Basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted of drug possession and smuggling and sentenced to 9½ years in a penal colony in Russia. Niko Vorobyov: The case was also a reminder of Russia’s inhumane and rotten drug policies. The Russian government has even outlawed methadone, a substitute for heroin globally recognized for helping wean drug users off the hard stuff, he says. Vorobyova: Drug violations account for over a quarter of all Russian prisoners; those who can’t pay end up in Russian prisons, where torture and tuberculosis are everyday phenomena. He says a woman who dreamed of becoming a mother was told to get an abortion because she was HIV-positive, depressing her to the brink of suicide.
In Russia, we cannot even get accurate information about drug use because of laws against “narco-propaganda. NGOs are fined for giving safety advice to drug users; saying anything other than “drugs are bad” is basically a crime. Russia’s drug laws are cruel and