On 2 April 2012, for the first time in Russia’s history, an appeal was lodged with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) claiming that Russian Federation obstructs the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.
Created in 1945, UNESCO is the only UN agency that deals with science as one of the key areas of involvement, which is reflected in the title of this reputable structure.
The appeal was lodged by the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (ARF). Since 2010, ARF serves as a Secretariat of Public mechanism on monitoring the drug policy reform in Russia, and now the Foundation appeals actions of governmental bodies of the Russian Federation around drug treatment approaches practiced in the country. Created at the Soviet times, Russia’s drug treatment system is an anti-scientific and highly ineffective mechanism that contributes to an increase in drug-related crimes and prison population, and causes a sharp rise in HIV, TB and Hepatitis C epidemics, as well as high rates of overdose mortality.
The decision to apply to UNESCO matured among the Public mechanism representatives after it became evident that despite obvious problems caused by unscientific drug treatment approaches, Russian officials continue to ignore effective achievements and best practices of the global science that are effectively implemented in all developed countries of the world, including those involving the use of drug substances as medications in substitution therapy. Moreover, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service and the Ministry of Health and Social Development persistently distribute false information about substitution therapy, oppose any public dialogue about this method of treatment, and persecute advocates of substitution therapy in the country.
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