From Russia with Rigor

Last week the NY Times explored the “circle of hell” that is opiate addiction in Afghanistan, decrying the lack of any functional harm reduction or treatment programs in that perilously-close-to-failing state.  This Sunday’s paper takes us a bit farther east, to Ekaterinburg, Russia, the home of the controversial “City without Drugs” detox and “recovery” program, which the Times describes as “primitive, brutal, and ineffective.”

Kicking it Cold, Russian Style (photo: James Hill for the New York Times)

City without Drugs is clearly no Promises Malibu.  Based on the Times article, it would appear that there is in fact no “detox”– there is just being chained to a bed until withdrawal is over.  After that, it’s manual labor until somebody decides you’re ready to leave.  The facility does  not track its “clients” long term, so the founder’s claims of a 70% success rate seem hard to take seriously.

Read more