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Why drug trafficking persists in Ukraine?

Author : 112 program Corruption League

Source : 112 Ukraine

For five years, Ukrainian power structures have lost about four thousand people in Donbas. According to official statistics, about a thousand Ukrainians die from drugs annually
21:38, 9 December 2019

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The drug business is a huge shadow industry, where around millions of dollars are involved. And the issue of drug addiction is overshadowed by other events and troubles: elections, war, etc... Some public persons are suspected of using drugs for a while. MPs, and sometimes even presidents.

For five years, Ukrainian power structures have lost about four thousand people in Donbas. According to official statistics, about a thousand people die from drugs in Ukraine annually, while independent experts indicate actual mortality of 10,000-12,000. And 120,000 Ukrainians die from drug-related diseases - HIV / AIDS, viral hepatitis, specific cancer, tuberculosis.

Related: State Investigation Bureau to check on polygraph SBU employees who missed Israeli drug lord Silver

September 2019. The law enforcement officers exposed a large drug laboratory in the Kyiv region.

Donbas, October. During searches in pharmacies of a well-known pharmaceutical network, codeine-containing preparations that were illegally sold, as well as weapons, were seized.

And in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, a 4-hectare marijuana plantation was found.

According to the media reports, drug traffickers seem to be exposed and caught almost every week. And drug addicts in Ukraine did not decrease.

According to official statistics from the Ministry of Health, in 2018, 346,000 injecting drug addicts were counted in Ukraine. But there are millions of people who use drugs in various forms. In 2019, these figures grew even higher.

A drug addict who wants to live and not die can choose two ways. Try to completely get rid of addiction in a rehabilitation center, or choose substitution therapy, where he will be sold a drug in a medical institution, but under the supervision of a doctor and at a more or less affordable price.

Related: Hanging matter: How to import unregistered drugs to Ukraine

Thus, drug addicts are protected from street drugs, and society is protected from the effects of street drug addiction.

Sixteen-year-old Daria lives with her alcoholic mother. When the girl decided to spend time with her addict neighbor, no one stopped her.

Young people bought methadone from the pushers. This is a synthetic drug, which is sold in the form of a solution for injection and in tablets. Compared to heroin, methadone is much cheaper, but addiction on it is stronger.

Methadone, experts say, is especially dangerous for a child’s body.

“Those who use drugs for 5 and 10 years, would face difficulties with giving up using methadone, it’s almost impossible. Just imagine these children who have never used anything, use methadone for six months or a year, well, they do not live up to 30, they live on the methadone program 5-6 years, and that’s a lot,” Ihor Shcheglov from the International Anti-Drug Association says.

The methadone program is replacement maintenance therapy.

This is a state program aimed at treating opioid dependence of patients at public expense. The drug addict is registered with a medical institution, where he regularly comes to receive a dose under the supervision of a doctor. Typically, the program uses methadone and buprenorphine. The patient gets rid of “breaking” and can even work. The program is used in countries where the HIV / AIDS epidemic is spreading primarily through injecting drug users. In 2019, methadone-ZN and buprenorphine hydrochloride were purchased by the state in the amount of 10,000 USD.

Related: How drugs get into Ukrainian pharmacies?

The methadone program in Ukraine involves more than 11 thousand patients. And they buy much more drugs.

“We have six times more methadone on the street than it should be in the state program. At the moment, in our country, in order for people who are on substitution therapy to receive methadone for benefits, approximately 400 kg of methadone should be produced. Our plants produce two tons, and this is a reason for manipulation,” says Ihor Scheglov.

Where do the leftovers go? To the black market? To the Internet network and hucksters? Or in private clinics?

Every morning, people come to the door of the office of Kyiv City Hospital No. 5 to get drugs from the state. Here you can not only join the program but also buy a prescription for drugs containing drugs.

In addition to state addiction centers, private access can also be provided to methadone. We have sent our activist to the Medical Inquiries Clinic to get a recipe.

Related: Zelensky signed  law on strengthening criminal liability for faking drugs

No tests, just an oral survey. After the so-called examination, the patient is given an invoice, which can be paid at the terminal, which prudently stands outside the door. For 500 hryvnias (20 USD), our activist is prescribed methadone detoxification without a proper examination and is prescribed a prescription. The whole procedure took about 30 minutes.

The man was given the addresses of pharmacies where you can buy methadone. Ten days later, he can return to the clinic again and buy a new prescription. Time to call the police.

The indignant woman who had just illegally bargained 500 hryvnias (20 USD) for a methadone prescription hurries to exit. The head physician of the Medical Inquiries Clinic comes to check the situation. He is trying to get rid of the hassle and the police.

The police also rushed to the rehabilitation center of the International Anti-Drug Association. Ihor Shcheglov, its director, was accused of illegally detaining the wards in an institution.

Six out of the 18 drug addicts signed on blank sheets. Later on these pieces of paper, prosecutors wrote statements about forced detention in a rehabilitation center. Further searches began.

* * *

On March 13, 2019, an electronic petition for the legalization of cannabis gained more than 25 thousand votes. MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine took up the development of a bill to regulate the use of medical cannabis.

Unlike regular marijuana, medical marijuana does not cause euphoria because it lacks the psychotropic component of cannabis. Medical marijuana is an effective pain reliever and antiemetic, so cancer and epilepsy patients often need it.

But on August 29, the bill was recalled. During a press marathon on October 10, President Zelensky said the legalization of medical cannabis was out of time.

Related: Red Cross sends more than two tons of drugs and medical equipment to occupied Donbas

In Ukraine, there are up to 2 million people who need access to cannabis treatment. October 26, Kyiv held the "Hemp March of Freedom." Activists demanded the immediate registration of a bill to resolve the issue of legalizing medical cannabis.

However, drug addiction fighters fear the mass cultivation of hemp and industrial spread.

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