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

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said