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Just days before the International Day against Drugs, I did an interview with two women who use drugs and sell sex in Yekaterinburg.
In this town people who use drugs have nowhere to turn. It offers nothing in return—no real treatment, no social support. This city is no different from the rest of Russia—just a bit harsher.
Drug dependency is an expensive condition to have. If you have no way of accessing treatment, you have to think of ways to live with it. This is an interview with two young women, whose drug dependency led them to do sex work. They talk about a vicious cycle that is impossible to break. And the most violent offenders are the police—those, who are supposed to be looking out for our safety in the first place.
The war on drugs has been going on for the last 50 years. And yet, there is just as much drugs in the world and just as many drug users. One of the outcomes of the war is that drug users are treated as outcasts who are denied their basic rights. They have nowhere to turn for help. The most vulnerable, powerless, and disparaged victims of this war are women. I started injecting drugs in I was using heroin.
First, I started drinking. Then I tried snorting heroin, after that—injecting it. I soon lost my job. Then I had no money for drugs. I wanted to keep getting high. I was dependent. So I went with them; we stood near the bus station here, in Yekaterinburg. During the day and at night. I needed money for drugs. Now I see how stupid I was, how young. Oksana: I did.