The Science and Practice of Drug Treatment in Russia: Narcology

"The science and practice of drug treatment in Russia – narcology – developed out of psychiatry in close collaboration with other state mechanisms of social control, including police agencies (Elovich and Drucker, 2008). Close links between narcology and police agencies remain (Bobrova et al., 2006). Access to drug treatment automatically requires official registration as an addict, which involves the removal of various citizenship rights, such as the rights to employment, as well as exposure to social stigma (Bobrova et al., 2006). The effectiveness of drug treatment approaches (which are modelled on alcohol detoxification methods) remain questionable, are linked to high rates of relapse, and are framed by a policy response at Federal level which prohibits the use of (internationally accepted) methadone and buprenorphine as substitution treatment (Elovich and Drucker, 2008; Mendelevich, 2004; Human Rights Watch, 2007). This policy rests on the rationale that treating addicts as patients would challenge policy discourse that labels drug users first and foremost as 'criminals' (Elovich and Drucker, 2008)."


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