Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice

Moscow Harm Reduction Project Annual Anti-Report 2014 “Contrary to…”


We used to write annual reports in a utilitarian fashion. They were dull and dry, with figures and tables. It was like torture because for most people, writing reports and reading them causes a strong internal resistance and mental suffering. This year we decided to surrender to the pain of writing an annual report and to try to write our report so that it is fun to write, and of course, to read. 

The report is written by Max Malyshev – the coordinator of ARF outreach work.


Moscow is a metropolis with a population of about 12.5 million which includes people who suffer from drug dependence. Moscow’s capital city status attracts a lot of people looking for a better life; some of them are drug users. It’s hard to say how many people with drug dependency live in the capital. Treatment clinics provide statistics for those who are registered as drug users and those who have contacted drug treatment specialists in public clinics. In 2013, there were about 30,000 such people in Moscow. But this figure does not reflect the true number of drug dependent people, because few of them reach drug treatment clinics due to the possibility of ending up on the registry which restricts the users’ rights and stigmatizes them for life. Few are willing to register as drug users. Also, there are statistics provided by the head of the Federal Drug Control Service, General Ivanov. But these statistics vary depending on the conditions and on the desire for increased funding. As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and this truth says there’s a need for social work with drug users.

One of the first and most important steps in social work with drug users is work on the streets. Street social work with the drug user community is necessary because it is proven to reduce the risks of HIV and hepatitis infections, the negative consequences of drug use for individuals and society at large. It is about preventing overdoses and preserving human lives; about reducing the risks and consequences of post-injection complications; about recovering lost social connections and about many other things that are useful for society. It should be noted that this work primarily helps make society safer and significantly reduce the financial burden on government agencies such as the AIDS Centers, infectious clinics and other clinics. Street social work helps preserve the lives and health of drug dependent people and provides additional opportunities and incentives for reintegration into society.

Andrey Rylkov Foundation has existed since 2009. Our mission is to promote and develop humane drug policy based on tolerance, protection of health, dignity and human rights. The Foundation contacts the community of drug users and engages in social work with them directly where they are – on the streets. Andrey Rylkov Foundation is the only community based organization that goes to the streets for “horizontal” social work, preventing HIV / hepatitis and overdoses and doing many more things that can and should be done to make our city and society healthier and cleaner and to reduce social tensions. We present to your attention the results of our work in 2014 that we achieved despite many obstacles and difficulties.

Here are some highlights from the report in figures:

– Total number of contacts: 2,376 Incl. contacts with women: 624

– First-time contacts: 982 First-time contacts with women: 253

– Distributed syringes: 70,970 Needles: 10,243

– Condoms: 3,369

– Distributed naloxone: 2,062

At least Two Hundred Twenty Three Lives Saved with Naloxone!

– HIV tests / of them positive: 35 / 14

– Hepatitis tests / of them positive: 20 / 15

– Advice on drug treatment: 117

– Advice on HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment: 77

– Advice on post-injection complications: 231

– Advice on overdose prevention: 294

In the report you will read about our exciting project Street Lawyers – bringing legal aid to the streets of Moscow and about our newspaper for drug users “Shlyapa i Bayan”, about our great team and community work and actions to clean the streets of Moscow from syringes. You will also learn about our new initiative of helping the families of drug users to take care of their kids – organizing events and celebrations for them. We hope you will be glad that despite financial difficulties last year, our work continues and expands, to the new people and new areas !


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