HCLU: Methadone breaking the ice

HCLU’s video advocacy team attended a press conference organized by the Russian delegation in Vienna at the  Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), where the representatives of the world's governments discussed the burning questions of international drug control policies.

We asked Mr. Viktor Ivanov, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service, the largest anti-drug agency in the world, to explain why his country does not tackle the demand side problems present in Russia with evidence based interventions, such as Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST). Mr. Ivanov’s answer was partly disappointing. He said there is no evidence that methadone treatment works and in those former Soviet countries where OST was introduced it proved to be a failure. However, he also said that there is a possibility to experiment with methadone in the regional level. When on the next day we asked Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN agency on drugs (UNODC) to comment, he expressed his disagreement with Mr. Ivanov concerning the effectiveness of OST. He emphasized that despite his general disapproval of OST Mr. Ivanov said there is a possibility to introduce methadone programs in the regional level.