agonist and antagonist maintenance)… interventions based on scientific evidence and focused on the process of rehabilitation, recovery and social reintegration”[4].
  • Restricts the free exchange of objective health-related information on drug dependency treatment and harm reduction and further isolates civil societies and the affected communities from the processes of decision-making on drug policy issues.
  • Declares a zero tolerance and punitive approach to drug use, reinforcing stigma and discrimination of people who use drugs.

In order to fulfil the drug demand reduction provisions of the 2009 Political Declaration, in the very near future the Russian Federation should:

  1. Remove legal barriers and initiate the widespread provision of opioid substitution therapy with the use of methadone and buprenorphine, in accordance with the guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO)[5]. Immediate access to substitution therapy should also be provided in tuberculosis hospitals and AIDS-centres as well in facilities serving pregnant women dependent on opioids;
  2. Remove legal barriers and provide financial and technical support to harm reduction programs, including needle and syringe programmes, in accordance with the targets recommended by WHO, UNAIDS and UNODC[6];
  3. Provide training to medical and social workers, law enforcement officers and judges, on protection of drug users from stigma and discrimination, ill-treatment and observing their right to health and other human rights;
  4. Provide to law-enforcement agencies and agencies of the criminal justice system clear instructions not to apply the drug propaganda laws in cases associated with the distribution of information and materials, aimed at preventing HIV, other diseases among injecting drug users (IDUs), overdose prevention and reducing other drug related harms to health.
  5. End disproportionate criminal prosecution and harsh punishment, especially incarceration, for the possession of narcotic and psychotropic substances without the intent to sell. End punishment, especially with incarceration for the consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
  6. Ensure meaningful participation of representatives of the civil society, including people who use drugs, in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug demand reduction programmes.

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Methodology:

The current report is based on expert analysis of the “State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation in the Period until 2020″[7] (hereinafter: Anti-Drug Strategy or Strategy), approved on 9 June 2010 by the President of the Russian Federation, and the “Plan for the Implementation of the State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020″ [8] (hereinafter: Plan of Implementation) approved by the State Anti-Drug Committee of the Russian Federation on 24 September 2010. These documents were analyzed with regards to their alignment with the drug demand reduction related provisions of the 2009 Political Declaration. Additional materials analyzed include official statistical data from the Governmental bodies of the Russian Federation, the UN agencies as well as information from reports, research reports, interviews with drug users and other grey literature provided by non-governmental organizations.

You may find the full text of the report here: Report on the course of implementation by the Russian Federation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.


[1] Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem

http://www.unodc.org/documents/commissions/CND-Uploads/CND-52-RelatedFiles/V0984963-English.pdf

[2] “Minister of Health had a meeting with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights”: press release of the Ministry of Health, 16 February 2011. on-line: http://www.minzdravsoc.ru/health/med-service/142

[3] Statement of the Minister of Health during the meeting with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on 16th February 2011. Press release of the Ministry of Health.

[4] Part I, Paragraph 2 of the Plan of Action, “Comprehensive approach to drug demand reduction”. Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. Adopted at 52nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, March 2009.

[5] Guidelines for the Psychosocially Assisted Pharmacological Treatment of Opioid Dependence, WHO. 2009

[6] WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS Technical Guide for Countries to Set Targets for Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care for Injecting Drug Users (World Health Organization, Geneva, 2009). http://www.unodc.org/documents/hiv-aids/idu_target_setting_guide.pdf

[7] State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation in the Period until 2020http://graph.document.kremlin.ru/page.aspx?1;1285491

[8] Plan for the Implementation of the State Anti-Drug Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020. http://stratgap.ru/pages/strategy/3662/3887/4548/4580/index.shtml



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