History, traditions
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Someone Wants Number of Drug Addicts in Russia to Grow with Methadone Help

From the point of view of "human rights activists" of the international level, Russia is showing "no respect towards human rights" since the nation does not intend to launch the program of replacement therapy for the treatment of drug addiction with methadone. Let us take a closer look at this drug - methadone - to try to understand what the expected and real consequences of such "rehabilitating therapy" could be, and why anyone would ever want to have this drug legalized in Russia.

Pravda.Ru has reported before that international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), better known in Russia as "human rights organizations" were in unison concerned about the appointment of Yuri Fedotov, a Russian official, as the chairman of the UN Crime and Drugs Office. They believe that Russia can not represent this office of the United Nation because there is "no respect for human rights" in the country. Moreover, they claim that Russia is not willing to work on the solution of the problem of heroine production in Afghanistan and refuses to introduce the "replacement therapy" program with the use of methadone.

As for methadone, the point of the replacement program, as it is stated, is to replace heroine with weaker and cheaper methadone. This drug can be taken orally, without injections, which reduces the risk of catching HIV infection and, supposedly, even favors the gradual social recovery of a drug addict. In addition, the drug is distributed among drug addicts, which supposedly reduces the level of crimes motivated by drug addiction.

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It is worthy of note that a number of countries such as Germany, Denmark, England and others have tried the methadone program but subsequently banned it. So what is happening?

It is quite possible that the program was elaborated by big-hearted and noble-minded scientists. I would assume that they simply did not have a notion of the problem of drug addiction per se, that they approached drug addicts as individuals suffering from drug addiction. The scientists probably believed that everyone wanted to be cured of this addiction and one only needed to help them.

This is a matter of complete, albeit intelligent unreality. A drug addict wants to get high, and they will fight for it. Only a few of them can cure themselves of this disease - those, who did not have an intention of developing addiction to drugs, but became drug addicts, let's say, incidentally.

The majority of them proceed, increasing their doses and varying narcotic substances. To put it in a nutshell, they replace weaker drugs with stronger substances that offer a longer effect. It is worthy of note that the inventors of new opiate substances represented them as strong pain-killers with practically no side effects. Heroine was originally invented as a pain-killer too.

Maybe it is enough to walk so many times into the same water? It has been some 300 years already.

The problem of drug addiction can in no way be solved with the help of drugs - what is so difficult about it to understand here?

At first they said that methadone would be distributed only in extreme cases not to let an addict either infect others with AIDS or commit crimes over a dose. If the program is proved successful, it would then be offered for all drug addicts - here's your free dose, friend, take it.

The symptoms produced by the withdrawal of methadone are a lot stronger than those of heroine - they last for weeks, not just days. It is practically impossible to bid farewell to methadone. It simply develops yet another addiction for a drug addict. Methadone does not develop aversion to other narcotic substances: a person continues to take other substances plus methadone.

Andrey Sannikov, a Russian journalist from Ekaterinburg, said: "A drug addict, who tried methadone at least once, will start taking it afterwards permanently. This drug is more expensive today in Ekaterinburg than heroine - from $170 to $300 for one gram. The production process for methadone is very cheap: 2.5 rubles per gram, and the process itself is just as simple as that of acetic acid. It's possible to produce thousands of tons of this drug. The cost of methadone is a very low one taking into consideration the scale of its production."

As for rehabilitation, which a drug addict is supposed to experience - let's think being two steps ahead of it. Let's take a perfect case: a drug addict does not do illegal drugs, does not take even alcohol, but takes a dose of methadone daily. What such a person can expect?

He or she will not be able to find a job which stipulates responsibility. Methadone will continue to cause irreparable damage to person's health, and even an agreeable employer will not be thrilled about frequent sick-leaves of a new employee. Such a person will not be able to live without their rehab and will not be able to go somewhere.

Is this called rehabilitation? This is a form of control over a drug addict, not more than that.

In my opinion, methadone-based therapy: a) does not cure a drug addict, but develops another addiction; b) makes a drug addict practically a hopeless patient; c) gives drug mafia another opportunity for obtaining profit; d) does not reduce standard risks of drug dependence both for a drug addict and for society; e) increases the number of drug addicts ("as long as it's legal, I should try it too").

Why do they want methadone to be introduced in Russia? Why do certain organizations spend millions of dollars to propagate the program? Why does methadone have a lobby on the top level?

I can see two basic reasons.

First and foremost, it's all about the money, as always. "Replacement therapy" programs get wrapped up and require new sales markets. One should pay attention to the fact that all appeals to legalize methadone for "replacement therapy" always stipulate the need to purchase the drug abroad rather than to launch the independent production of the drug.

Secondly, I'd take liberties to suppose that someone wants the number of drug addicts in Russia to grow, which corresponds to the situation in general. The drugs from Afghanistan are trafficked to Russia via Tajikistan - one should bear this fact in mind. Who needs that and what for - this is a completely different story.

Andrei Bortsov
Pravda.Ru

Read the original in Russian

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