TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [February 2020]

1. Andrey Yarovoy, a Ukrainian human rights activist, was recently released from prison in the uncontrolled territories in the East of Ukraine. TalkingDrugs published an interview with Andrey here (Rus).

2. 'Bath Salts' Feel Like a Drug From the Past—But They're Still Wreaking Havoc. In some parts of the world they conjure wild memories from the 2010s. In Russia, they're more popular than weed. Mephedrone in Russia: a story by VICE (Eng).

3. “How many millions need to be imprisoned to solve the drug problem?” — new material by Russian media outlet “RIA Novosti” (Rus).

4. Read this interview with the popular Telegram-channel DrugStat about the Russian darknet drug market, published by “Luna” (Rus).

5. The Moscow regional court has partly acquitted Daniel Diaz-Strukov. Whilst he was declared not guilty of drug smuggling, he was convicted for the attempted sale of drugs, BBC reports. Now Strukov is not facing a life sentence but a 10 year imprisonment. Read more about Strukov’s case here (Eng) and sign the petition to free Strukov here.   

6. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine proposed to reconsider Decree 188, which identifies thresholds of illegal substances as a way decrease the prison population in the country. Read in more detail at “Apostrophe”  media (Rus). For more information on threshold quantities and decriminalisation in Russia, visit https://www.talkingdrugs.org/drug-decriminalisation

7. TalkingDrugs, Release and the International Drug Policy Consortium launched an online interactive map of drug decriminalisation across the world. The map includes 29 countries and 49 jurisdictions where models of decriminalisation are in place. Explore the map on TalkingDrugs (Eng).

8. What is drug checking and why it is important? — Check out DUNews studio’s new video, available here (Rus).

9. Yanina Stemkovskaya, a representative of the All-Ukrainian Network of Women Who Use Drugs “VONA”, gave a speech for the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights asserting the rights of people who inject drugs (PWIDs). In Ukraine there are high rates of PWID, many are women. Read more here (Rus).

10. Check out this overview of best practices for activists: “How to resist the HIV and TB crises in cities: experiences from EECA region”. The manual is published by Alliance of Public Health, available here in Russian.