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Codeine-containing drugs to be obtained by prescription only

June 01, 2012, 14:08 UTC+3

Sales are banned because such drugs are used to make narcotic

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MOSCOW, June 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian government resolution allowing only prescription codeine drug sales comes into force this Friday, June 1.

It was suggested by a number of Russian regions a year ago, and the proposal was supported by the Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS).

The FDCS notes that sales of codeine-containing drugs without prescriptions are banned because such drugs are used to make narcotics, which are even more harmful than heroin. Medics call the drug desomorphine. Among addicts it is called "crocodile", as after consumption of such drugs, an addict's skin resembles that of a crocodile.

Desomorphine is the second drug for consumption frequency after heroin, but it is much cheaper.

The intensification of the fight against the narco-mafia and drug smuggling has a paradoxical result – addicts in some regions have replaced heroin with cheap drugs available in drug stores. Thus, drug addiction remained at the same level.

According to the regional drug control services, sales of codeine-containing drugs grew steadily and substantially in some regions, by several times in one-two years.

Regional authorities persistently made attempts to change the local legislation to prevent desomorphine addiction – to impose a ban on prescription-free codeine drug sales. Since 2011, the ban has been imposed in 21 Russian regions.

According to the FDCS, it has not worsened medical service in any of the regions. They have no shortage of pain relievers or cough suppressants. Modern anaesthetics and cough suppressing medicines available on sale are enough to meet the needs. Ill people will have no problems to receive a doctor's prescription for codeine-containing medicines if necessary. There are no reports so far about an inflow of people wishing to have a doctor's prescription for such drugs, and there is no increase either in the number of requests of doctors for prescription blanks, antidrug police noted.

The regions have clear positive trends. After the ban is imposed, the sales of codeine-containing drugs are considerably reduced. The number of crimes and offences linked with desomorphine traffic has decreased, and crime on the whole is reduced. The official data of state narcological centres also show lower drug consumption, the FDCS noted.


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