TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [February 2019]
Olga Belyaeva, coordinator of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EAPA) community. Photo: Facebook
1. The article “Punitive Rehabilitation” by Aleksandr Delphinov, published on Russian web-portal “Batenka” (Rus) touches upon the roots of stigma towards people who use drugs in modern Russian rehabilitation centres, which treat people as animals while pushing towards their complete sobriety. The article is a part of thematic series entitled “The Heroin”.
2. A new documentary has been released by DUNews, focusing on the history of drug policy reform in Georgia: “Georgia. Big reforms in the small country”. The film portrays activists from GenPUD, The “White Noise” Movement, and the Girchi political party. The documentary is available here (Rus.)
3. TalkingDrugs held an interview with Olga Belyaeva, advocacy coordinator at EHRA, about the change in EECA’s regional drug scene, new psychoactive substances, and new approaches to harm reduction. The interview is available on TalkingDrugs (Rus).
4. Bloomberg published a “Vice Index” – the price of a weekly “basket of vice” (including opioids, cocaine, cannabis, and amphetamine-type stimulants) - in relation to average weekly income per capita in various countries, Meduza reports. Russia is 48th in the list, with $174 per “basket”. Georgia’s weekly “basket” costs $536 and Moldova’s - $573. See in more detail at Bloomberg website (Eng).
5. In Belarus, harm reduction services are running out of sterile needles due to delay in funding from the new Global Fund country’s grant, “Positive Movement”, Charity Fund reports (Rus).
6. In Ukraine, activists continue to gather signatures on a petition to the Ukrainian Parliament, demanding the legalisation of cannabis for scientific and medical purposes, TalkingDrugs (Rus.) reports. Focus magazine (Rus.) writes about the patients and doctors, who are interested in this reform, and Mayak (Rus.) online media describes the stories of Ukrainians who use cannabis to ease pain.
7. An interview was held with Elena Voskresenskaya, executive director of AFEW-Ukraine, on the organisation and region’s key achievements in 2018, and plans for 2019. The full text is available here (Eng).
8. The Russian GosDuma (lower house) debated the softening of penalties for the purchasing and possession of large quantities of drugs where there was no intention of supply, the BBC reports (Rus.).
9. A campaign “Chase the virus, not people” calls for action on the UN’s Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2019. Read details here (Eng.).
10. A short video on myths and truths about drugs and harm reduction by activists from Russia’s Andrey Rylkov Foundation. Video is available here (Rus.)