"As noted above, human rights organizations and UN bodies have documented human rights violations against PWUD [People Who Use Drugs] in Russia, including the absence of drug dependence treatment for people living with HIV and tuberculosis [56], the use of unscientific methods and the drug user registry in drug dependence treatment [57], and the prohibition on OST [57, 58]. Moreover, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has urged Russia to apply a human rights-based approach to PWUD so that they do not forfeit their right to health [59, 60], while the UN Human Rights Committee has recommended that Russia provide effective drug dependence treatment to people in police custody [61] and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has recommended that Russia provide drug-dependent women access to OST [62]. As of September 2017, there were also at least five applications pending before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the human rights of PWUD.3

"However, human rights violations arising from punitive drug policy are not limited to PWUD. Arguably, narcologists’ human rights are also infringed when Russian drug laws criminally prohibit evidence-based drug dependence treatment such as OST, thus subjecting narcologists who are willing to provide OST to their patients to life imprisonment for drug trafficking. Narcologists are also prohibited from openly supporting harm reduction activities, such as needle and syringe programs, because such support can lead to administrative or criminal sanctions for violations of drug propaganda laws [63, 64]. According to a former Chief Narcologist, Nikolay Ivanets, Russian narcologists would never speak in favor of OST because of the risks of prosecution [65]. Russian narcologists are pulled in two directions, representing polarized sets of obligations. On the one hand, they have responsibilities as doctors, acting in the best interest of their patients, which ostensibly includes employing the most effective, evidence-based treatment methods. On the other hand, narcologists are prohibited from providing or promoting such methods of treatment and care, such as OST and harm reduction programs, under the threat of criminal and administrative sanctions."


Golichenko, Mikhail, and Sandra Ka Hon Chu. “Human rights in patient care: drug treatment and punishment in Russia.” Public health reviews vol. 39 12. 1 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1186/s40985-018-0088-5.