Frente al incremento de los casos de VIH, tres activistas rusos han llevado al Estado ruso ante los tribunales por infringir el derecho a la salud de los usuarios de drogas. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.

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By Naomi Larsson

The Russian government has a notoriously punitive attitude towards drugs. Substitution treatments are banned and the only option for recovering addicts is to go cold turkey. But three drug users who have struggled for years with their addiction and have become life-threateningly ill as a result, claim that this policy is an abuse of their human rights, and are taking the Russian state to court.

Though opioid substitution therapy (OST) – such as methadone or buprenorphine which are commonly used to treat heroin addiction in the UK – is banned in Russia, these replacement therapies are globally recognised as one of the most effective treatments of opioid addiction. Russian activists Alexey Kurmanayevskiy, Irina Abdyusheva Teplinskaya and Ivan Anoshkin have exhausted all available treatments in Russia without success, and over the years of battling with their addictions, have contracted HIV (the UN estimates that half of Russia’s new HIV cases last year were injecting drug users). They believe that being denied this treatment violates international human rights law (pdf) – in particular, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment (article 3) and discrimination (article 14). 

In an attempt to gain access to what they see as vital and potentially life-saving healthcare, Kurmanayevskiy, Teplinskaya and Anoshkin have attempted to use Russia’s domestic legal system without success. After four years of litigation and evidence collection, they have submitted their applications to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg, seeking a judgment against the legal prohibition of OST in Russia.

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