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

1. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called on lawmakers to toughen already harsh anti-narcotics legislation. He proposed to impose jail sentences on those found guilty of “drugs propaganda” online — TalkingDrugs gathered comments regarding this initiative (Rus). In addition, Russia has just adopted a new law on individual “foreign agents”, who get this status by creating “foreign media” and by receiving funds from abroad, “Meduza” reports. TalkingDrugs has previously written about Russian harm reduction organizations that received a “foreign agent” status. 


2. A harm reduction initiative in Sumy, Ukraine – the EECA region’s first safe injection site, has had a busy first year. Read more on TalkingDrugs (Rus).


3. The Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS disseminated a statement marking the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women. Read the statement here. (Rus).


4. An interview with Sasha Levin, co-chair of EHRA Steering Committee is available here (Eng).


5.  The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Belarus has stated unreasonably harsh prison sentences for teenagers in Belarus for drug crimes, Tut.by reports (Rus). See also: Five years of harm brought by the drug laws in Belarus: facts and figures. Article by Telegra.ph (Rus).


6. “Coda” online media portal has been censored for an article about mephedrone, Roskomsvoboda reports. The story, “Mephedrone and the rat king”, about clinical trials of mephedrone paid for by the largest Russian darknet drugmarket, was considered drug propaganda by the Ministry of Interior and thus the media has been blocked.


7. The European Human Rights Court declined the appeal of people who use drugs for the ban of opioid substitution therapy (OST) programs in Russia. Kommersant has published the commentary of Mihail Golichenko, the attorney in this case. (Rus).


8. Watch the new documentary “The Berlin Ark”, produced by DUNews studio, — featuring stories of people who use drugs and were forced to leave their native countries of EECA region and move to Berlin. The video is available here (Rus). 


9.  What is a Legal High? Find out more, courtesy of the Ukrainian online youth project Drugstore. (Rus). 


10. EHRA in partnership with School of Law, Swansea University, conducted a research project called “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Moldova and Belarus”, which aimed to analyze and determine the presence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Belarus and Moldova.  You can read the report here

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