TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [May 2019]
1. How Much Does it Cost to Criminalize People Who Use Drugs in the EECA Region? Anastasia Bezverkha reports for TalkingDrugs. (Eng)
2. The activist Elena Asaeva from the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD) passed away on the 2nd May. Her colleagues and friends gathered stories about Elena and created a video available to watch here. (Rus).
3. Saint-Petersburg authorities allowed for the annual Marijuana March to take place in the city on 4 May. Officials demanded that the organisers change the purpose of the event, which was to humanise people who use drugs, or risk punishment for disseminating “drug propaganda”, Paperpaper.ru reports. (Rus.) Video from the street action is published at RadioLiberty web-page. (Rus.)
4. A Russian woman who bought anti-depressant medicine online may be sentenced for up to 20 years for drug trafficking. (Rus) Drug policy activist Aleksandr Smirnov (Delphinov) held a protest action for the woman, whose name is Daria Belyaeva, on the 11th May in Moscow. The anti-depressant medication contains bupropion (a derivative of ephedrone), which is legal in Europe and the US and widely used to treat psychiatric conditions, Novaya Gazeta reports. (Rus).
5. A draft law has been registered in the Russian Parliament to toughen punishment for the trade of drugs thought to cause a so-called "pharmacy addiction." The Russian Ministry of Health reports that 3-5% of people who use drugs are diagnosed with a “pharmacy drug addiction”, Takie Dela media outlet reports. (Rus).
6. Russian opposition leader and human rights defender Nikolay Kavkazskiy has written a blog on the devastating consequences of criminalization in Russia. The text is published by Radio Liberty. (Rus). The importance of harm reduction programmes in Russia was written about in Izvestiya newspaper. (Rus).
7. How did Georgia Decriminalize Marijuana Use? (Rus). A video story by Nastoyashee Vremya.
9. The second International Medical Cannabis conference was held in Kyiv, Ukraine on 31 May. Information about the event is available on the Ukrainian Medical Cannabis Association website (Eng) and images were published in the Segodnia newspaper. (Rus).
10. A draft law on the legal regulation of cannabis use for medical and scientific purposes was registered at the Ukrainian parliament on 20 May, Liga reports. (Rus). The bill was supported by 102 MPs and the Ukrainian Minister of Health (Rus), Interfax reports. The next plenary session for the bill is scheduled for 6 June. Patients and parents of children in need of lobbied Parliament to vote for the law, Ukrainska Pravda reports. (Rus).
11. The Ukrainian TV presenter and cancer survivor Yanina Sokolova has publicly supported the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine. Her story is published by Obozrevatel. (Rus).