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Russia's Drug Treatment Plans Draw Criticism

Despite the Russian Federal Drug Control Services plans of creating a new system of drug treatment communes and labor therapy sites throughout rural areas, many activists and addicts are denying any positive changes are occurring.
by K. Lanktree Modified: June 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014
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Despite the Russian Federal Drug Control Services plans of creating a new system of drug treatment communes and labor therapy sites throughout rural areas, many activists and addicts are denying any positive changes are occurring.

According to a report in The Moscow Times, Russia's intentions of building communes, initiating treatment programs for those with low-incomes, and the impending opening of a new rehab center in a Moscow suburb, the Stupinsky district, are all being criticized by activists and addicts, as they have yet to see any changes or positive effects taking place.

Russia's idea of drug treatment “communes” are far from what we see at treatment facilities here in the West. Viktor Ivanov, Head of the Federal Drug Control Service, said the therapeutic centers and communes will be set up in those regions where there are vast areas of unoccupied farm land and a shortage of manpower and would also provide space for addicts ordered to seek treatment by courts to undergo labor therapy and agricultural work.

Currently in Russia, state-run rehab centers and church-run clinics are few and far between and often full, and private clinics are too expensive for most. Even those few centers in existence are highly criticized for the medications used, absence of proper counseling and lack of efficacy.

Ivanov has also mentioned on occasion that there is no money set aside for rehabilitation programs.

"The problem of 8 million drug users and 30 million of their relatives will remain outside the sphere of the government’s activities. The rehabilitation program has been officially approved, but without money the program will not work," Ivanov said.

If an addict is lucky enough to secure a space in one of the private or church-run clinics, they risk seeking treatment at facilities with absolutely no licensing program in place for the clinic itself or its employees and treatment providers, many of which have had frightening reports of abuse.

In 2013, Andrei Charushkinov, director of a private clinic in Siberia, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to nine years in prison after the 2011 death of one of the patients in his care. Investigators also found that Charushkinov had been abusing patients for years and warnings about the center’s abusive practices can still be found online.

Activists, specialists and addicts alike are also heavily criticizing Russia's use of anti-psychotic medications, like Haloperidol, to treat drug addiction in these facilities.

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by K. Lanktree
NewsOK Contributor
K. Lanktree is a Freelance Writer, Former IV Drug User, Methadone Patient & Harm Reduction Advocate. She is dedicated to reducing the stigma and discrimination of Addiction and IV Drug Users through education, writing and poetry.
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