Stigma and Lack of Harm Reduction Services In Russia

"People who use drugs (PWUD) are one of the most stigmatized and marginalized populations in Russia [1, 2]. People who inject drugs (PWID) are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, HCV infection and fatal overdoses (OD) [3–7]. Unfortunately, harm reduction programs that have been proven to be effective for combatting HIV, HCV, and OD among PWID [8, 9] are not officially endorsed by the Russian government, their number is limited and access to them is low [10]. Moreover, the number of needle and syringe exchange programs (NSPs) in Russia has been decreasing since 2010 [11], while opioid agonist therapy (OAT) remains illegal [10]. In addition, harm reduction services were reported to be unattractive to young PWID in Russia [12].

"Thus, there is an urgent need for alternative ways of providing harm reduction services to improve their accessibility among a wider population of PWUD in Russia. This is especially true for harder-to-reach populations, such as young PWUD. One such way to increase accessibility is by integrating harm reduction services into online platforms."


Davitadze, A., Meylakhs, P., Lakhov, A. et al. Harm reduction via online platforms for people who use drugs in Russia: a qualitative analysis of web outreach work. Harm Reduct J 17, 98 (2020).