"The inaccessibility and poor quality of services pertaining to the treatment of drug dependence in Russia have been extensively documented. Treatment methods reported include flogging, beatings, punishment by starvation, long-term handcuffing to bed frames, 'coding' (hypnotherapy aimed at persuading the patient that drug use leads to death), electric shock, burying patients in the ground and xenoimplantation of guinea pig brains62. The practice and acceptance of such methods clearly indicate that the government’s approach does not correspond to international drug treatment guidelines.

"Such methods are not only cruel but ineffective. As the Russian Federal Drug Control Service has acknowledged, over 90% of drug treatment patients return to using illegal drugs within one year63. As a result of the ineffective government approach to drug treatment and care, Russia has one of the largest numbers of people who use drugs—government estimate reaches 5 million64, while UNODC’s 2009 World Drug Report estimated that 1.6 million people use opiates65. Meanwhile, the number of people living with HIV in Russia continues to rise; in 2010 alone, a total of 58,633 new HIV cases were officially registered in the country66. Injecting drug use has long been the predominant risk factor, with around 80% of all HIV cases registered in the country from 1987 to 2008 associated with the use of injecting drugs67. The government’s refusal to respond adequately to the main transmission risk means that most of the funding goes to the management of the consequences rather than prevention of new infections. It is clear that 3% of the entire budget cannot possibly reach the most vulnerable population in an effective manner, and even the 3% spent on prevention is spent inefficiently."


Merkinaite, S. A war against people who use drugs: the costs. Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN): Vilnius, Lithuania, 2012.