No Substitution Drug Treatment Allowed in Russia
Opiate addiction – or dependence upon drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone – has been a growing problem in Russia for years. Despite the government’s interest in correcting the problem and providing prevention and treatment to those who need it, they are adamantly against the use of evidence-based treatment protocols like methadone maintenance and Suboxone treatment.
Substitution Therapy Ban
In the United States, the effectiveness of methadone and Suboxone is well established through multiple studies and thousands of success cases. In Russia, however, that’s not the case. According to the Toronto Media News Co-op Russian experts say that: “The effective way to solve the problem of drug addiction treatment is an intensive search for and introduction of new methods and means that focus on complete cessation of drugs use by patients with addiction, their socialization into a new life style free from drugs, but not on exchanging from one drug to another.”
Naysayers believe that “substitution therapy” is nothing more than trading the object of addiction. They believe that addicts will continue to be addicts after treatment and that nothing substantive about their life and habits will change as a result. The evidence says, however, that those who use a controlled substance under the care of medical professionals have a lesser chance of overdose and can slowly lower their dose over time until they are completely drug-free, allowing them the opportunity to immediately begin to live a functional life that is not controlled by drug dependence.
The problem with avoiding well-known, positive treatments for opiate addiction in Russia is that addicts are left to fend for themselves, often overdosing, contracting HIV and other transmissible diseases by sharing needles, and creating new drugs that have effects similar to heroin but are less expensive – drugs like Krocodile. When heroin gets too pricey for addicts – most of whom live in poverty – they instead turn to homemade drugs like Krocodile. Similar to morphine, Krocodile, or desomorphine, it is made from codeine, which does not require a prescription in Russia, and actually turns the skin of the user scaly and green like a crocodile, an effect caused by gangrene and phlebitis. Krocodile users are expected to live only two to three years.
In some ways, Krocodile is a substitution for heroin, but one that is devastating to addicts. In the same way, in the United States, those who can’t afford prescription painkillers often turn to heroin, which is far less expensive. If opiate addiction is an issue for you, rather than opt for a more dangerous substitute, consider choosing a positive substitution therapy at a medical rehabilitation center. Call us now to find out more about how we can help.