Russian Anti-Narcotics Union Side Event

Georgy Mikhno (Acting Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN in Vienna): Welcome to the event organised by the Russian Anti-Narcotics Union. It is a good thing that the Vienna NGO Committee is starting to hear Russian voices of Russian NGOS. The event is a side event of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that is developed to strengthen the global cooperation in the global fight against drugs. The constructive dialogue of the state and NGOs is essential in lowering the demand for drugs. It is the NGOs who work directly with drug addicts and are required to do daily everything to implement the political decisions agreed upon in New York and Vienna platforms. In April last year, the United Nations agreed upon operational recommendations to speed up the achievement of aims and goals on developing international cooperation to fight drugs from 2009. The main purpose of this declaration are health and freedom from drugs for the population. That is the key goal that the international community is trying to achieve through the national anti-narcotic programme of Russia. We hope the Russian experience will be useful and interesting to other states as well. I will turn over to the Anti-Drug Union speakers who will tell you about the actual programmes, ensuring that people are able to live in an atmosphere without drugs.

Nikita Lushnikov (President, National Anti-Drug Union): Today we will like to tell you about the activities of a Russian public organisation. For us it is a very happy occasion to see so many of you at this table. Because we are presenting an organisation which is dealing with a very current and important problem. A problem not only for the Russian Federation but for the global community. As a hope, yesterday in my presentation I have already said that as a public organisation and as a non-governmental organisation we are following not only what is happening in our country but in the international arenas. We can see that the last few years there is an active discussion, even disputes, about the efficiency of different international practices. But the people working on the streets of their own towns, of their own countries, we are only interested in a practical resolution of those discussions. Unfortunately, any final decisions that could form a basis for our activities are not achieved. We are unable to obtain such global recommendations so we are trying our own initiatives to create such events like this under the umbrella of the United Nations so that others can benefit from our experience. In 13 years we have collected NGOS from 7 countries and from our joint decisions we would like to influence the discussion and provide a positive solution concerning the global practices. In most of the countries of the world there are mostly substitutional therapy programmes. To finish the discussions and to complement for the subject, we would like to provide our support and do it on the basis of the platform. Because the last six years if I repeat myself we are working on a global basis. Currently our goal is to bring together the international organisations that are working on a drug free programme and only we ourselves can create creative and dynamic platforms for resocialisation and employment for people after the first subject. Subject number two is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation centres are numerous in all countries, and in some countries more productive and in some countries less productive. But if we look at the picture of rehabilitation in the world as a whole it is relatively efficient. But what to do with the graduates of these rehabilitation programmes? Specific decisions for hundreds of thousands of people have not been followed in any country so far. So, bringing together the representatives from international NGOs that working along the drug free lines, we can be an assistance to the UN work by providing them a dynamic resocialisation and employment programme. One of these projects is something like to present to you a bit later, but the most important thing I would like to mention that we are ready and see the substitution programmes working in conjunction with our programme. Let me phrase it differently. Only when we start cooperating will we be able to influence the situation. We would like to be the last and final element of the substitution programme. That final stage would probably be the most important because the main task of substitution therapy is to bring a person outside the addiction area and allow him freedom. And that can only be done when that particular person becomes part of a therapeutic community of a drug fee programme. Because once they left the programme and are of the drugs they need to be in a community where they share their ideology, their moral and spiritual values of sobriety in their lives. So I would like to hope and believe that this initiative of hundreds of NGOS come together to join forces and be supported by UN and in a short while we will be seeing results. In addition to what we said before we will show a short video clip on the subject, more proof of the efficiency and the effectiveness of the drug free community in the Russian Federation. In our platform we bring up to a few thousand youngsters who went through the programme and during the programmes of those camps we try to motivate them through health and other athletic means to help them go all the way away from the drugs and avoid the problems that force a person to reconsider the efforts gone to consider drugs.

[Video plays]

Thank you for your attention and I hope that from this clip you could see and understand that 95% of participants and our staff are people who encountered the same problem including me. The actors are all graduates of this rehab programme. We who managed to cure ourselves from this extremely deadly illness. And we are able to create such programmes. We have the same psychology and only we ourselves can create such platforms where each addict can feel comfortable to remove chemicals. We will be able to help more chemically addicted persons. I am grateful for you all and these are the people who have the experience and in conclusion I invite you all to the next camp. The open event takes place in January 2018 in Moscow, if you want to see it with your own eyes and see the programmes there. We would be happy to see you there. We can provide any assistance to help your visit. I now give the floor to my colleague. They will tell you about the “social lift”, and this is the most important project in rehabilitation. The easy part is to stop taking and drugs. The difficult task is helping people to not take drugs. We tried finding work, and many without any help from others. But the fact that we are graduates of that is a result we can show, and the fact the opium narcotics are being left in the past and now it is the chemical synthetics which are suitable for younger generations. Athletics are the best way to keep people away. We have attracted champions of the world. The three-time kick-boxing champion is here with us to help develop the spirit of victory with them. All the fighters in the ring and all were ex drug addicts

Alexander [Russian Kickboxer]: Thank you. I would like to tell you about the socialisation programme. The fact that the drugs are entering groups younger. We are based on abstinence of drugs and we offer a socialisation programme. Each goes through medical testing to determine reserves and capacities of each body, and allows us to see the strengths and weaknesses of each person and establish a training programme for each person. This results in good athletic results. Twenty-five years of research back this work. We do kick-boxing, cross fit and combat sport. We attract global champions from amateur and professional sports. Global champions provide a good atmosphere for people. Over 500 went through our socialisation programme and some are now participating in competitions. And they help others. We hold camps in Seattle, Germany and Israel where we had 3,000 participants use sports to combat drugs. Most have left drugs behind and we want more people to take part in the therapeutic camp.

Giovanna Campello (UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section): To reduce the impact of substance misuse disorders on the individual and the community, they have concentrated on treatment and rehabilitation. This is within the guidelines to promote the health of the individuals. We think we should promote evidence based prevention too. No one will be surprised by me mentioning this. This should be evidenced based. Thanks for your video. Thanks for your invitation. I really like a good story, but the thing I like most of all is an evaluation report. It would be good to build on your experiences. We are disseminating the standards from the UNODC on treatment and prevention. In the standards, there are many strategies that are good at preventing and treating people and preventing violence. This is only one of the examples of the evidence based prevention that we promote. We have been working with WHO to provide and bring out some standards about what works. There are gaps, but we know a lot. We are, together with WHO, testing the standards. And once they are decided they will be circulated. We need to differentiate treatments for individuals. One of the great outcomes is that this is recognised at the global level. We are also working on other aspects, particularly to treatment as an alternative to criminal justice interventions. If you are interested, we are also hoping to talk with you about some treatment issues for comorbidities. Drug free approaches also need to talk about access to controlled medicines for those who need them – they are indispensable for human suffering. And we are working with UNODC, WHO and civil society to discuss the ways to overcome these barriers and start addressing this issue of drug control. In conclusion, there is a lot to do and we need to get together to promote strategies that respect human dignity and investment in children, youth and communities.

Esbjorn Hornberg (VNGOC): We have a broad spectrum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery organisations in our membership. This event is a good opportunity to discuss with people from all areas about your experience, sharing experiences and trying to understand the opportunities. And we need to have more discussions and we need to question, not just listen. With support of the Russian Federation we link to each other to share what is working and our competencies. I was impressed when we had the invitation to go to Moscow. Five went and we had time to discuss after the presentations – how can you have more than 200 out of 500 people going into recovery? I believe this is a start. I look forward to the next conference on 4th December.

Mirella (UNODC Civil Society Team): I want to echo what the VNGOC Chair has said. It’s really good to see a Russian voice in the VNGOC because the Committee must reflect the whole world. Until now they could not bring their voice to the international level. I had my first meeting with Nikita and I was moved by his story. I appreciate how much he knows and can share with his experiences. And this can now help others to do the same and bring in more than seven countries into your organisations. We are happy to have you in the Committee and the NGO Marketplace, and the world has become small and we can see the experiences of other NGOS. Good to see that there are possibilities for the youth to have the possibility to go through this into society.

Nikita Lushnikov: We are happy to enter the VNGOC as soon as we get the appropriate status. Numerous stories and the results are what we want to see. We have been working for 13 years. I started rehab in 2004. And from that time I have learned that there is nothing better than to help others. 14,000 people went through our system. 5,000 have been in remission for a state of time. That is a result. I would like to show one more video. As soon as the number went beyond 1,000 then the state started to pay attention and that gave us the possibility, and from this professional level they looked at our work and we can participate boldly in all sorts of events. We are interested in co-organising a major government platform and probably the first high level meeting and anti-drug conference. Over 40 countries already agreed to participate. I fully agree that these results should speak louder than words. We should not wait for the state but should find our own work. You are the aggressive community. The normal people are not the same as the person recently cured. There might be a reason to go back to drugs. We need to provide a new employment centre where youth can find a job and maintain sobriety.

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