Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

Evidence based policy for illicit drugs

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3374 (Published 01 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3374

War against drugs and people

The authors of the comment correctly pointed to the strong opposition of the
Russian government to the harm reduction programs. It is a political
standing: government officials portray the harm reduction programs as an
effort of Western enemies to undermine Russia-the-holy-land's strength
by providing the drugs and devices that help to spread drug misuse.

Law enforcement bodies are very nicely built in the 'administrative
vertical' nurtured by V. Putin, and they try to expand their power over
and control of citizens. Recently the Government published the draft
regulation
(http://www.minzdravsoc.ru/docs/doc_projects/395/prilozhenie.doc) which
requires the annual lab testing for drug use of millions of people because
they unhappily belong to professions such as electricians, operators of fuel
stations, guards and others, including Central Bank staff who have a
permit to use guns, staff of fire stations, all drivers of transport
vehicles (not only professionals), medical staff of urgent services as
well as other medical facilities, staff of all educational facilities for
children.

Of course, it is a very expensive program to implement, and nobody
knows what may be the outcome of such extensive testing. What is quite
predictable - the introduction of extensive testing will create a new
line in corruption income for the drug controlling offices and
relevant laboratories. In recent post-Soviet history the planting of small
quantities into the pockets and cars of members of opposition is
prevalent.

In situations when medical, psychological and all other treatment and
rehabilitation services are almost extinct in Russia, extensive testing
will probably make a situation of no way out for thousands if not millions
of people held under control in fear of receiving the 'positive' lab
test.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 July 2010
Vasiliy V Vlassov
President, Society for Evidence Based Medicine
Moscow 109451