The Economist reports on drug policies in Eastern Europe

Research reveals that Russia could spend 42.8 billion Euros on keeping drug users in jail


A study on drug policies in Eastern European countries was published on 10 March by The Economist magazine.

According to the publication, HIV infections are increasing in countries where the research was conducted (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and is being driven by what’s referred to in the study as “drug injection”.

The study’s authors believe that these countries could save between €38 and €773 million over the next 20 years by decriminalising the possession of drugs for private use. This would help tackle the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where the number of deaths is still on the rise. If no changes are made to drug policies, Russia, for example, will spend €42.8 billion from 2020-2040 just keeping drug users in jail while doing nothing to halt the spread of the disease.

“This is an outstanding piece of work that gets to the truth of the matter and not just on the negative aspects”, said Sergey Dugin, CEO of the Humanitarian Action Foundation (listed on the CSO foreign agents’ register). He stated “There is a major difference when we compare the level and number of available services over the past 20 years. We now have many different types of support. We have a large number of partners from State institutions and receive annual government grants. We have been heavily involved in overdose prevention work for more than five years which has helped save around 5,000 lives”.

However, Dugin argues that State support will never be enough. Only be working together can projects run smoothly and reach more people in need of help.


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