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TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [July 2019]

1. State authorities in the Kemerovsky region have issued 3,6 million rubles (55 500 USD) from local budgets to fund a complex overdose prevention programme in the region – a first for Russia. For more info, visit TalkingDrugs (Rus).


2. An expert study by the State Service on Medicine and Drug Control into the quality of substitution therapy medicines, distributed under the national opioid substitution therapy (OST) programme, has been initiated by The All-Ukrainian network of people who live with drug dependency, “VOLNA”. Following drugs testing, the insufficient quality of available medicine was confirmed and, for the first time in Ukraine, protesters successfully lobbyed for an official ban on the use of low quality batches of Buprenorphine pills. Read in detail here (Ukr.)


3. Academics of the Russian Academy of Sciences appealed for liberalization of state drug policy in Russia following the closure of the Ivan Golunov case. Reform has also been discussed in the Duma and the Council of Federation, though Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a public statement against liberalization and opposed any changes into the Criminal Code, BBC reported. 


4. An expert working group to study the use of medical cannabis for treatment and rehabilitation of the Ukrainian military personnel has been formed by members of the Veterans’ Council under the Ministry of Veteran Affairs of Ukraine, the official ministerial website reported (Ukr).


5. DUNews, a documentary videos studio, have produced a short video on the history of cultivation and use of opium.


6. On July 11, near the Ukrainian Parliament, a street action was held demanding the adoption of a new draft law on medical and scientific cannabis use. The review of the draft law was postponed for the third time. Photos from the action are available here. Stories of Ukrainian patients, who are using medical cannabis for treatment, were published by “Novoe Vremya” media outlet (Rus).



7. Russian human rights defenders have called for the Russian Duma to reform the current situation for HIV-positive people in Russian prisons in an effort to address the HIV epidemic in the country. According to NGOs, 7% of all HIV-positive people are currently kept in prisons and official statistics of the Federal penitentiary service of Russia states that during 2014-2017 32% of all lethal cases in Russian prisons were caused by HIV. Read in more detail at “Znak” media.  


8. An expert interview with Michel Kazatchkine, a member of the Global Commission on Drug policy, was published by the Russian media “Expert.ru”.


9. An article about the internally displaced Ukrainian activist Elena Kurlat, from the uncontrolled territories in the East of Ukraine, was published by the “Donetskie Novosti” media outlet (Rus). Elena Kurlat works with “VONA”, a Ukrainian harm reduction movement by and for women who use drugs.


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