On 19 September 2014, as a guest of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Davit Sergeenko, stated: “Definitely, the usage of these drugs (krokodil, vint, jeff) has decreased by 90%.” FactCheck

took interest in this statement and verified its accuracy.

Based upon the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 586 cases of using vint and jeff  have been recorded as of 1 October 2014. The number was 1,726 last year. We compared the data of the first nine months of 2014 to the average data of the first nine months of the last year. According to this analysis, the usage of vint and jeff

  has decreased by 54% in 2014.

Table 1: Statistics of Using Vint, Jeff and Krokodil

in 2007-2014

 

Amphetamine Group (Vint, Jeff)

Desomorphine (Krokodil)

2007

896

-

2008

3,955

-

2009

1,965

-

2010

2,201

-

2011

1,018

344

2012

737

1,148

2013

1,726

3,249

2014 (as of 1 October)

586

14

As for the usage of desomorphine (so-called krokodil), only 14 cases were recorded in the first nine months of 2014. Last year, the rate was significantly higher and equalled 3,249. There was an average rate of 2,436 krokodil usage cases per quarter in 2013 based upon the average monthly usage statistics. Therefore, the usage of krokodil 

decreased by 99.6% in 2014.

FactCheck

also verified the statistics of drug usage from 2007 onwards.

Table 2: 

Statistics of Drug Usage in 2007-2014

 

Number of Persons Tested

Number of Positive Results

Percentage

2007

57,375

20,292

35%

2008

43,029

19,302

44%

2009

33,292

11,794

35%

2010

33,592

11,348

34%

2011

27,178

8,138

30%

2012

21,749

7,627

35%

2013

60,198

22,711

38%

2014 (as of 1 October)

38,119

9,824

26%

As the graph shows, the number of drug users has been changing every year from 2007 onwards. This period is not characterised by significant growth or decline trends. The lowest rate of drug users was recorded in the first nine months of the current year.

We decided to study the reasons for such a sharp decline in the number of users of the aforementioned drugs. Since 2009, there has been a sharp increase in the consumption of home-made drugs; more precisely, desomorphine (krokodil) and amphetamines (vint, jeff).

These drugs are prepared using medications containing codeine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. According to the law, the medications containing the aforementioned substances are equivalent to psychotropic drugs and are only sold in pharmacies and by a doctor’s prescription.The joint monitoring conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed that 99.9% of these particular medications had been issued without prescription. The administrative responsibility (penalties were increased) was tightened to solve the problem but to no avail. The next step was imposing criminal responsibility upon this crime. Moreover, based upon a joint order of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, quotas were defined for the import of certain substances which had not been subject to international control. This eradicated the possibility of the imported drugs being transferred to illegal channels. Deprivation of the right to pharmaceutical activity was added to the list of sanctions for the illegal selling of the aforementioned medications. Terms of punishments were increased as well.

FactCheck 

also took interest in the assessments of NGOs currently working on this problem.

New Vector is a drug users organisation with its projects involving mainly current or former drug users. The organisation covers seven community organisations, four initiative groups and 300 members. According to New Vector, the usage of home-made drugs has not decreased. Since the medicationscontaining codeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine are only sold by prescription, pharmacological drug abuse moved to the black market. Many drug addicts discovered and now use these substitutive drugs which are undetectablefor the most part by drug analysis. According to New Vector, the usage of vint, jeff and krokodil

might have indeed decreased but this is because they have been substituted by other drugs.

Conclusion The usage of vint and jeff decreased by 54% in 2014. As for the usage of desomorphine (krokodil), it decreased by 99.9% in the first nine months of 2014 with only 14 cases recorded. A decrease in the usage of the drugs noted by Mr Sergeenko has indeed been recorded this year but the decrease in the usage of vint and jeff

is significantly lower than he stated.

According to New Vector, the usage of the aforementioned drugs might have decreased but they have been substituted by the use of other drugs.

FactCheck concludes Davit Sergeenko’s statement: “Definitely, the usage of these drugs (krokodil, vint, jeff) has decreased by 90%,” is HALF TRUE.

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