Natasha, 31, listens to Depeche Mode and loves making Napoleon Cake. Denis, 33, adores his Labrador Gera and likes reading stories by O. Henry and Anton Chekhov. Natasha and Denis live in a world where for various reasons people have become dependent on illegal substances. Their life stories are vivid illustrations of the harms caused by a repressive drug policy as well as stigma and discrimination that has become part of the regulations and everyday attitudes of health-care workers and law enforcement authorities.

Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is home to 2.3 million people who use injecting drugs - nearly a quarter of their global population. In contrast to other advanced countries, the majority of countries in our region adhere to the most rigid drug policies. Criminal penalties for possession of minimal doses of drugs for personal use, violations of drug users’ rights and police violence are common practices. People who use drugs are refused HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis treatment. Access to needle exchange and OST programs is restricted. Social pressure is put on people who use drugs in order to lower their self-esteem, cause feelings of shame, guilt and inferiority.

Together with the community of people who use drugs, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network calls on all those with decision making powers to revise repressive drug policies and to address the drug use problem from a public health prospective.

On the eve of the Global Day of Action Support. Don’t Punish on June 26th, our heroes present several facts about repressive drug policies and the positive developments related to amendments to the drug policy.

Follow our heroes on Twitter or Facebook.

read and share

outcomes of repressive and non-repressive drug policy