Stop the criminal prosecution of 24 y.o. Darya and allow the use of Bupropion in Russia!

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We’re asking to stop the criminal prosecution of Darya Belayeva (24 y.o. from Ekaterinburg) and other patients who are in need of Bupropion, and provide Russian pharmacies with the medication that has no substitutes and has some unique and valid properties.

Darya Belayeva is currently facing up to 20 years in jail for receiving a parcel that contained an anti-depressant. She is 24 years old which is almost the same amount of years she might have to spend behind the bars.

Since 2012 Darya has been treated for Schizotypal personality disorder. Derealization, depersonalization, drastic mood swings, apathy, panic attacks and anxiety, all of those are depressive symptoms that could not be fixed thus far.

Darya’s GP told her about Bupropion – a prescription drug that is used all over the world and leads to a significant improvement in 70-80% of the patients who had resistance for other types of anti-depressants.

With the help of her doctor Darya made sure that the medicine is not featured in any lists of controlled and illegal substances.

On April 8th Darya Belayeva was arrested while receiving the parcel with a prescription drug called Elontril (the main active substance in which is Bupropion). She was denied the contact with her family and lawyer, an interrogation was held at night which is a violation. On the same day Kol’zovskaya customs initiated criminal proceedings by the article of the Criminal Code № 229.1 (pt.3) (drug trafficking in large amounts, the punishment is 10 to 20 years in a colony) and № 228 (pt.2) (illegal purchase of drugs in large amounts) for receiving only one package weighed 10.69 grams (30 pills which is for approximately 30 days of treatment).

This medication can’t be sold in Russian pharmacies and the doctors are not able to give out prescriptions for it, since it has no legal registration. Nevertheless, it is not included in the list of controlled and illegal substances. Up to 2016 Bupropion was in the registry of Russia’s medical agents, but then the manufacturer took down the license. Apparently the company wasn’t getting any profit out of selling it on the Russian market.

In world’s practice Bupropion is used for treating different kinds of depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, nicotine addiction and also for increasing the effects of other anti-depressants and correcting the disordered sexual behaviors caused by medication. In the meantime, a dozen million people are currently taking it and those are patients, not drug addicts.

Bupropion is not mentioned in the list of narcotic and psychoactive substances and their precursors subject to control in the Russian Federation. Nonetheless in the result of a research an expert concluded that the substance is a derivative agent of a drug. How is that possible?

The problem is in the flaws of our anti-drug legislation. Nowadays there are many new psychoactive substances that legislators can’t keep up with and put them in the official list. To simplify the control a new term was invented – “derivative agent of a drug”.

An ordinary person could never guess what substance can be recognized as “derivative”. An expertise done by a professional is required to establish that. Yet only the chemical structures of the substances are compared, it doesn’t matter what kind of an effect the substance has on a human body, what properties does it have, does it lead to a drugged state, addiction, etc.

From a perspective of chemists and psychiatrists, claiming a substance to be narcotic or psychoactive following only the law’s text is not correct, but really convenient for law enforcements.

So it’s clear that many Russian patients are going to be denied a chance for treatment because there’s no substitute for Bupropion that could work the same way. Besides that, it is usually recommended when all other combinations have been tested already, this medication is the last chance for many – the only hope for curing or at least making it easier for the patient and lessening their suffering.

Anyone who is buying the medication is facing real time in prison. These people already suffer and are being denied the proper treatment, but now they are also being sent to jail. Is this humane? If someone who’s suffering won’t be able to put up with it and commits suicide? Who’s going to be responsible for that?

Unfortunately this isn’t the first case when because of confusing legislations patients have to suffer. A year ago the case of Ekaterina Konnova had a significant impact in this area. She purchased a prescription drug Diazepam in a form of micro-enemas for her 6 y.o. son who’s suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy. The rest of this expensive medication Konnova decided to sell through the internet, which led to her being accused of selling a narcotic substance. Thanks to the public’s attention the petition for Ekaterina’s defense was signed by 287 000 people. As a result the criminal proceedings were stopped.

We’re asking to stop the criminal prosecution of Darya Belayeva and several others, who are currently unfairly accused of trafficking and illegal trade of narcotic substances.

Darya and others who suffer from a mental illness should have a possibility of legal purchase and use of the prescription drug that can not be substituted.