Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice
Русский Russian drug policy is inhumane and discriminatory

On June 26, on the International Day Against Drugs, leading Russian news portal published a summary of the report “ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE” – Shadow Report to the UN Committee against Torture in relation to the review of the Fifth Periodic Report of the Russian Federation” (2011, jointly prepared by ARF, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and EHRN). You can read the full text of the report here.

The summary focuses on the report’s main findings: that the Russian drug policy is inhumane and discriminatory towards drug dependent persons; and that rather than reduce drug use and introduce alternative therapies, the authorities intimidate and humiliate drug dependent persons through law enforcement activities.

The article also presents the following statistics: in Russia’s largest cities, one in three court sentences is drug-related. Also, according to the Federal Drug Control Agency (FSKN), in 2005-2011 the number of people incarcerated for drug use-related offences increased twofold . notes that this tendency is especially alarming, considering that overall in 10 years the number of prisoners in Russia decreased from one million to approximately 600,000 people.

FSKN failed to comment on the report, but Chief Narcologist of the Ministry of Health Evgeny Bryun voiced his disagreement with the report’s findings, effectively accusing Western countries of failing to provide quality care to disenfranchised drug users: “We cannot afford to distribute drugs among drug users. Outside Russia substitution therapy is largely a forced measure. By doing that, they are trying to help marginalized homeless addicts who have no choice: nobody can pay for their treatment, including themselves. On the contrary, our aim is not to support life, but to treat [drug dependence].” notes that Bryun has nothing against the use of psychotropic substances in drug treatment. He thinks such methods are fully justified, considering that drug dependence is often accompanied by psychic disorders.

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