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UN supports Russian initiatives for drug addicts - NGO head

The NADU head also pointed to the Union’s activities at the 61st session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held in Vienna in mid-March

MOSCOW, May 1. /TASS/. The initiative to establish a network of rehabilitation communities for drug addicts rejecting substitution therapy, which was put forward by Russia’s National Anti-Drug Union (NADU), has been supported on the United Nations’ platform in Vienna, NADU head Nikita Lushnikov said in an interview with TASS.

"We can say that the UN platform is a place where countries gladly support each other," he said. "United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov supported us and sent UNODC officials to visit our [rehabilitation] camps. They have already presented positive reports," Lushnikov added.

The NADU head also pointed to the Union’s activities at the 61st session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held in Vienna in mid-March. The Union presented the World Without Drugs program aimed at uniting rehabilitation communities that reject substitution therapy. "The Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs fully supported us and expressed willingness to cooperate," Lushnikov said, adding that "all the member organizations have contacted us, we are even planning to hold joint events."

According to the NADU head, the Union had been made a member of the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs and given the right to vote and put forward initiatives. "We are now working to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as we want to actively represent our country," he added.


Dialogue instead of disputes


At the same time, Lushnikov pointed out that NADU did not seek to oppose rehabilitation programs based on substitution therapy, which use methadone to replace illegal drugs.

"We want to create a platform [World Without Drugs] that would supplement the already existing substitution therapy systems because experience gained by our neighboring countries, Ukraine and Belarus, where such programs have been operating, shows that participants do not abandon the use of methadone though it is the main goal of such programs," Lushnikov added.

"So there will be dialogue and cooperation instead of disputes on which of the two programs is better," he noted.

The National Anti-Drug Union is a Russian non-governmental organization that brings together rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. Since 2017, NADU has been promoting its programs on the international stage, particularly within the United Nations agencies. In January 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed an international anti-drug forum arranged by NADU.