Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice

Injection-related disorders among Moscow street drug users

Our medical consultant Sonia Fedorova participated in the Lisbon Addictions conference (the First European conference on addictive behaviours and dependencies) that was held in Lisbon (Portugal) on 23–25 September 2015. It was a multi-disciplinary event showcasing European addiction research in the areas of illicit drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and other addictive behaviours.

Sonia presented a poster that was a result of her work in harm reduction as an ARF outreach worker and a medical consultant. For nearly two years she had been making anonymous medical consultations on streets aimed to educate drug users appropriate wound management and ways of prevention potential injected-related complications. In case of need she organized for participants of our harm reduction project the anonymous consultations with friendly surgeons and also ensured that in emergency cases the ambulance was called and medical help was provided. As a result Sonia attempted to examine the prevalence and structure of injection-related complications.

In her presentation she tried to demonstrate the situation with skin and vein disorders among Moscow street drug users and to summarize her work. Unfortunately there is nothing to be proud of. The prevalence of injection-related disorders is utterly high. In most cases they are large multiple ulcers with severe complications. Despite of the typical stereotype the compliance was rather high but most of the participants could not get qualified medical help due to different barriers, stigma and criminalization of drug use. Fear was the main reason why most of them did not seek for help until emergency. And even then some of them were rejected for hospitalization.


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