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TalkingDrugs News from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region [September-October 2021]

  1. On October 15, in Orenburg, Russia, FSB officers came to the home of two human rights activists – the head of the ANO “Everyone’s Right” Aidana Fedosik and her colleague Svetlana Arshavskaya. The city district court allowed security forces to conduct an inspection of the premises. According to operational information, Fedosik could be involved in the distribution of narcotic drugs, and Arshavskaya was suspected of having information about the allegedly illegal activities of a colleague. Of course, no drugs were found. This was an attempt to intimidate and put pressure on human rights defenders in connection with their professional activities – protecting the rights of people who use drugs, HIV prevention, helping prisoners. Watch a video about the chronology of these events at the link (Rus). Read also the material from Mediazona (Rus).
  2. Ukraine: Over the past four years, more than 83% of those convicted of “drugs” have received a conviction specifically for illegal possession without the purpose of sale under Art. 309 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In 2020 – 8,500 people, or every eighth of all 67.5 thousand convicted in Ukraine (2019 – 8,000 people, or every ninth of 70.3 thousand convicted). The data was published in the newspaper “Motylek” and is available at the link (Rus).
  3. The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association presented a new magazine “Check” for people who use drugs, activists and experts about various problems occurring in the EECA region. The first issue of the journal on new psychoactive substances can be viewed here (Rus).
  4. Lithuania is getting closer to abolishing criminal liability for possession of psychoactive substances without the purpose of sale. On October 14, the Lithuanian Parliament approved amendments to the law proposing to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of controlled substances. 65 members of the Seimas voted for the amendments, 40 voted against, and 4 abstained. Another vote must be held for the changes to take effect. Source (English).
  5. The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association presented a regional report on the use of NPS in the EECA region. The report analyzes the motives for using NPS, as well as the health risks, and offers recommendations for effective harm reduction. The report is available at the link (Rus).
  6. Moldova: Report on the quality of harm reduction services in the country, available at the link (Rus).
  7. Russia: RIA Novosti material about how Russian teenagers are increasingly being sent to prison for “bookmarks”. The material is available on the website of the publication RIA (Rus). A study on how many minors Russian courts sent to prison on drug charges was prepared by the Hand-Help.ru Foundation. Read the details in the material of “Novaya Gazeta” (Rus).
  8. Ivan Antoshkin. Survivor. A video from the DUNews studio telling the story of a Russian activist who is fighting the state for the right to receive substitution therapy is available at the link (Rus).
  9. Documentary film about the consequences of repressive drug policy in Ukraine. See expert comments and stories of people who use drugs via the link (Ukr and Rus).
  10. What is the correct way to say “marijuana” or “cannabis”? Read the study conducted by activists from Legalize Belarus here (Rus).


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