Opioid Substitution Treatment Illegal in Russia

"Substitution (or replacement) therapy such as methadone maintenance therapy, which has been widely credited with controlling HIV transmission among injection drug users in many countries, is illegal in Russia, and the 2003 amendments to the drug law did not change this. Methadone is classified as "illicit" by the terms of the three United Nations conventions on drug control, though most countries that are signatories to the conventions have methadone programs that are successful in substituting injected heroin with noninjected methadone. In this case, neither the SDCC [State Drug Control Committee] nor the Ministry of Health seems necessarily disposed to review the status quo. Dr. Golyusov of the Ministry of Health said that he is concerned by first-hand accounts from drug users that methadone is more addictive or "harder to get off" than heroin and that other countries' experiences have been "contradictory.""

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Human Rights Watch, "Lessons Not Learned: Human Rights Abuses and HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation," April 2004, Vol. 16, No. 5, p. 23.
http://www.hrw.org/sites/defau...

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