Russian drug czar says methadone treatment is possible

The head of the Russian government delegation stated that methadone treatment is not effective - but there is a possibility to do that in Russia
The delegation of the Russian government to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) held a press conference on March 9 in Vienna. HCLU’s video team was there to film and ask a few inconvenient questions from Mr. Viktor Ivanov, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service. We asked him what is the Russian position on opiate substitution treatment (OST) that proved to be effective to reduce the demand for illegal heroin and the risks of infections. Mr. Ivanov answered that according to narcotic experts in Russia there is no evidence that OST works, in addition, in those former Soviet countries that introduced methadone treatment the experiment have shown to be a failure. The detoxification in narcotic clinics is more effective than methadone treatment, he stated (read the report on drug treatment in Russia published by the Human Rights Watch). He also mentioned that they have the same position as the US government to oppose OST (that’s not correct of course). Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the out going executive director of the UNODC also showed up at the press event and he was shaking his head when Mr. Ivanov said OST is not effective and soon he left the room.
On Wednesday morning the Vienna NGO Committee organized an Open Dialogue with Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, where we had a opportunity to ask him to comment on what Mr. Ivanov said. The UN drug czar expressed his disagreement with the Russian drug czar with regard to the effectiveness of methadone. However, he emphasized the importance of the statement of Mr. Ivanov made on the possibility of set up OST programs in the regional level.