Relationship Between Street-Level Policing and High-Risk Drug Using Behavior in Russia

"Street-level policing practices in Russia have been found to fuel a pervasive sense of risk, and fear of arrest, fine or detainment, among IDUs, which in turn is linked to their reluctance to carry needles and syringes, thereby increasing the chances of high risk syringe sharing at the point of drug sale (Rhodes et al., 2003). Police agencies themselves emphasise a rationale of intense surveillance of drug users, enforced through a combination of extremely restrictive criminal articles on possession and the use of administrative codes unrelated to drug use (Rhodes et al., 2003, 2006). Moreover, civil society responses to HIV prevention, treatment and care for IDUs remain weak, as does public health policy and infrastructure, which depends heavily upon international donation (Sarang et al., 2007; Wolfe, 2007). Officials and health professionals give very weak endorsement to concepts such as ‘harm reduction’, which are still characterised by some as a corrupting influence of the West, and instead defer to normative social constructions of drugs users as unproductive, dangerous, and criminal (Tkathchenko-Schmidt et al., 2008; Elovich and Drucker, 2008; Wolfe, 2007)."


Sarang, Anya, Rhodes, Tim, Sheon, Nicolas, and Page, Kimberly, "Policing Drug Users in Russia: Risk, Fear, and Structural Violence." Subst Use Misuse. 2010 May; 45(6): 813–864. doi: 10.3109/10826081003590938