Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Russia World Cup says yes to drugs – with a doctor’s note



Russia World Cup says yes to drugs – with a doctor’s note

Riot police take part in security exercises ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The World Cup organising committee has said security personnel will check for narcotics at the stadiums. AFP
Riot police take part in security exercises ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The World Cup organising committee has said security personnel will check for narcotics at the stadiums. AFP

Russia World Cup says yes to drugs – with a doctor’s note

You might have trouble buying a beer on match day in Russia, but World Cup fans may still snort cocaine at the stadium – provided they have a doctor’s note.

Some peculiar Russian rules are coming to light as the June 14-July 15 football extravaganza draws nearer.

One was spotted by intrepid reporters at Russia’s government-friendly Izvestia daily in February and received new attention this week.

The loophole in Russia’s no-nonsense approach to recreational drugs – they are all illegal – comes in a loose alliance it forged in 2014 with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The so-called Eurasian Economic Union now groups five former Soviet republics and produces reams of rules covering everything from medicine to flowers and pets.

One of them determines how foreign visitors to one of the five nations can bring in “narcotics, mood-altering drugs and their precursors”.

The list of substances legalised by the regulation includes hard drugs such as cocaine and heroine as well as the much softer marajuana.

The entire appendix to the drug regulation is 383 entries long.

None of this has been tried in practice and flying to Russia with a stash of hash is probably still not wise.

But the regulations do say that all 383 substances are legal as long as the user has a prescription that has been translated into Russian and properly notarised.

The note is also supposed to stipulate how much of each drug you intend to take.

The World Cup organising committee said security personnel will check for narcotics at the stadiums and only allow in the ones covered by the required paperwork.

‘I am in shock’

It is illegal to smoke during matches so the drugs will probably have to be ingested by other means.

“All of this is bad,” the health ministry’s addiction psychiatrist Yevgeny Brun told Izvestia.

“I do not think that people who come to the World Cup will start dealing marijuana. They are not bringing in that much,” said the doctor. “But I am in shock.”

He added that things could turn especially nasty at the stadiums because Russia will also be selling beer made by an official World Cup sponsor.

Izvestia said English-speaking doctors will be on hand.

But going the more traditional route and having a boozy party outside the arena may prove to be more problematic.

Alcohol will not be sold within a two-kilometre (1.2-mile) radius of stadiums and fan zones in Moscow throughout the tournament.

A Moscow government rule announced this week said the sales restriction will cover “alcohol and refreshment drinks in glass containers”.

The other 10 host cities are likely to adopt similar sales bans.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and