Legal Consultation Service




First Marijuana Rally in Tbilisi


Georgian Society Supports Tolerant Drug Policy


HIV Positive Fined for Efavirenz


New regulations on HIV/AIDS in Georgia


The strategy on medical service for prisoners infected with C hepatitis 


Manuals on Treatment Literacy and Treatment Advocacy


Methadone Treatment & American Way of Happy End in  Georgia


Penitentiary Institutions


UNODC Warns of Drug "Health Disaster" in the Developing World


Alcohol, Drugs and Driving


Treatment of Opioid Users in Prison Institutions


HIV/AIDS epidemiology in Georgia


Former spy, a citizen of Iran gives interview to Drug Policy Georgia


New Drug Policy for New Georgia


New Guidelines for Judges to Address Drug Use Punishment


Global Health and Human Rights Database
Officially Launched


Methadone Substitution Treatment Program in Georgia

















GeNPUD v. House of Justice
Drug Policy Georgia
March 26, 2018

On March 26, 2018, Tbilisi City Court Judge Tamar Chuniashvili delivered a landmark judgment on allowing an official registration of Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs for Human Drug Policy (GeNPUD).

The lawsuit was prepared on behalf of GeNPUD with the legal support provided by lawyer Levan Jorbenadze, after the LEPL National Agency of Public Registry's decision GeNPUD was rejected for official state registration. The registration rejection was based only on the name "problem" because in the opinion of public registry the name of GeNPUD seemed to be an attempt “to put the illegal activities in legal framework", which was unfounded and violated our community’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the European Convention. In the lawsuit and during the trial among legal arguments versus the Public Registry was used the Strasbourg Court’s judgments.

GeNPUD Executive Director Konstantin Labartkava’s, as well as the

representatives’ of ruling bodies of the organization and the members make statement that the Court's 26 March 2018 judgment is an important means for the protection of our rights and interests and the new opportunities to fight for our health and the rights and to further strengthen the democratic values in our country. The Judgment is one of the most important cases in the path of democratic development of our country, freedom of expression and the establishment of effective drug policy.

Executive Director of GeNPUD at the UN Session on World Drugs Problem Document 

Drug Policy Georgia
October 21, 2017

On September 26-28, 2017 in Vienna, at the headquarter of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the UN Drug Commission (Commission on Narcotic Drugs) post discussion session about the UNGASS adopted World Drugs Problem document was held. The session was attended along with the official representatives of the United Nations member states, by Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs organized and invited representatives of civil society and community organizations from different countries, where the interest groups and drug users’ community presented their own experience.

The UN's official sessions for CSOs were an effective opportunity to reach

out to the world leaders in the field of drug policy and to focus on the issues that are important in the countries’ ineffective drug policy change.

From Georgia as a representative from civic and community organizations was invited Constantine Labartkava – Executive Director of Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs (GeNPUD), who on September 28 session focused the attention of member states and attendees on repressive drug policy in Georgia which on a daily basis with cruel and violent actions violates the human rights, dignity and diminishes the future (see summary of the text link on the CND blog) of people, because Georgia remains in the region the only country where for personal consumption drug-related actions people are mercilessly persecuted as criminal offenders. Also, at the sessions has been pronounced that the punishment for drug offenses in Georgia is disproportionate, equal to and exceeds the category of serious crimes such as: trafficking, rape, murder and torture. 

Konstantin Labartkava has finished his word with the main message that not only drug policy, but the starting point for all policies and the target should be human, freedom and life.

The session lasted intensively for 3 days, with official speeches as representatives of member states and civil society representatives, including the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Estonia, China, Turkey and others. The official representative of Estonia emphasized the fact that the global problem of drugs cannot be resolved with criminal prosecution. States may address such measures as treatment, prevention, and educational issues. EU member states address one of those measures as an alternate to punishment, while the most recent drug policy in the EU also prefers to use alternatives instead to punishing, in this regard the gender issue should be addressed as well. Therefore we call on other member states to apply the same and use education, prevention, social rehabilitation; Great Britain - should make sure that treatment and services are available without discrimination; Turkey - draws attention that the prevention starts from family; China believes that the punishment is the discretion of the member States, but there should be focus on proportionality and from drug policy point on human rights; The NGO Help Not Handcuffs did focus on the growing problem in the United States such as heroin overdoses. The representative who used drugs in the past noted that human rights are violated mainly by law enforcement agencies. Death cases also happen when users are forced to enroll into certain programs; On September 27 the thematic sessions also focused on such important issues as access to opioids, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs on (VNGOC) representative Prof. Oliver said the repressive drug policies can hinder the treatment and the pain management with problems such as opioid availability and with such important purposes;  During the session, the representatives of the official member states and as well as the civil society organizations focused their speeches on the issues such as gender and special measures for women convicts in penitentiary institutions; Women who use drugs are most likely to be victims of rape and other forms of violence because of existing stereotypes; Investment in prevention and education; Human rights should be a priority for each drug policy document – all had been the issues of the speeches.

The session was not attended by any of the government representatives from Georgia, which still more than obviously sustains the opinion and mirroring all the sad reality happening in this country that the Georgian government will continue inhuman / repressive punishment and even won’t try to get listen to the civil society or adopt the draft law from people which has been initiated from the Nation Drug Policy Platform which if adopted in fact can dramatically change the situation for the benefit of society.

Constitutional Court's Judgment on Sowing, Growing and Cultivation of Weed
Drug Policy Georgia
July 19, 2017

Constitutional Court of Georgia declared unconstitutional the imprisonment for illegal sowing, growing and cultivation of weed up to 266 gr. The judgment (#№1/9/701,722,725) has been delivered on July 14, 2017 in Batumi, Georgia.

The case has been lodged to the Constitutional Court in December 2015 and February 2016 by citizens of Georgia Jambul Gvianidze, Davit Khomeriki and Lasha Gagishvili v. Parliament of Georgia. The applicants had been incriminated for different amounts of weed, up to 266 gr. The weed in the amount of 266 gr is the largest one and for the largest amount of narcotics plants’ (among them weed) sowing, growing or cultivation, Article 265 of the Criminal Code of Georgia provided imprisonment for a term of six to twelve years.  

Yet one more judgment about Marijuana but now for sowing, growing or cultivation is still based on and is a violation of Article 17, section 2 of the Constitution, which provides: No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. 

Constitutional Court's judgments in shaping drug policy of Georgia is significant at a time when parliament in this fall also considering the reviewing of the draft package in changing the law for decriminalization of all drugs, which has been submitted to parliament by National Drug Policy Platform. Many different cases still are pending in the Constitutional Court for decriminalization of all drugs and the hope for changing the cruel policies in a litigation way, which can be one of the most sustainable changes than the political will or promises of any of the political parties.
Constitutional Court Says no to Imprisonment for Raw Marihuana
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
February 19, 2017

On 15 February, 2017 the Constitutional Court of Georgia delivered judgment #3/1/855 on the basis of the reference submitted from Bolnisi Regional Court judge Tea Leonidze. The judge making the reference asked the Court the constitutionality of imprisonment for purchase/possession up to 100 gm raw marihuana under the Criminal Code of Georgia Article 260, section 1. Under the Article 260, section 1 imprisonment can be imposed up to 6 years.

On October 28, 2016 the judge stopped the hearing until the Constitutional Court would deliver the judgment in the case where person was charged for purchase/possession of up to 100 gm raw marihuana. The judge noted that the law related to 100 gm raw marihuana is harsher comparing up to 70 gm dried one where the Constitutional Court already declared the unconstitutionality of imprisonment in the case of Beka Tsikarishvili v. Parliament (application 592, judgment of October 24, 2015).  

The Constitutional Court in Bolnisi Regional Court’s reference case took the fact into account that there are no different characteristics and safety

issues between the raw and dried one and declared the imprisonment unconstitutional for purchase and possession of up to 100 gm raw marihuana.
Decriminalization/Legalization and the Constitutional Court
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/
December 31, 2016

On December 22, 2016 the Constitutional Court of Georgia regarding dried marijuana declares unconstitutional the imprisonment under the both: administrative and criminal responsibility. Under the Administrative Delinquency Code (Article 45) the use of imprisonment declared unconstitutional for illegal acquisition or possession of small amounts of drugs without a purpose of distribution, and/or their use without doctor’s prescription; And under the Criminal Code (Article 273) the use of imprisonment for illegal manufacturing, purchase and storage. 

The judgment technically is a cause of Ombudsman of Georgia’s lawsuit which has been filed on June 2016, to the Constitutional Court, demanding almost full decriminalization of all drugs. However on December 22, 2016 the Court declared the case partly admissible and noted that the plaintiff failed to prove why other punishments under the Criminal Code such as the fine and community service should not be imposed. On the admissibility stage such declaration from the Court can be already regarded as not a good sign and promising one.

At least it is already clear that from this lawsuit there is no perspective that full decriminalization of all drugs will happen. 

The judgment of December 22, 2016 is basically a repercussion of the previous judgments such as Tsikarishvili v. Parliament and the Supreme Court's references (#N771,775,776,777,786,787,788), which already has been found that under the Article 260 of the Criminal Code a purchase or possession of dried marijuana up to 70 grams for personal purposes had been regarded disproportional and as torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, and under Article 273 of the Criminal Code imprisonment for marijuana use was also found to be unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court while delivering the admissibility judgment of December 22 case primarily noted that it had already found a violation of Article 17 of the Constitution in the cases of Tsikarishvili v. Parliament and the Supreme Court's a number of references and this case technically gives the grounds to declare the unconstitutionality of the above mentioned prohibited activities.  

From the recent judgments of the Constitutional Court, can be mainly concluded that currently there is no responsibility in terms of jail under either administrative or criminal one for purchase or possession of dried marijuana up to 70 grams, use of marijuana or its manufacturing for personal purposes. But still: under administrative code there is a fine in the amount of 500 GEL, under the Criminal Code also fine in the amount of at least 1000 GEL and the community service for dried marijuana’s illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage or illegal consumption without medical prescription of drugs, their analogues or precursors in small quantity for personal consumption. 

Recent developments in Georgia indicates a rather increasing demands from the society to the drug policy liberalization, thus as towards the decriminalization of all drugs and the legalization of marijuana. In this conjuncture many cases still are pending in the Constitutional Court for decriminalization and legalization. Regarding the legalization the opposition party New Political Centre - Girchi leader Zurab Japaridze sees the legalization of marijuana as one of the most effective tool towards the economic boost and prosperity of the country and on 31 December the eve of the New Year as a protest against the government, with more than 500 registered sowers and thousands of supporters plans to plant the seed of marijuana right in the office of his political party. The Girchi already with this actions gained significant popularity and attracted thousands of official supporters via official facebook page.


Law Kills!

Drug Policy Georgia
December 10, 2016

For the forthcoming Human Rights Day on December 7 a rally was held to change the killer drug policy in the country. The rally which has been Initiated and organized by Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs (GeNPUD) with the support of Tanadgoma and Georgian Harm Reduction Network, also been supported by Georgian National Drug Policy Platform.

Many hundreds of people gathered around the organizers’ preinstalled gallows in front of parliament, in Tbilisi, demanding, and once again with concrete arguments, cases and emotions shouting on the government to keep the promises for drug policy change they’ve made before the elections.

The rally organizers demonstrated a gallows as a symbol to reflect the reality of Georgian drug policy, which has already during the several

decades been a negatively distinguished as inhuman, uncivilized and human killing drug policy. The very drug policy in this country which causes poverty, breaches the fundamental rights, among them right to life and right to be protected from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

It is absolutely staggering that in this country, because of the totalitarian persecution based system remains, it has already made many young people to commit suicide. In addition in spite of the promises, the current elect government seems not willing to change the zero tolerance policy and still continues the massive incarcerations, persecution of our families, raising the rate of crime, and fighting against the progress and community interests.     

The rally has been one of the important spotlights on December 7 in all kinds of media coverage, attracting the majority political and main opposition leaders for comments. On December 10 still one more rally has been organized by Georgian National Drug Policy Platform member the White Noise Movement with the main goal to change the drug policy and calling the government for full decriminalization of all drugs and once again demonstrating to the government that the community will unite and stand for the fundamental rights protection.

Imprisonment for Use of Marijuana is Unconstitutional
Drug Policy Change Via Litigation
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
September 30, 2016

Now on September 29, 2016 the Constitutional Court of Georgia declares unconstitutional the imprisonment for use of marijuana. The Court passed judgment after the Supreme Court's a number of references (#N771,775,776,777,786,787,788) to the Constitutional Court. Accordingly what is very important, it is now the Supreme Court’s contribution in the decriminalization of the use of marijuana.  

The Constitutional Court in this case primarily noted that as it had already found a violation of Article 17 of the Constitution in the case of Tsikarishvili v. Parliament and the punishment for purchase or possession of marijuana up to 70 grams had been regarded disproportional and as torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, than now Article 273 of the Criminal Code should be also declared unconstitutional in regards to marijuana use, which is not more dangerous than that of possessing it.  

The Current Article 273 of the criminal code of Georgia envisions

responsibility up to one year imprisonment for any drug use and provides:
“Illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage or illegal consumption without medical prescription of drugs, their analogues or precursors in small quantity for personal consumption, by a person who has been subjected to an administrative penalty for the commission of such an act, or who has been convicted of this crime, - shall be punished by a fine or community service from120 to 180 hours or by imprisonment for up to a year. Note: The fine defined in this article shall not be less than double the amount of the fine determined by the relevant article of the Administrative Offences Code of Georgia”. Administrative Offences Code of Georgia - Article 45: Illegal acquisition or possession small amounts of drugs without a purpose of distribution, and/or their use without doctor’s prescription, - will lead to a fine of 500GL or, in exclusive cases, according the circumstances of a case and personal characteristics of an offender when this measure is considered insufficient, - with administrative imprisonment up 15 days.

Georgian Constitutional Court continues the liberal moves towards decriminalization of marijuana and there are still very important lawsuits pending at the Court such as the Ombudsman of Georgia v. Parliament (claiming for full decriminalization from administrative and criminal responsibilities regarding all drugs); Konstantine Labartkava (chairman of “New Vector”), Malkhas Nozadze and Irakli Gigolashvili v. Parliament; in addition Vasil Mardaleishvili submitted the lawsuit v. Parliament. The plaintiffs in this case alleging unconstitutionality of the Law on Combating Drug-Related Crime, sections 1 and 2 of Article 3, for 3-5 years deprivation of rights of users such as driving license, medical and/or pharmaceutical practice and establish, manage, or represent a pharmacy; practice law;  job in pedagogical and educational institutions; job in public bodies - in treasury (budgetary) institutions of the state and local government; a right to be elected; the right to manufacture, purchase, store and carry weapons. The plaintiffs in addition alleging unconstitutionality of Article 17, subparagraph a) of Law on Public Service, which provides that a person shall not be recruited for public service if: he/she has unexpunged conviction for committing a premeditated crime.

As it seems from the recent developments in the drug policy of Georgia, this country is not far from full decriminalization of marijuana and all the other drugs, which finally will end the many decades of the zero tolerance/harshest drug policy in this country, but what is the most important Georgia already moves towards the decriminalization not by political way of changing the drug policy but in a litigation way. Thus in this juncture there is the strongest and stable legal background not to ever go back what it was like, the very background which has been created by Constitutional Court and then through references of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Constitutional Court judgments are final and not subject to appeal.

Drug Policy National Platform Statement on the death of Demur Sturua
August 20, 2016

Drug Policy Georgia joins the below mentioned statement on the death of Demur Sturua, who committed suicide on August 8, 2016 because of intimidation from a local police officer in Samtredia region. The police officer intimidated Demur Sturua to reveal the facts concerning Marijuana growing. He left the written letter describing the police officer’s conduct against him.

We are very concerned on the death of 22 year young man – Demur Sturua. We are deeply sad on his death and feel his family’s and friends’ sadness. We demand prompt and fair investigation of such a horrible fact and punishment of those who are responsible.

We are shocked about the fact that a young person might commit suicide on the basis of the intense influence, threat and violence from a police officer. The written letter left by him is a thorough reflection of  repressive

picture from

system and a widespread practice which has been formed by current drug policy. The current drug policy is soviet style remains directed only against persecution of people and unfair punishment, and exclusively serves law enforcement’s private institutional needs – having a tool of intimidation and fear to make forcible cooperation and information delivery. The drug policy of Georgia is irrational and inhuman, violates human rights and dignity. Georgian “killer” drug policy has no analogy in a civilized world. There is no evidence having positive results from such policy, on the contrary experience and facts that make young people criminals, torture, death and forms unfair and degrading public policy.

If the facts described in Demur’s letter confirmed, the responsible should be not only the very police officer but entirely the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of Georgia and those decision makers who by act or inactivity, helps the current reckless and inhuman drug policy in Georgia and who contradicts any progressive amendments within this directions.

We demand the Georgian Government for immediate drug policy reform, which at least includes the change of drug policy and increase of care and help programs. Georgian National Drug Policy Platform is ready to introduce the package of the legislative amendments and a detailed plan and contribute to drug policy reform process.

Georgian National Drug Policy Platform

Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs (GeNPUD), White Noise Movement, June 2 Movement, Addiction Research Centre – Alternative Georgia, Georgian Harm Reduction Network, Anti-Violence Network of Georgia, Georgian National Association of Mental Health, Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, Association of Georgian Addictologists, Georgian Mental Health Coalition, Georgian Community Advisory Board (Ge-CAB), Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC), Medical Centre “Uranti”, Clinic “Neogen”, New Vector, Article 42 of the Constitution, Tanadgoma, Hepa Plus, Rubikoni, Step to the Future, Akeso, Ksenoni, The Centre for the Protection of Constitutional Rights, Real People Real Vision, Positive Choice, Imedi, Pheniksi 2009, Hera XXI, New Way, Global Initiative in Psychiatry – Tbilisi, European Students for Liberty, The Initiative for Vulnerable Groups Rehabilitation, Public Unity “Bemoni”, Disease Prevention, Control and Nonproliferation Centre, Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre, Georgian Red Cross Society.   

New era of drug policy change lawsuits in the Constitutional Court
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
June 18, 2016

The Public Defender declared that imprisonment of drug users should be unconstitutional and on June 15, 2016 filed a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court, in which he disputes the constitutionality of article 45 of the Code of Administrative Offences and article 273 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. According to the Public Defender, the use of drugs without doctor's prescription is punished by a 15-day administrative detention, while in the repeated case drug users are punished by a fine of up to 1000 GEL and a 1-year jail, which is not in line with the public threat and interest that may be caused by the actions envisaged by the mentioned articles, and therefore, is in breach to paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 17 of the Constitution of Georgia, pertaining to protection of a person from degrading and inhuman punishment.

In addition the Public defender’s statement notes that a necessary element of a crime envisaged by article 273 of the Criminal Code of Georgia is an action, for which a person had already been held responsible; this is contrary to the principle of prohibition of repeated punishment of a person for one and the same crime, enshrined in article 42of the Constitution of

Georgia - "No one shall be convicted twice for the same offense."

On the basis of some high ranking disputed political cases there has been already for years so called strained relations between the Constitutional Court and other government branches particular the Ministry of Justice and Parliament. However it might be said that this situation gave some advantages to the plaintiffs.

In the drug policy field the Constitutional Court had already delivered the judgment in favor of the plaintiff. For example On October 24, 2015 in the case of Beka Tsikarishvili v. Parliament (application 592) the Constitutional Court of Georgia declared unconstitutional the imprisonment for purchase and keeping of marijuana for personal use. The court ruled that imposing such punishment is mainly a torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

In December 2015 the new case Konstantine Labartkava (chairman of “New Vector”), Malkhas Nozadze and Irakli Gigolashvili v. Parliament, followed. In addition an independent plaintiff Vasil Mardaleishvili submitted the lawsuit v. Parliament. The plaintiffs in this case alleging unconstitutionality of the Law on Combating Drug-Related Crime, sections 1 and 2 of Article 3, for 3-5 years deprivation of rights of users such as driving license, medical and/or pharmaceutical practice and establish, manage, or represent a pharmacy; practice law;  job in pedagogical and educational institutions; job in public bodies - in treasury (budgetary) institutions of the state and local government; a right to be elected; the right to manufacture, purchase, store and carry weapons. The plaintiffs in addition alleging unconstitutionality of Article 17, subparagraph a) of Law on Public Service, which provides that a person shall not be recruited for public service if: he/she has unexpunged conviction for committing a premeditated crime.

Public Defender declaring that country needs human rights based drug policy, as mentioned filed a new lawsuit to the Court seeking for complete depenalization and decriminalization of drug use. But this later case is very controversial one and can bring either positive or negative consequences. If the case is won and the Court declares that administrative and criminal punishment for drug use is unconstitutional then Parliament should adopt the new law, but if the case is lost then it gives very strong argument and evidence for pro punishment supporters and government against drug policy change advocates. 

Imprisonment for Purchase and Keeping of Marijuana is Unconstitutional
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
October 25, 2015

On October 24, 2015 in the case of Beka Tsikarishvili v. Parliament (application 592) the Constitutional Court of Georgia declared unconstitutional the imprisonment for purchase and keeping of marijuana for personal use. The court ruled that imposing such punishment is mainly a torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

On October 24 the Constitutional Court made a big and progressive step for changing the repressive drug policy of Georgia and took a heavy burden out of the society, which in general one more time highlighted Georgia’s rank in democratic index in the region and at an international level.    

According to the official website of the Constitutional Court where the information published on 24 October 2015 the court notes that purchase and keeping of 70 grams of marijuana for which the applicant is charged cannot be indicative towards the purposes of sale or its real intent, and imposing the imprisonment amounts to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment confronting the Article 17 of the Constitution.

Article 17 § 2 of Georgian Constitution provide: “No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment”.

The Court further notes that current legislation considers 50-500 grams of marijuana as a large amount. The Court considers that keeping 70 grams of dry marijuana do not represent such an amount which might indicate to the intention of sale of drug.  The court noted that legislature have an obligation to form such provisions which will enable a judge to find the fact if there is an intention of sale during purchase or keeping of marijuana or probability of such an intention and finally impose the imprisonment only in the case of established intention of sale.  

It is worth mention that this marijuana judgment coincided to a period when the Constitutional Court perceived in society as an angry one and confronting with parliament which is the result of the Court’s previous 16 September 2015 judgment in the case the former Tbilisi mayor George Ugulava v. Parliament. This judgment enabled one day freedom to George Ugulava, who has corruption charges and is imprisoned. After that judgment of the Constitutional Court, on the one hand the majority MPs from the ruling party, among them the chairman of parliament and on the other the chairman of the Constitutional Court made confronting statements against one another.  

The Constitutional Court has not released an official judgment yet, which abolishes the use of imprisonment for purchase and keeping of marijuana without the intention of sale, which will enable public more important and positive details to know, but it should be also mentioned that the Court did not rule on the decriminalization of marijuana because it was not a subject of the dispute and a claim in this case.


Intention to mitigate the massive drug tests

Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
October 18, 2015

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia issued a new specific instruction – ordinance #725 with the intention to instruct police officers in the administration of drug tests. Administrative Offences Code of Georgia punishes first time offenders with fine 500 GEL and administrative detention up to 15 days for purchase or storage of a small quantity of drugs without the intent to sell and/or use of drugs without a doctor’s prescription. If it reoffended then criminal prosecution started and punished with higher fines and up to 1 year in jail or up to the circumstances of the case even without administrative offences it might be up to 14 years or life imprisonment.  

Every single person can be subject to drug urine testing if reasonably suspected. The very first drug positive test is very important as it puts the drug user in the special list maintained by police, which is one of the unamended and complicated list. The system of the list allows the law

enforcement to determine the further arbitrary prosecution activities. The drug tests conducted under the conditions of violation of the basic human rights principles. In the most cases drug tests are useless and having direct negative impact on human dignity and life. The drug tests are subject of even of political prosecution using it as a tool against political rivals and for other illegal activities.

Massive drug tests were always subject to public criticism. With the intention to put to the end of this practice the Minister of Internal Affairs issued new instruction taking effect on October 1, 2015, but this new regulation is under question and it mostly depends how effectively it will be administered in practice. The ordinance still gives a very wide margin of interpretation to carry out drug-testing in cases such as: a) A law enforcement official witnessed drug use; b) Official while according to the law on police conducting preventive measures such as - identifying a person, carrying out frisk and examination of a person, carrying out special inspection and examination, carrying out special police control, ordering to leave a place and prohibiting entrance to a certain territory and there is enough reason to suggest a person used drugs; c) The information obtained from the criminal intelligence activities, LEPL emergency service 112 or the information from an identified person.

Even the subparagraph c) The information obtained from the criminal intelligence activities can be subject to manipulation and speculation, which was the case until 1 October, 2015 and even putting it into the instruction can make no difference. In addition the article 4 paragraph 3 of the ordinance 725 allows the use of coercive measures (use of physical force, special means) if the person refuses drug- testing.

The instructions for police officers were one of the recommendations from public organizations and independent activists but how this new regulation with such wide interpretations will be put in practice is still up to the will of the government and judicial system.   

The state of Colorado success after one-year legalization
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
January 24, 2015

Tens of thousands of people were not arrested for marijuana possession, the state has collected nearly $40 million in new tax revenue, and almost $8 million has been allocated to fund youth education and drug prevention efforts. The report of the US based non-profit the Drug Policy Alliance also gives us the significant figures regarding decrease in crime rates, a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and an increase in jobs and all since January 1st 2014 when first retail marijuana stores opened.

Here are some of the interesting highlights from the report: Decrease in Crime Rates - burglaries in Denver decreased by 9.5% and overall property crime decreased by 8.9%; Tax Revenue - tax revenue from retail marijuana sales amounted to $40.9 million between January 2014 and October 2014, not including revenue from medical marijuana and licenses and fees. Colorado joint budget committee set aside $2.5 million to increase the number of health professionals in Colorado public schools. Many of the newly hired health workers, including nurses and social workers, will focus on mental health support and on programs to educate students about drug use.

Decrease in Traffic Fatalities - challenging claims that the legalization of marijuana would lead to an increase in traffic fatalities, there opposite to show: in the first 11 months of 2014, the state had 436 traffic fatalities, a 3% drop from the 449 fatalities in the first 11 months of 2013. Youth Prevention Efforts - the state has allocated more than $8 million in retail marijuana tax revenue for youth prevention and education, mental health and community based developmental programs (read the full report).

For the first time, on November 6, 2012, two American states Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana, followed by Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC. Then it took about a year to kick the process of regulations and now we hear the success stories not only from Colorado. Still some other states are already willing to follow weed legalization. At the same 2012 the full legalization also took place in Uruguay, bringing its president José Mujica a Nobel peace prize, who talked-about marijuana legalization as a tool for peace and understanding.

On June 2, 2013 the first marijuana rally “2.06” took place in Tbilisi which made history, however country of Georgia still makes no progress regarding the change of cruel and inhuman drug policy, but opposite is happening: detaining and hunting on youth and their families, crime rate rising, fighting against development and society, which finally favors the black market and causes the corruption.


No more punishment for overdoses

Drug Policy Georgia

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
August 14, 2014

Medical institutions and its doctors were obliged to report the cases of drug overdoses to police and many of them in fact obeyed 5 December 2000, #239/ order of the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. The controversial order made reluctant many overdose witnesses and victims for applying the medical service providers because of the fear of not caught by police. As a result there were many fatal cases.

On August 11, 2014 the order was amended and is already in force. Since 11 August 2014 the medical service providers have no obligation to report the drug overdose cases to police. On August 12 the amendment was widely circulated in the news media. As one of the representative from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) noted there was an internal regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs not to go after the overdose cases – thus it was a de facto during past two years and now it is a de jure situation.

This new amendment in drug legislation is a progressive change however Georgia still has one of the harshest drug policies in the region and on its account many individual victims and families.

According to the current legislation drug use, keep and purchase for the purpose of personal use in small quantities is still punishable either by fine 500 GEL or administrative imprisonment up to one month, while during a one year if busted second time a drug user is subject to the criminal prosecution with the highest fines which might be some 5000 GEL and imprisonment up to one year. At the same time because of inhuman and unclear practice most of the drug users prosecuted under article 260 of criminal code with up to 11, 7-14 years or life imprisonment and deprivation of fundamental civil rights. There is no categorization of drugs and any practical distinction between dealers, casual users, commercial dealers and dependent users. In addition there is no distinction of soft and hard drugs neither in theory nor in practice.

The current legislation of Georgia allows the de facto decriminalization of all types of drugs but there is still no political will to implement pragmatic drug policy and save human life, protect public health and interests of the society.

Global Health and Human Rights Database
Officially Launched
Drug Policy Georgia
November 30, 2013

The Global Health and Human Rights Database ( is a free online database of judgments from around the world relating to health and human rights. This Database is a free searchable online database for now with the thousands of judgments, national constitutions and international instruments related to the health and human rights.

As one of the most fundamental rights the right to health and other health-related rights have been enshrined in a number of international treaties, regional instruments, and national constitutions and laws. The rights to health and in this regard the states’ obligation to provide not only just access to the right to health but with certain attainable standards have been the issue of interpretation and challenge for national courts and international and regional human rights bodies all around the world.

The Database is the first attempt to make health and human rights law from both common and civil law jurisdictions available online for free of charge, and features case law from around the world. The Database provides original translations of the case law previously unavailable in English.

According to the Global Network for Public Interest Law an official public launch of the Database was held on 24 October 2013, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Lawyers Collective and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University developed the database in collaboration with a worldwide network of civil society and individual attorney partners. In Tbilisi, Georgia attorney partners of the Lawyers Collective were Levan Jorbenadze, Drug Policy Georgia and Nato Papava.

Lawyers Collective ( is a New Delhi, Mumbai based leading NGO in India focusing on strategic litigation and advocacy in HIV/AIDS and women’s rights.

The creation of the Database made possible with the support of the Levi-Strauss Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The Database might be useful for research and lawyer practitioners and for scholars or policy makers analyzing the legal documents.

My Repression, Your Regress
Drug Policy Georgia
November 24, 2013

“Existing drug policy is oriented on punishment of people who use drugs rather than their support and social reintegration. This further intensifies the problem and negative consequences caused by it” – this was one of the main reasons that “Georgian Network of People using Drugs“ on November 24 2013 organized a protest action against “Street Drug Testing”. The protest action with the drug testing improvisation as urinating into the state budget was held in front of Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) building.

This protest action as an event was also created on facebook by Giorgi Gogua: “Based on repressive drug legislation, for the past decades Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) have been implementing punitive approaches towards people who use drugs (PUDs), which deteriorated their health conditions, caused severe socio-economic harms to their families and caused their isolation, further aggravating overall situation. Unfortunately,

despite the change in government MIA still continues punishment of PUDs.

One of the methods is so called “street drug testing”. Police take thousands of citizens to specialized facilities for drug testing leading to administrative and penal sanctions which is a heavy burden for PUDs and their families".

One more victim of Marijuana criminalization in Tbilisi
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
July 21, 2013

A young, 36 years old male Mamuka Mikautadze committed suicide after police interrogation on marijuana charges. He was arrested in Tbilisi when his friend approached by car to give him some marijuana as a gift.

Both persons were taken at the main Tbilisi police division. According to the official testimony on July 5 2013 Mamuka confessed against his friend who brought him marijuana. It was also reported the he was threatened with 9 years of imprisonments. Right after the interrogation at the next day on July 6 he was found hanging from a rope in tree near the Tbilisi Sea.

“You will have to live and raise children alone because after such a fact I not be able to continue living" – the words that he said to his wife, which was

reported by media. In addition he said to his family and friends that he was subject to inhuman and degrading treatment during the police interrogation.

According to the alternative independent forensic examination there were bruises found on Mamuka’s face, which once again confirmed the version of some mistreatment at the police main department. 

On July 16, 2013 the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied any allegations and misconduct of police and released the official investigation case files to the public. According to the national forensic conclusion there were no sign of a physical injury on the face of Mamuka Mikautadze but injury to the neck, which caused Mikautadze’s death, were found on the body. Thus, the General Inspection at the Ministry of Internal Affairs concluded that there were no signs of physical pressure against Mamuka Mikautadze from the criminal police officers.  

The investigation is still underway. There are versions on the causes of suicide whether police, some stereotypic dumb attitudes in the communities, ‘criminal authorities’ and etc., but the root of all these human tragedies are the senseless criminalization of drugs including marijuana and no pragmatic approach to these issues. According to the current legislation of Georgia there are no distinction of soft and hard drugs neither in theory nor it is in practice. The drug charges are extremely unreasonable which up to life imprisonment. The only distinctions are in quantities of drugs but not in line with the reality.

On June 2, 2013 the first such scale marijuana rally “2.06” held in Tbilisi made history, organized via social network - facebook. The public demanded decriminalization of marijuana with one of the points that in the 21st century a state prosecution of users unacceptable for a civilized world. Recently speaking at the press conference Minister of Health on May 10 pointed out to distinguishing marijuana from other drugs. He added the issue required a "well-considered strategy" and said the legalization of marijuana could be a part of it. At almost same time the president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said that during his political party leadership it was a stupidity to arrest people for marijuana.

The current legislation of Georgia allows the de facto decriminalization of all types of drugs but there is still no political will to implement pragmatic drug policy and save human life, protect public health and interests of Georgian society. 

First Marijuana Rally in Tbilisi
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
June 2, 2013

Today on June 2, 2013 the first such scale marijuana rally “2.06” held in Tbilisi made history, organized via facebook event by rally management group called “We Demand Marijuana Legalization”. This facebook page - “We Demand Marijuana Legalization” created on 07/14/2010, and as for June 2, 2013 had almost 5,704 Likes. The event with a demand of marijuana decriminalization via facebook was carefully planned some months ago and as for June 2, at 14:00 had some 12,396 going confirmed participants.

The rally participant gathered on Rustaveli Av. in front of former parliament building demanding for decriminalization of marijuana. The organizers of rally with the facebook page called “We Demand Marijuana Legalization” but for now demanding decriminalization with quite carefully formed demands in three points: 1. our goal is to protect personal liberty and not to popularize

marijuana; 2. maybe the use of marijuana not preferred but in the 21st century a state prosecution of users unacceptable for a civilized world. 3. we think that there should be a categorization of drugs – marijuana should be separated from those drugs which are subject to criminal prosecution and to be decriminalized the use of this drug. The administrative fine with a reasonable amount should be imposed only for using marijuana in the public places. 

Prior to the “2.06 rally” as reported by United Press International David Sergeyenko the Minister of Health, affiliated to the ruling party Georgian Dream on May 10 during the press conference, pointed out "ban-related mechanisms," such as Georgia's laws against marijuana, "often entail a ricochet effect, which means strengthening and development of other directions," a reference to distinguishing marijuana from other drugs. He added the issue requires a "well-considered strategy" and said the legalization of marijuana could be a part of it.

At a time president Saakashvili, now as a leader of minority political party while meeting with the students said that during his political party leadership it was a stupidity to arrest people for marijuana.

Prior to the parliamentary elections the Political Coalition “Georgian Dream” in its political program declared to amend the criminal prosecution of drug use, keeping and purchase in small quantities (see p. 11). However the new majority party Georgian Dream is in power since October 2012 parliamentary elections, but until now there are no changes of zero tolerance policy. Also the Ministry of Internal Affairs still opposing any drug policy liberalization, in addition in the newly introduced 2013 police system development  strategy document drug users are identified as potential lawbreakers who are involving others in drug usage (see subparagraph   

Georgia still has one of the harshest drug policies in the region and many individual victims and families on account. According to the current legislation drug use, keep and purchase for the purpose of personal use in small quantities (5 gr. in case of marijuana) punishable either by fine 500 GEL or administrative imprisonment up to one month, while during a one year if busted second time a drug user is the subject to the criminal prosecution with the highest fines which might be some 5000 Gel and imprisonment up to one year. However because of inhuman and unclear practice most of the drug users prosecuted under article 260 of criminal code with up to 11, 7-14 years or life imprisonment and deprivation of fundamental civil rights. There are no categorization of drugs and any practical distinction between dealers, casual users, commercial dealers and dependent users.       

As reported the commission at the Ministry of Justice is still working on the amendments to the drug legislation which supposed to be submitted to the parliament.  

Supreme Court of Georgia: no proportionality during the retroactivity 
Drug Policy Georgia
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
December 22, 2012

The Supreme Court of Georgia explained in a drug related case that the newly emerged circumstances during rehearing the case can not be subject to review the case in terms of proportionality of the imposed sentence and other mitigating factors in a given case. 

This judgment followed the new law of 22 May 2012, on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, Precursors and Narcological Aid. The new law first time sets small quantities for Heroin and Methadone and thus has a retroactive effect. The newly set quantities enabled many drug crime convicts to reapply the Appeal Courts and reset their sentence from section 2 to 1 of the Article 260 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. Majority of drug users in the country are sentenced according to the section 2 of the article 260 of the Criminal Code. At the material time article 260 section 1 provides: Illicit preparation, production, purchase, keeping, shipment, transfer or sale of drugs, the analogy or precursor thereof,- shall be punishable by imprisonment for up to 11 years in length and article 260 section 2 among them paragraph a) for the same action 

perpetrated in large quantities shall be punishable by imprisonment ranging from 7 to 14 years in length.

imprisonment for up to 11 years in length and article 260 section 2 among them paragraph a) for the same action perpetrated in large quantities shall be punishable by imprisonment ranging from 7 to 14 years in length.

In this case the applicant on 28 September 2010 pursuant to the section 2 of article 260 was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment, punishment below maximum. After the new law adopted, on 26 July 2012 the 31 years old applicant applied to the Tbilisi Appeal Court to change qualification from section 2 to 1 of the article 260 and because of the mitigation of law he sought the circumstances of the case taken into account and his sentence proportionally reduced. His sentence under article 260 from section 2 to section 1 was qualified but the mitigating factors in the case file was not assessed and the applicant was given 11 years of imprisonment which is the maximum sentence under section 1 of article 260.

In this Supreme Court case (№39აგ-12) the applicant was alleging that his sentence was not mitigated but contrary became harsher. The applicant asked to review the circumstances of his case and mitigate the sentence in his appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court composed by judges: Davit Sulaqvelidze, Giorgi Shavliashvili and Paata Silagadze rejected the applicant’s claim and ruled that the court pursuant to the Article 3 section 2 of the Criminal Code “not allowed” reviewing the proportionality of the sentence and the fairness of a judgment. Article 3 section 2 of the Criminal Code provide: “If a new criminal law commutes the sentence for the action wherefore the convict is serving it, this sentence must be shortened to the extent permitted by the new criminal law”.        

There were no minimum quantities defined for heroin and methadone before, and there are still no minimum quantities defined for many drug substances. In addition the experts and drug user communities considering the newly set minimum quantities of 0.2 gram for heroin and methadone not relevant and unfair. 

This judgment of the Supreme Court is not only theoretically narrow-minded but unfair and inhuman.

In 2006, since the declaration of Zero Tolerance Policy, in Georgia it is still continued the implementation of the inhuman drug policy, which is wasted and mostly focused in law enforcement.

Drug Policy Legislative Review
Responsibilities and Rights
November 24, 2012
Drug Policy Georgia

Is it possible or not, and what kind of effective ways should exist to change harmful drug policy in Georgia, who must be active and who is to participate in this process. These were one of the heated topics among participants willing to discuss. It was underlined that the unities of these self organized communities and to speak up about the violations and the principal protection own rights are necessary, also to reach their voice not to only public in general but particular policy makers at local, central legislatures and executive governments.

The meeting-seminar with the users’ self-help group was organized in Tbilisi, at the office of NGO New Vector. This meeting made possible within the European Union funded project. The meeting was lead by lawyer Levan Jorbenadze. During the meeting

the discussed actual topics interesting among this group were: general review of Georgian drug policy, drug use – administrative and criminal responsibilities, HIV-positive peoples’ responsibilities and rights. The participants provided with the information about new legislative amendments and how they can effectively stand for their rights at the domestic and international level. 

The participants actively discussed the de facto drug use decriminalization and necessity of legislative amendments in this field as well as essential measures for effective drug policy at the country level. 

Drug Use in Georgia
Drug Policy Legislative Review
October 7, 2012
Drug Policy Georgia


The presented drug policy legislative review planned and published in July 2012. This review made possible within the EU funded project: “Harm reduction- an oppression or the evidence based interventions: promoting empowerment, awareness and informed policy responses in Georgia”. The project was implemented by “Georgian Harm Reduction Network” and the “Penal Reform International” Tbilisi office.

The review is not general but rather deals with those detailed amendments that have a critical importance to change one of the harshest drug policies in the region. Based on the complexity of the topic there is no attempt the review to include every issue of concern but to take into account those necessary needs which have the most importance in every democratic society to make a reduction of those harms caused by

Picture is real, no imitation, taken in Tbilisi

illegal and problematic use of drugs. The presented review is about the existing drug policy in Georgia during the past decade. The review includes periodically, especially since 2006 how Georgian drug policy has been “developed” and “evolved” towards the harshness not only at criminal but in civil fields too.

The review of Georgian drug policy gives us in fact an opportunity to realize that cruel approach chosen by legislature. Also it enables all interested persons to see clearly about the necessity of those legislative amendments which first of all are in the interest of the society and thus that of democratically developing state.

Currently the publication available only in Georgian

By Levan Jorbenadze
Drug Policy Georgia

Georgian Society Supports Tolerant Drug Policy

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
June 2, 2012

On May 29, 2012 the Ministry of Justice of Georgia revealed Crime and Security Survey results in Georgia. The survey comparable to recent years still shows that Georgia emerges as one of the safest places in Europe.

The part of the survey of drug crime reveals that 71% of respondents consider establishing tolerant attitude towards those who were ever addicted to drugs and 69% think that community has an obligation to take a very good care of drug users. Only 32% thinks that drug user should not be employed in public institutions and 11% neither opposes nor agrees with this opinion. 59% consider that drug users need treatment and only 7% support imprisonment.

According to the Ministry of Justice – one more 2011 survey conducted last year by Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the same 2012 survey results about drug crime. The Ministry of Justice claims the surveys became the foundation in forming the new drug policy in Georgia.

2012 Crime and Security Survey carried out with the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, by Georgian Opinion Research Business International “Gorbi” institute and supported by the European Union.

Nowadays police in some cases tolerates drug use but Georgia still has one of the harshest drug legislation in Europe. Additionally the new draft law on narcological aid which to be adopted soon stipulates new unfavorable provisions among them about the advertisement and propaganda of “drug use places” that in future might be an impediment for harm reduction service providers and advocates in Georgia. 


The Chance to Reclaim the Deprived Rights

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
April 28, 2012

On April 10, 2012 the Parliament of Georgia adopted the amendments to the law on the Procedure of Execution of Non-Imprisonment Sentences and Probation. According to the parliament the amendments were initiated by MPs Kakhaber Anjafaridze and Zviad Kukava. For now the amendments can mitigate the conditions of any person convicted in drug crime who according to the law Against Drug Crime are deprived the significant fundamental civil rights such as driving license, doctor’s license and attorney license; pedagogical practice and the right to be employed in an educational institution; passive right (being elected) to participate in elections; right to be employed in public institutions; right to make, buy, keep and bear arms.   

If a person convicted in drug crime wants to reclaim the deprived rights or reduce the period of deprivation, must apply to the Standing Commission and should submit the appropriate conclusion of the drug test. However it is up to the Standing Commission to decide in any

particular case. The Standing Commission operates under the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance and consists by the appointed members from the Ministry, legislative institution, High Council of Justice and one member from the community based organization. Accordingly the members of this Standing Commission are appointed by the Minister of the aforementioned Ministry, Parliament and High Council of Justice.  

Georgia has one of the harshest drug policies in the region. The law Against Drug Crime was enacted since 3 July 2007. This statute deprived the mentioned main civil rights ranging from 3 to 15 years to the persons convicted in drug crime. However since that time there were attempts to mitigate the conditions such as the legislative amendment of February 25, 2011 which made only exceptions in the case of plea bargaining between a prosecutor and an accused. The law Against Drug Crime strictly did not allow any reduction of time and reclamation of the deprived rights.        


6 Years Instead of Execution

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
April 1, 2012

As reported on October 2010 in Malaysia two women, both Georgian citizens were arrested and charged for drug crime. They had drug - Methamphetamine in the large amounts. The accused Georgian citizens’ life was under threat as the law of Malaysia till now stipulates capital punishment for such drug crime.

Mainly the Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Public Defender of Georgia began to cooperate and negotiate with the Malaysian state appropriate bodies and organizations. For now according to the released information Georgian citizens have the qualified defense attorneys who also discovered some new circumstances in the case.

According to the detainees’ version they knew nothing about the drugs. From the outset when such information released, one of the detainee’s husband who arrived from Turkey, voluntarily appeared to Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia and gave affidavit about his “main”

role in this drug crime. Then the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia sent the acquired evidences to the Malaysian counterparts.

On March 31, 2012 the Ministry of Justice of Georgia released information that Darejan Kokhtashvili’s as one of the detainee’s accusations mitigated and instead of execution she was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment.

There are still ongoing negotiations in Malaysia and the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia hopes to succeed in this case as well and save the life to one more detained citizen of Georgia.


HIV Positive Woman for Human Rights

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
January 29, 2012

On 26 June 2012 information was released that HIV positive woman dead at Kutaisi Hospital in Georgia. Her name was Lamzira Chaladze, who showed enough courage and in 2005 openly stated that as result of medical personnel’s illegal actions she was infected with HIV.  

In addition Lamzira Chaladze applied to the court to protect her fundamental rights and requested reimbursement of 200 000 GEL for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

According to the 25 September 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia in March 2001 the plaintiff gave birth by caesarean section at Kutaisi #2 Maternity House. Her relatives bought 600gr erythrocyte mass and karyoplasms from LLC “Kutaisi Regional Blood Bank” as she lost a large amount of blood and needed transfusions. The transfusion performed. As later in September 2005 became known she and her newborn child were HIV positive.

LLC “Kutaisi Regional Blood Bank’s” irresponsible and faulty action incurred the hugest pecuniary and moral damages to Lamzira’s family. Stigma and discrimination continued for years against Lamzira and her family members. Lamzira had husband and some children.

On 26 June 2006 Kutaisi City Court partly satisfied Lamzira’s lawsuit and LLC “Kutaisi Regional Blood Bank” was imposed 20 000 GEL in favor of the plaintiff. The decision was appealed by both parties to Kutaisi Appellate Court. Lamzira Chaladze requested to fully satisfy her claim and the respondent requested to void entirely the judgment for imposing 20 000 GEL, but neither of the parties were satisfied and the decision of Kutaisi City Court left unchanged.

Lamzira Chaladze did not appeal against the decision of Kutaisi Appellate Court in spite of the fact that her request partly was satisfied for 10% and instead of 200 000 she got 20 000 GEL.

Only LLC “Kutaisi Regional Blood Bank” appealed again to the Supreme Court of Georgia and requested to void the judgment on imposing 20 000 GEL. The representatives of the LLC “Kutaisi Regional Blood Bank” noted: the court unduly considered that Lamzira Chaladze was infected from the donor’s transfusions as the donor’s blood was not tested for HIV.

The Supreme Court composed by judges: Mikheil Gogishvili, Nunu Kvantaliani and Mariam Ciskadze held that manufacturer obliged to provide the information of expected results as it makes a sale of goods, which directly refers to the absolute rights to life and health.

Regional Dialogue of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law
Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
May 31, 2011

According to the Commission – Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the only region in the world where the HIV epidemic remains on the rise and there are approximately 1.4 million people living with HIV. The Ukraine and Russia account for about 90 percent of the new HIV infections. Access to antiretroviral treatment remains low and accounts only 19 percent. Particular concerns are vulnerable groups, such as injecting drug users accounting about 60 percent of the new HIV infections, as well as people in prisons and police jails. Five countries do not allow opioid substitution treatment; drug use is made a crime in six countries. Three countries criminalize sex work.

On 18-19 May, 2011 in Chisinau the capital of Moldova more than 110 activists those with direct, personal experience; working with affected and vulnerable population; Academic workers, lawyers, advocates and Government representatives from 13 countries met for this Regional Dialogue and discussed one of the main issue such as legal barriers


which blocking progress on HIV and AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The purpose of the meeting with the activists in the field was to ensure their voices are heard and the final recommendations are based on the practice of the law.   

The working method of the commission was clear and rather global. First the commission collected letter based submissions from all the active activists from the region. With these submissions the activist wished to drew the commission’s attention on the problems existing in their native countries. The commission selected several probably from a number of thousands of the submissions and invited their authors. On the first day the regional dialogue conducted in parallel regime and the organizers separated the government and civil representative in different conference halls. As planed not all government representatives from those 13 countries of the region attended and just three of them joined to the activists on the second day.

Contrary to the government the activists were very active with full of enthusiasm raised their concerns as most with from personal experience with the goal to help the commission to make the outmost to address their governments with the most vivid and effective recommendations and concrete plan to follow-up.

The Global Commission on HIV and Law launched in June 2010 by UNDP to provide global leadership on HIV-related legal and human rights issues by: analyzing interactions between legal environments, human rights and HIV; fostering evidence-informed public dialogue on the need for right-based law and policy in the context of HIV and finally identifying clear and actionable recommendations.

Vivik Divan a lawyer from Bombay, who works with the UNDP Group’s Cluster on Human Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversities in New York, opened the first day of the regional dialogue among activists and gave a rather short introduction about the commission and answered some of the questions. He underlined the independence of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law from the UN clusters and stated that final product of the commission will be the powerful recommendations not the book with 500 pages.

JVR Prasada Rao the member Secretary, Commission pushed the enthusiasm on the participants stating: “you can be a change agent…”

Throughout the two day dialogue the activists worked hard and dispersed with the hope that their country governments will listen to the recommendations which should be ready at the end of 2011.

What the US State Department Report on Drug and Chemical Control Activities Says

March 8, 2011
Drug Policy Georgia

The new 2011 Report on Georgia is comprised by 4 sections and some of the subsections. First the report describes that Georgia produces no narcotic drugs but for its location bridging Asia and Europe, Georgia is becoming a major transit corridor for drugs of abuse produced elsewhere.

The report mentions that visa free travel agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran can lead to more drugs flow. In 2010 Georgia signed this agreement with Iran. Consequently concerns follow if appropriate inspections and checks are not instituted and enforced; this agreement could lead to still more drugs entering Georgia: “This seems likely as up to 40 percent of Afghan opiates pass through Iran. Smuggling of these opiates is a problem now along all of Iran’s borders to the South, West and North, so there is good reason to fear that easier passage between Iran and Georgia could invite traffickers to try the “new” route”.

Speculation on drugs flow through the separatists territories of South Ossetia and

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

Abkhazia described in the introduction section. The report outlines that this information cannot be verified as these territories are beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement and there is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian occupying forces or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia. 

5 main drugs: heroin, Subutex, methadone and marijuana availability revealed on the domestic market. Subutex is a trade name for buprenorphine, produced throughout Europe, and used for the treatment of opiate addiction. This substance is not a registered medication in Georgia and thus has no legally availability basis.

Inaccuracy in price figures are stated in Supply Reduction section: “drugs generally, and opioid drugs in particular, are extremely expensive in Georgia. According to the information provided by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2010, street prices are $600-$700 per gram for heroin, opium is $27-$45 per gram, and Subutex is $300 per 8 mg pill. However, some of these prices do not fully correspond with those reported to physicians, by street-level narcotics dealers and their drug-using clients. There is also wide variation in drug prices across borders. Local sources report that pure heroin purchased in Turkey from Chechen, Kurdish or Turkish drug dealers is available for $40-$50 per gram”.

The report says that current national legislation does not conform to UN drug conventions’ requirements and 2008-2009 drug control reform legislation still stalled in Parliament. The gaps such as absence of a detailed specific Anti-Drug National Action Plan and problem of coordination among institutions are given in the subsection B.: Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends.

The current Anti-Narcotics National Strategy established by the Parliament in 2007 only outlined main priorities and there are no specifics to guide implementation noted in the report. Problems are observed throughout systemic drug preventive measures; treatment methods which developed with little or no attention given to social rehabilitation following detoxification; inadequacy information about dangerous drugs, and statistics about drug use that are limited and unreliable. The report notes that a large number of the drug using population has reportedly moved to home-made synthetic drugs. According to the report there is no statistics for the extent of home-made stimulant drug usage.

There is also unreliability about figures for drug dependency, as statistics are poorly kept and vary according to the source: “The Georgian Research Institute on Drug Addiction and drug treatment estimates the intravenous drug abuser population in Georgia is approximately 40,000 out of a total population of 4.5 million. Using UN methodology, researchers estimate that about three percent of the population may be using drugs at any given point in time, yielding a total of approximately 138,000. Local drug treatment experts cite figures of upwards of 200,000 drug abusers, including one-time experimenters”.

In spite of Country’s commitment in increased funding for drug treatment and prevention there are still problems. According to the report there is a lack of trained human resources in the field; expensive detoxification programs administered at four government-funded clinics have the capacity to treat 25 patients per month and the price of detoxification program is $1000-$1500; the primary rehabilitation program costs $570 and methadone substitution therapy centers do not include an extensive psycho-social rehabilitation program.

The Government’s commitment in the elimination of corruption in law enforcement agencies is also outlined in the report that it has made significant steps and it remains committed to this effort but in conclusion still mentioned a lack of coordination among the agencies and bodies involved in drug-related issues complicates achieving this goal.

Read the full 2011 report on Georgia 

Two women from Georgia can be sentenced to death in Malaysia
October 31, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

On October 28 TV Company Rustavi2 reported about two women from Georgia arrested for syabu (Methamphetamine) worth millions hidden inside picture frames. Both of them were arrested separately after their arrival in Malaysia on Monday.

Malaysian legislation stipulates capital punishment for the crime. Local media said the detained Georgian citizens may be members of an international syndicate.

Georgian Foreign Ministry did not have details and only the age of both women reported to the public. Later as of October 29 Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an official comment after having managed to contact the detainees and get information about the incident. The situation is problematic as Georgia doesn’t have into the field any international agreement with Malaysia.    

At the same day Public Defender of Georgia released the official comment that they intend to contact with the Ombudsmen’s Association of Asia and Human Rights Watch. The officials say that they will use all the ways to ascertain situation about the detention of two Georgian citizens.

Sabah Narcotics Investigations chief Supt Abdul Rahim Dolmat said a 26-year-old woman was nabbed in a hotel here where syabu worth RM1.76mil was found hidden inside photo frames kept in a bag.

“This is our largest seizure so far,” he said, referring to the discovery of 5.5kg of syabu in the hotel room during the 12.50pm raid on Monday.

Beware of HIV/AIDS Infected and illegal sex worker in Georgia
September 26, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

On September 15 2010, about 5 minute footage on TV Company Rustavi2 tells about the HIV infected illegal immigrant’s life in Georgia. Her full name, photo and passport showed and the anchor hints that she not only HIV infected but she is illegal sex worker.

A girl from Cameroon found dead because of head cancer but later diagnosed that she had also HIV/AIDS infection. The directors of Clinical Hospital of State University Gocha Chutkerashvili and Nino Qorqashvili-Charkviani tell the journalist that this girl was tested HIV positive.  

The authors of the footage, journalists of the TV Company investigate and show to the public further details of her home, educational institution, workplaces (throughout the country) and position as a waitress. They also interview neighbors who telling about her antisocial life in Tbilisi.

All the actors of the story are not only unethical but also violate domestic and international human rights standards of this girl dead in Tbilisi and once again mounting the official registered HIV/AIDS statistics. 

International Overdose Awareness day

August 31, 2010
According to the European Aids Treatment Group Press Release

Overdose Awareness Day: Community organizations call for wider availability of naloxone to prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths. Each year thousands of people in Europe and Central Asia lose their lives to drug overdose. The direct provision of naloxone - a safe and highly effective opioid overdose antidote - to people who use drugs could effectively prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Overdose is a major public health concern. In many countries it is a leading cause of death, taking nearly as many lives as car accidents. Since 1995, overdose has claimed between 6300 and 8200 lives in the European Union each year. In Russia alone, over 9000 overdose-related deaths are registered each year. The real numbers of deaths are thought to be much higher than the officially registered cases.

Naloxone, an inexpensive, safe, non-narcotic and highly effective medication with no potential for abuse reverses opioid overdose within 1 – 5 minutes after administration. Naloxone is included in the World Health Organizations Model List of Essential Medicines and is often available in hospitals and emergency services.

Some innovative programmes have been distributing naloxone directly to people who use drugs, their friends and family members and training them how to use it. Research has shown that with appropriate training, people who use drugs are as skilled as medical providers in recognizing overdose and assessing when naloxone is indicated for use.  

Naloxone-based overdose prevention programmes began in the UK, Germany, and the United States in the mid-1990s, and are now practices in more than 15 countries with striking results. A programme in Chicago for example coincided with a 30% decrease in overdose death within 3 years of the start of the programme and similar results have been documented in other cities.  

Programmes have been successfully piloted in countries throughout Europe and Central Asia including Italy, Portugal, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, the UK, Georgia, Germany and Spain.  


Naloxone is available in Georgian Pharmacies and sold to everyone in need.   

90 kg Cocaine
June 12, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

On June 2, 2010 Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia Conducted one of the most largest-scale operation arresting transnational crime group members. As a result 5 crime group members are detained. They have been accused of 90 kg, particularly large amount of drugs’ international transit traffic.

Scrap another party, in which 90 kg cocaine was hidden in cargo gang members received in Poti in order to be later trough Turkey distribute them in the international markets, presumably in Europe. According to the Criminal Code of Georgia mentioned activity

punishable with a maximum sentence which is life imprisonment.

As a result of the special operation police found large amount of money 1 700 000 Euros, but not cocaine, referred to 90 kg.

After special operation high ranking officials from the ministry of internal affairs and the Ministry of Justice arrived in Spain and negotiations began for extradition proceedings regarding the detention of other members of criminal gangs in Georgia.  

The President rated the operation as successful, and later in a briefing the Spokesperson of the President said that the seized amount of EUR 1 700 000 will go to school children and will be used for good purposes.


Destruction of drugs

March 27, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

On March 26 2010 Ministry of Internal Affairs released the information that destructed 4500 pills of “subutexe” drug, “approximately 6 kg of heroine” and 200 kg of marijuana as well as other psychotropic and narcotic substances.  

On the basis of the decree of Minister of Internal Affairs destruction of drugs carried periodically in every three month. The destruction of drugs seized from illegal circulation is organized by Standing Commission established by the decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs. These proceedings attended by the representatives from the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection and Prosecutor’s Office.  

Destruction proceedings of drugs take place 5 kilometers away from residential, drinkable water and grazing-lands. The drugs are destructed in pit deep no less than 5 centimeters.
Not only repressive punishment of drug addicts but the serious prevention
March 21, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

The new legislative initiative includes the control over the employees of public service on drug-addiction which will become more severe. If adopted the new amendments the periodic drug testing will be regulated on a legislative basis.  

According to the official website of parliament of Georgia during the sitting of the Committee on Health Care and Social Issues held on 11 March 2010 the author and one of the representatives of the opposition in parliament, Dimitri Lortqifanidze said, detection of narcotics in spittle, urine and blood is not informative after 24 hours, thus inspection of employees shall be held by means of hair laboratory analysis. At the Hearing of the committee was also mentioned that adoption of the Draft Law will entail changes to the expenditure part of the State Budget, as means of detection of

narcotics on hair analysis will be connected to financial expenses.

Deputy-Chairman of Parliament of Georgia, Giorgi Tsereteli stated that drugs impact on adequacy of people; this may entail improper decisions or criminal actions. Control on drug-addiction will be periodically held at public services. “In Giorgi Tsereteli’s opinion, public service shall be free of drug-addiction, and it will not be the only repressive punishment of drug addicts but the serious prevention as well. Public servant will realize that in case of detection of drug-addiction, he/she will be unconditionally dismissed”.

According to the online newspaper 24 Hours’ own information the president of Georgia liked this new initiative of the oppositional MP and expressed a wish and readiness to be examined by hair analysis test.

The existing Law on Public Service, articles 18 and 25 provides that a person should submit the certificate of medical-narcological inspection only upon appointment on the position. This is a special requirement of the Law on Public Service.

In spite of no regulation of the “periodic testing” the government a lot of times applied these methods before. The hair analysis implemented since 2007 at chemical and toxicological laboratory of the Levan Samkharauli National Bureau of Forensic Science. The new method allows observation of drug use from 2 up to 4 months. The test can show the dose and type of drug used.   

According to the released information there are about 100 000 public employees in Georgia.


Signals from drug research (2010)

March 7, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

What are the latest results from research in the fields of the social sciences, psychology and biomedicine with regard to drug addiction and dependency on psychoactive substances?

In this publication, experts in these three areas present the results of the latest research into the problem of drug addiction. The dynamics of the cannabis market are analyzed through the lens of sociology, whereas researchers in psychology look at personality traits, impulsivity and sensation seeking. In addition, the most recent theories in neuroscience and dependency are presented. Finally, this book provides information on what treatments are available, or may be available in future, for drug addiction.

This inventory of signals from drug research should interest scientists, those working with drug addiction and policy makers as part of the Pompidou Group's commitment to communicating the latest research findings in policy,
science and practice in the field of drugs.

Giorgi Tortladze’s Initiative

February 27, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

On February 26 2010 President of Georgia, Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili, according to the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, made the annual report to parliament addressing the people and the members of Parliament.

After the speech of the President of Georgia, during a time that defined for Minority, the Chairman of the "Powerful Georgia” Faction, Giorgi Tortladze in his speech underlined the issue of drug-addiction and stated that Parliament shall adopt political decision concerning this question and confer the drug-addicted persons the status of diseased, and as for the drug-dealers, on the contrary, punishment for them shall be more severe.

The society should switch slowly in a condition when drug addiction is disease not a crime – stated Tortladze.

Giorgi Tortladze called President and members of parliament to implement tax free regime at first for those investors who are ready to open drug addiction rehabilitation centers.      


Kick and Drugs      

February 20, 2010
Drug Policy Georgia

A YouTube video shows footage of a police officer from the Special Operative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (SOD) stopping the police car, ordering two individuals to step out of the car, and then proceeding to give them a swift kick in the behind.

All the above mentioned details are screened by a SOD officer. Short after that the footage is posted on This is the very officer whose voice is heard from the footage who after kicking tells the arrestees that they are free to go.

Soon after, the program of Week Reportage of Nana Lejava’s GNS Studio covers this story, and, as details emerge, it turns out that the two individuals are employees of the Ministry of Finance. In a televised interview, Aleqsandre Elisashvili, a public activist and a journalist who also runs a talk-show “Barieri” at the  

TV Company “Kavkasia” in Georgia, tells the “Week Reportage” program that both arrestees, a deputy Minister and his friend, were arrested by the SOD officers for illicit drug use. After the arrest, the current Prime Minister Nika Gilauri made a phone call to the Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili asking him to release the arrestees because one of them was his childhood friend. The Interior Minister called the SOD officers and told the officers to give the arrestees a kick in the behind and let them go. The SOD officers followed instructions word by word as ordered. Aleqsandre Elisashvili got the above mentioned information from employees of the Ministry of Finance. 

In his report, the journalist from the “Week Program” tried to have response from the former arrestee (his face can not be seen on footage) and inquired whether he took any action against SOD’s officer’s degrading treatment. But the former arrestee told the journalist that he had left the job at the Ministry of Finance on his own will and he had no comment about the kick and the drugs.

This case is an example of Georgia’s harsh drug policy, where periodic drug testing has led to frequent firing of employees from positions in the government sector. This policy is a legacy of the government’s announcement in 2006 of zero tolerance towards drug use in attempt to eradicate drug use in Georgia, where the population of drug users is estimated to be close to 250,000.

Furthermore, the government refuses to acknowledge this public, inhumane, and degrading treatment committed by the SOD officers. According to the online newspaper “24 Hours”, former ombudsman and current co-chairman of political unity “Alliance for Georgia” Sozar Subari held a conference on 26 January 2010 and stated that: the case is about SOD officers’ committing inhuman and degrading treatment. “We deal not with disciplinary misdemeanor but the whole cascade of crimes punishable under the criminal law”.             

Share |

New round of Amnesty Act

November 7, 2009

A new round of Amnesty act hearing has been launched in parliament of Georgia after the President of Georgia initiated the draft. As it was declared at the joint session of Health Care and Social, Human Rights and Legal Issues Committees Amnesty act will concern 1500 drug user convicts.

Amnesty, which is a one time act, shall be declared by the Parliament of Georgia toward individually unspecified persons.

This time it is an act for drug users unlike the previous one. On November 2, David Bakradze, Parliament Speaker at the bureau sitting stated that he had the consultations on this issue with the general prosecutor and the representatives of the ministry of justice last week and they have come to this joint conclusion. “We must give 

opportunity to those drug-addicted convicts, who are not dangerous for the society, to return to the society, usual life” - stated David Bakradze. 

The draft includes articles 260, § 1 and 273 of the Criminal Code. Article 260 § 1 stipulates the punishment for illicit preparation, production, purchase, keeping, shipment, transfer or sale of drugs, the analogy or precursor thereof - by imprisonment for up to ten years in length and article 273 the punishment for “illegal preparation purchase, keeping of small quantities of narcotics, its analogy or precursor for personal use or their use without doctor’s prescription, perpetrated after awarding an administrative sentence for such practice” - by imprisonment for the term not in excess of one year.   

The parliament is going to hear the draft in a speedy way. The act will enter into force after two weeks, as approved and will last till two months period, reported at the parliament of Georgia.  


Debate On Drug Policy Reform Between The Executive And Legislative Branches  

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
September 22, 2009

Expected changes in anti-drug legislation raised controversy between the Member of Parliament Gigi Tsereteli and Gia Khuroshvili, Parliamentary Secretary of Georgian Government. On 21 September some news agencies reported about a bit hot debates between executive and legislative bodies’ representatives over the issue.

Was there the debate about anti-drug changes or the real changes in drug policy? The question remains as an unanswered one again. This time more important is that the information about expected changes more or less became known to the public at a time when for many years ago nobody “raised voice” but only few non governmental organizations implementing some projects in the field and financed by international donors. Also if we not take into account some open statements from high officials that there should be distinction between drugs and there is a need of legalization.      

The discussion about the changes in drug policy was initiated by above mentioned non governmental organizations since 2005. In fact until now there are no changes that took place. Moreover since November 1, 2007 the law against drug users implemented titled as the Law against Drug Crime. The aim of the law is “idealistic”: avoiding drug addiction, protecting public and state interests, protecting from drug dealers and preventing drug consumption. In fact the law triggered the way towards the more marginalization of drug users depriving them from a number of fundamental civil rights.

Only in 2008 a draft law package introduced to the parliament. The package included the changes in less than 5 laws. One of the changes was the abolishment of criminal responsibility of drug use. Right now on September, 2009 there are again controversies between the representatives of executive and legislative branches.

During the debate the representative from executive, Parliamentary Secretary of Georgian Government stated that he does not think the tolerant approach towards drug addiction is in the interest of the country.

It is unknown to the public whether the harsh policy will continue against people who use drugs or some changes will occur. The very harsh approach that many developed countries refused or should have done long ago.                         


Gap between ideality and reality

Levan Jorbenadze
Legal Advisor/Attorney
July 25, 2009

New draft law to be offered on HIV/AIDS to replace the existing law. The bill is compiled according to the UN guidelines. The new law introduces the new provisions for effective response to contemporary challenges, is aimed to fill the gap between ideality and reality and take off unpractical and the dead norms of 1995 law on HIV/AIDS of Georgia.

The draft law ensures the formation of the special coordinating board institution to shape new policy and full access to information and services provided in the field of HIV/AIDS regulations.

The draft provides additional Constitutional and International guarantees for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) such as full access to medical services; voluntary testing; no traveling restrictions; the strict confidentiality of the status of the person during life time and after the death; firing from job will be prohibited thus no discrimination of PLWHs at the workplaces and in their political, cultural, social, economical rights and freedoms.  

The bill is MP George Tsereteli’s initiative and the hearing in the parliament  is scheduled for September 8-11, 2009. The existing Law on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control was adopted in 1995 and revised in 1997 and 2000. As the international experts claim Georgia was one of the first former Soviet republics to develop a national HIV/AIDS programme in 1994 followed by a strategic action plan for 2003–2007.


Drug Policy is a Public Interest

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) won a drug-related freedom of information case against Hungary.  The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concluded that the interference with the applicant's freedom of expression cannot be regarded as having been necessary in a democratic society. It follows that there has been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention. Article 10 of the convention provides: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers… Thus in its judgment of 14 April 2009 the court recognized the right to access to state-held information as part of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The subject matter of the dispute was the constitutionality of criminal legislation concerning

drug-related offences. Member of Parliament and other individuals lodged a complaint for abstract review with the Constitutional Court. The complaint requested the constitutional scrutiny of some recent amendments to the Criminal Code which concerned certain drug-related offences. The applicant's intention was to impart to the public the information gathered from the constitutional complaint in question, and thereby to contribute to the public debate concerning legislation on drug-related offences. The applicant brought an action against the Constitutional Court requesting the Budapest Regional Court to oblige the respondent to give it access to the complaint.

Constitutional Court of Hungary denied the request without having consulted the MP, explaining that a complaint pending before it could not be made available to outsiders without the approval of its author.

In the Court's view, the submission of an application for an abstract review of this legislation, especially by a Member of Parliament, undoubtedly constituted a matter of public interest.

 The HCLU is a non-profit human rights watchdog NGO established in Budapest, Hungary. HCLU’s declared aim is to promote fundamental rights as well as to strengthen civil society and the rule of law in Hungary and which is active in the field of drug policy.

May 9, 2009

Prison Methadone Program

In Georgia the prison methadone program will be started in the mid December 2008 as a part of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) funded project. 50 persons will be enrolled in the pre-trial institution no. 8 who will be offered a long-term detoxification course with Methadone.

A workshop 'HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C in Georgian Prisons: from Evidence to Action' took place on November 28 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The workshop was jointly organized by the Open Society - Georgia Foundation, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (CHALN) and World Health Organization (WHO). Workshop participants welcomed the fact of the opening of the methadone pilot program in Georgian prison.

The objective of the meeting was education/skills- building on HIV and hepatitis C prevention and drug treatment in prisons, HIV testing and provision of anti-retroviral treatment in prison and alternatives to imprisonment. The target audience of the workshop was senior policy makers from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MOLHSA) and Ministry of Justice, Department of Execution of Punishment, Georgian prison officials

Representatives of the the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (CHALN) CHALN, WHO, International Center for Advancement of Addiction Treatment, Moldova Prison Department, Bridjer Addiction Care Institute (Netherlands) delivered speeches at the workshop. Meeting participants were welcomed by the first Deputy Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani, first deputy Minister of MOLHSA Irakli Giorgobiani, Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Gigi Tsereteli, First Lady of Georgia and Chair of the CCM for GFATM Projects Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs.

Source: Tea Akhobadze

Open Society Georgia Foundation

Methadone substation treatment launched in Kutaisi

New Methadone substation treatment center to serve drug addicted people from 1st November 2008 in Kutaisi, the city in the west part of Georgia. This is a one year long pilot program funded by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Georgia.

From the beginning only 70 drug addicted persons will be involved in the Methadone substitution treatment and all of them are Kutaisi residents. The head of local public health protection department stated that government will help recovered patients of this program in employment issues as well.

First Methadone Substitution treatment started in Tbilisi, Georgia on 28th December 2005. From the beginning the Methadone Substitutive Treatment Center at the State Narcological

Science-Research Institute on Addiction provided free-of-charge treatment to 60 eligible opioid-addicted drug users.

 Hair analysis tests to detect positive result from 2 up to 4 months after drug use

The chemical and toxicological laboratory of the Levan Samkharauli National Bureau of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Justice held up to 1000 drug tests in the first half of 2008. About 80% of tests were ordered by public agencies.

About 700 blood examinations were held to identify alcoholic inebriation; 115 drug tests, 110 tests explored ethyl alcohol in urine and 75 tests drug in hair.

The lab implemented hair analysis in spring 2007. The lab had used urine and blood tests to determine drug addiction so far, but the methods showed only short time of history. The new method allows observation of drug use from 2 up to 4 months. The test can show the dose and type of drug used.

AIDS treatment center to be opened in Kutaisi

 In Kutaisi one of city of Georgia is opening AIDS Infected Prophylactic and Treatment Center. The center will be located at Infection Diseases Hospital of Kutaisi. The AIDS center will have modernized medical laboratory and serve the West regions of Georgia.

 Till now in Kutaisi was available only the HIV/AIDS testing. After the mentioned center opened HIV infected people will need no arrival in Tbilisi for periodic treatment but receive the assigned one in Kutaisi. The center is planned to be opened within a month.



Georgia on the way of drug policy liberation

  Drug use punishment will be eliminated from the criminal code of Georgia acknowledged at the hearing of Healthcare and Social Issues Committee of parliament of Georgia on January 29. But mandatory treatment and community-based useful labour will be imposed as an administrative punishment in case of repeated use of drug substances. Accordingly the chairmen of Healthcare and Social Issues Committee stated that drug users no longer will be imprisoned but fined and the financial resources will be addressed for mandatory treatment.    

  At the hearing has been stated that the harsh policy was no avail towards drug use crime. Candidate for the position of Prosecutor General of Georgia, former Minister of Justice Eka Tkeshelashvili stated that harsh policy will be continued against drug criminals but the legislation should be liberated concerning to drug abusers. Eka Tkeshelashvili pointed that criminal measures can’t resolve the problem, this is a complex issue and the law should be liberated. She also commented about the legalization of soft drugs as it is in Holland.

  Today on January 30, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili kept the promise and reiterated

at the meeting with media representatives that the law should distinguish drug users and drug dealers. Recently as a presidential candidate when he led the polls according to the latest data of the Central Election Commission, stated that he was ready to review the drug criminals’ cases as some of them might not be actually criminals but the ill persons in need of medical treatment. President of Georgia also expressed the hope that the new candidate for the position of Prosecutor General of Georgia will implement very important measures in criminal policy regarding this issue.  

Mikheil Saakashvili claims 8000 drug users have been detained

  On January 8, 2008 speaking live in political talk show of TV company Rustavi2 - at the TBC TV and the prime time studio 'the Prime Time' United National Movement's presidential candidate, the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who leads the polls according to the latest data of the Central Election Commission, has stated that he will be ready to review the drug criminals’ cases as some of them might not be criminals but the ill persons in need of medical treatment. If one is detained only under drug use charge he can not be considered as a criminal. Drug addiction is the illness and should not be punishable by criminal law. Mikheil Saakashvili declared that there are 8000 drug users detained and this problem is very important issue for Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili noted that accordingly population of the prisons should be reasonably reduced during his second term in government. In the live interview Saakashvili also pointed out about those mistakes which had made during his first term.

Unprecedented Amnesty in Georgia

The parliament of Georgia with the first hearing by 121 votes passed the draft of unprecedented amnesty which is the president’s new initiative presented to the society. According to the “unprecedented amnesty” 1200 prisoners and 1000 detained (accused persons during preliminary investigation) will be released stated president’s parliamentary secretary Zurab Dekanoidze. The amnesty is related to the persons accused or sentenced for crime against health as intentional light, serious and less serious damage to health; crime against property as property damage or destruction; crime against entrepreneurial or other economic activity as
illicit entrepreneurial activity; production, keeping, sale or freight of excise goods subject to stamping without excise stamps and many other misdemeanor and negligence crime categories.

Along with the unprecedented amnesty Mikheil Saakashvili president of Georgia will issue pardon act which allow to release about 1200 sentenced persons or their term of sentence will be reduced stated the chairman of the Legal Issues Committee Levan Bejashvili at the Committee hearing. MP Elene Tevdoradze the chairman of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee noted that the pardoned persons will leave detention institutions on November 23 (at the 4th anniversary of Georgia’s Roses’ Revolution). As to the opinions that this great act is in support of pre-election campaign is wrong because it has been planed one month ago – added Elene Tevdoradze. Moreover MP Elene Tevdoradze remarked that pardon act will not be the only one but it is quite possible that one more be issued again at the eve of the New Year.

The difference between amnesty and pardon act is simple. According to the amnesty act the criminal may be released from criminal liability and convict may be released from the sentence or the sentence awarded against him/her may be commuted to a less severe sentence. But according to the pardon act only the convict may be released from the sentence or the sentence awarded against him/her may be commuted to a less severe sentence.

Neither the “unprecedented amnesty” nor the pardon act is related to some drug crime articles which according to the law considered as misdemeanor category. The so called “unprecedented amnesty” refers only to the category of drug crime as article 272 of the criminal code (persuasion into abusing narcotics, its analogy, psychotropic substance, its analogy). For this reason at the hearing of Legal Issues Committee on November 21 one of the opposition faction leaders MP Zurab Tkemaladze insisted to release the persons who are sentenced under article 273 (Illegal preparation, purchase, keeping of small quantities of narcotics, its analogy or precursor for personal use or their use without doctor’s prescription, perpetrated after awarding an administrative sentence for such practice) according to that amnesty. MP Zurab Tkemaladze stated that the above mentioned article 272 implies three years but the article 273 - one year of imprisonment and why not the persons sentenced for article 273 – (“illegal preparation, purchase, keeping of small quantities of narcotics, its analogy or precursor for personal use or their use without doctor’s prescription”) should not be released according to the amnesty. The members of the parliamentary majority did not agree with MP Zurab Tkemaladze. The majority representatives stated that anyway for the coming spring sessions parliament of Georgia plans to remove imprisonment from criminal code as the measure of punishment against drug users. MP Gigi Tsereteli the chairmen of Healthcare and Social Issues Committee noted that practice showed that detention of drug users is no help so the decriminalization of drug crime should be performed step by step.     

The Unprecedented Amnesty can be assessed as wrong and discriminative approach for persons sentenced under article 273. As the Georgian government stated the harsh criminal law policy will be continued. So the government will continue fight against organized and drug criminals; robbers and other kind of criminals in the future to protect each citizen of Georgia.


Punishment without Proof

According to the draft law new supplementary provision will be added to the article 45 of the Administrative Delinquency Code of Georgia: if a person who is under suspicious that used drug or psychotropic substances and refuse to be tested a police officer will make conclusion that the person used drug and will fine with 500GL (about 298$) or imprison him with administrative imprisonment for 30 days. The proposed law gives a great discretion to any police officer to interfere in ones personal life and expropriate one’s property.

As it emerges from the amendments if a suspect falls under suspicious of police officer that he is under influence of drug substances and does not follow the instruction of police officer to take him for drug test to the appropriate institution he will be fined and moreover presented before the judge for 30 day administrative imprisonment. The author of the proposed draft law is Legal Issues

Committee of Parliament of Georgia. It should be mentioned that the draft law does not introduce any circumstances in which refusal for drug test can be justified, however there can a lot of ones.

A few weeks ago in spite of the Chairman of the Healthcare and Social Affairs Committee Gigi Tsereteli’s statement that the law should be liberated towards the drug users and not punished with imprisonment meanwhile parliament of Georgia continues harsh amendments in the Administrative Delinquency Code.

The proposed amendment to the Administrative Delinquency Code of Georgia anticipated to be discussed in Parliament of Georgia on 30-2 November and the plenary session will be held on 6-9 November. 

Article 45 Illegal acquisition or possession small amount of drugs without a purpose of distribution, and/or their use without doctor’s prescription, - will lead to a fine of 500GL or, in exclusive cases, according the circumstances of a case and personal characteristics of an offender when this measure is considered insufficient, - with administrative imprisonment for 30 days.


            1. Person, who voluntarily hands over drugs, which he has in small amount, acquired or possessed without the purpose of distribution or who voluntarily addresses medical institution when acquiring drugs without doctor’s prescription, for medical treatment, will be free of administrative liability for actions stipulated by this article.

            2. Police officer, in case of serious suspicious that a person used drugs or psychotropic substances, will present him to an authorized representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the purpose to test an offender.

            3. The rule of conducting the test process is determined with the joint order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Social and Labour Affairs. In case a person refuse to be tested on use of drug substances without doctor’s prescription is to be considered under influence and appropriate conclusion should be issued.

By: Levan Jorbenadze

Three-fold increase of drug offences in Georgia assessed as a positive trend

According to the information of the General Prosecution Service of Georgia and its presented analytical research on the criminological situation in Georgia in the first six months of 2007 while the number of certain crime types decreased over the reporting period, there has been an increase in the percentage of drug offences within the overall reported crime. Reported drug offences increased by 212 per cent over the reporting period compared with the first six months of 2006. Precisely, 1190 drug offences were reported in the first 6 months of 2006, yet in the reporting period the number of reported drug offences in 3713.

The Prosecution Service of Georgia itself partly explains this increase as a logical consequence of the Government of Georgia’s increased fight against drug offences and thus assesses as a positive trend.  

Hair based drug tests are available in Georgia

23 August, 2007 According to the Ministry of Justice the chemical lab of the National Bureau of Forensic Expertise of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia performs hair based drug tests. More than 3000 people have been tested during five months period. Both public and private organizations apply to the Bureau to test staff members.

The drug tests used to be done with urine analysis, but the method had several defects. The identification of drug abuse was available only for several weeks. The hair based drug test allows finding drug even after 3 or 4 months from use as Khatuna Omiadze, head of the lab said - “this is main advantage of new method”. The test allows to identify drug type and dosage. Therefore, organizations require hair based tests for employees.


Methadone Treatment &

American Way of Happy End in Georgia

One day trough this web site I have received one more letter from a very disappointed woman asking me a help to bring her acquaintance’s husband in Georgia who appeared to be drug addict. Her disappointment was the result of negligence from government and medical representatives of Georgia. Her main question was very simple as she asked me if there was any law regulating the arrival of a drug addicted US citizen in Georgia. I send her necessary documents and advised how to work with all these papers…

    After she gained trust she told me that her acquaintance’s husband was actually her own husband and our relationship didn’t end here and lasted many months as on her way she faced many other problems. As we finally understood this case was a precedent to the government representatives and it has never happened before to anyone who wanted to bring methadone and to cross the border of Georgia in a legal way… Nowadays she lives with her husband and is very happy. She readily wrote the story and told everything with her own words and is thankful to everyone who tried his best for her happiness.

Levan Jorbenadze

Drug Policy Georgia
May 28, 2007  

My husband and I have met each other in January 2006. The very same year we have got married in the US. He is the US citizen and I have the Georgian citizenship. As soon as my dates of staying in the US had expired I came back to Georgia and started arranging my immigration paperwork from the country of my citizenship. The arrangement of the immigration paperwork took us too long, almost a year so my husband decided to visit me here in Georgia. While being busy with his arrival plans the great issue came up on the road. My husband is using methadone in US and he keeps visiting the clinic there and gets the medication officially as a treatment. I tried to find the same kind programs here in Georgia and went to the few of programs here but the situation that I came across was pretty hard. Hundreds of people who are seeking for the methadone treatment are staying in the long lists and waiting of their turn to be called one glorious day and being involved in the program and I wrote down my husband's name in one of that kind so called programs but still after a year nobody had contacted us yet. God knows when the clinic personal will call us; we are still waiting though I have found out the different ways of solving our problem.

I decided to go to Tbilisi international airport to the customs office there and asked them if there were any legal ways of my husband bringing his daily amount of the medication in the country. As an answer I have got a smiling face telling that it was almost impossible any kind of drugs to be brought in the territory of Georgia and that my husband would be arrested as soon as crossing the borderline. The same I was told at the Methadone Substitutive Treatment Center at the State Narcological Science-Research Institute on Addiction. I was shocked hearing that because I hoped that there might be a law for an ill person bringing his daily amount of medication with him according to the doctor's special paperwork. Very disappointed and broken hearted I came back home and set down by the computer and started search about the legislation and the organizations working in Georgia about the above mentioned problem. Thanks God I came across on a very interesting web address The web page has its own lawyer that work on the drug policy and any kind of issues that a drug addict can come across. I have got to know this lawyer personally and he showed me the way how to deal with the problem. He is the very capable and experienced person and the very professional of his work too. He advised me to go to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Defense of Georgia and wrote a letter to the Minister of the above mentioned Ministry Mr. Chpashvili. In 3 weeks I have got back replay letter from the above mentioned ministry giving me the rules and regulations that could solve my problem.  

With the help of the consultant of Drug Policy Georgia  I have got all the help with the legislation, he advised how to make all the paperwork ready for my husband's arrival that meant that I asked my husband and he had sent me the letter form his doctor indicating his daily dosage of the medication and the number of days how long he was going to stay on the country. With all those documents plus all the letters that I have got from the Ministry of Health I went back to the airport and showed it to the customs officer and told him that it was also possible for the addict to bring his dosage of the medication in the country legally without violation anything at all. The customs representatives were very confused as I think they had never ever have heard anything about that kind of law at all. All the paperwork that I have gathered I have left with the "SOD" (special operative department) office at the airport; they are Representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia dealing with drug crime. I must say that I have left the Xerox copies with them and kept the original ones with me. All the copes I have sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to and asked them the permission of the medication in the country according to the law of Georgia and the letters from the Ministry of Health plus the letter from my husband's doctor from the US. In the letters were mentioned also the arrival and the departure dates of my husband and his passport information too. At the airport of Tbilisi I met my husband together with the assigned representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they checked him, counted medication according to the paperwork and wished us the good luck and let us go happily. That is how my husband had crossed the borders of Georgia with his daily amount of methadone.

I would like to thank all the above mentioned Ministries and all the people that helped me with my problem and ask all and every citizen of Georgia and of any country to respect the law and regulation and trust the government and be honest with them. Only with honest we can get help all the time.  

As for the methadone clinics in Georgia I think that the way of treatment and the qualification of the service and the doctors are still pretty low comparing it with the Europe or the US. Methadone treatment is one of the best and mostly approved treatments for the addiction. My husband once told me why do you need a husband like me? I am drug addicted you know and can never be cured from this addiction? And I answered him that his addiction was not a problem as I was so madly and very much addicted to him and his love and was going to turn his drug addiction into my love addiction. Sometimes we must look into the very deep angels of our soles and evaluate and reevaluate all the moral and social values of both of our friends relatives family members and just anybody that belongs to us and try to help all the addicts to make them see the life from the different point of view and let them be addicted to us and our love and devotion than to the drugs. Let us save even a one addict during our hard time and trust me that God will reward us and bring all the love back to us that we have ever given a way. It had already happened to me so you try it too and it will come true for you too.


One More Zero Tolerance Show in Georgia

Today Georgia's Deputy Prosecutor General Nika Gvaramia has held a press conference to present a pack of draft-bills about prevention and punishment of drug addiction, including penalties against criminal drug addicts and drug dealers who will be expropriated property. General Prosecutor's Office intends to suggest a new initiative to the President.

Gvaramia stated that 'General Prosecutor's Office states that it launches a large-scale struggle

against a drug addiction, which is the number first threat for our state...

we make a first step towards an anti-narcotic strategy'. Gvaramia also stressed that the government would show a zero tolerance to those 'who sells drugs' and drug crime will be one of the heaviest crime in Georgian legislation! It will be the legislation with zero tolerance. Mr. Deputy Prosecutor General even thinks to make necessary changes in the presented draft law and deprive the property of those who is already convicted in drug dealership. Mr. Gvaramia in his interview with the TV Company Rustavi 2 mentioned that the deprivation of the property those who are already convicted are against our criminal law and constitution but he sees no problems! He further suggested those unsatisfied address with complaints to the Constitutional Court.


According Gvaramia, the General Prosecutor's Office will propose a pack of draft-bill about struggle for criminal drug addicts, which will regulate tens of restrictions for drug dealers and drug addicts. According Gvaramia only registered drug users will be treated as ill people and the rest non registered ones as criminals only. There will be no amendments in the criminal law and drug use will be punishable again. According to the draft there will be the additional administrative measures implemented against drug users. Non registered drug user who will be treated as criminal, he also will be deprived: driving license, pedagogical practice, doctor’s license, passive right to participate in elections, right to work at public service and in otherwise they will be excluded from the society as well.


MPs, both representatives of the Parliamentary Majority and the parliamentary opposition, have welcomed a new draft-bill proposal of the General Prosecutor's Office about struggle for criminal drug addicts. According to the MP, the members of the faction Rights' Opposition Pikria Chikhradze, her faction backs the proposal and they also back maximum penalty measures for the drug dealers, which will have to be regulated by the draft-bill. Mrs. Chikhradze stressed that draft should allow us to make difference between drug dealers and drug users. The MP, the member of the faction Democratic Front, Davit Zurabishvili doubted that 'some people are still working at the Interior ministry, who promotes and monitors a drug dealing in the state', there for struggle have to begin from that place.

Nika Gvaramia asked for assistance to the police, church and media in the fight against drug addiction. In the interview with the TV Company Rustavi 2 government associated artists and other popular people supported not only the intended policy but also made comments that drug users’ punishment should be harsh and an “example” for others in the sense of the prevention of drug addiction in the society. The official comments of the Georgian Orthodox clergy representatives were to support the government’s initiative and approve the restrictions against drug dealers and drug users too. According to the comments drug addiction should be treated as: illness and cowardness. 

Drug Policy Georgia

By: Levan Jorbenadze

May 15, 2007


Subutex Related Case in Strasbourg

 Basiladze v. Georgia

At a recently held conference, representatives from the “Union Article 42 of the Constitution” stated that the decision of the European Court of Human Rights can change the conditions of prisoners who are held in custody for purchase, possession, and sale of Subutex, medication used to treat dependence on opioid medicine and illicit drugs, such as morphine and heroin.

Local Georgian nongovernmental organization “Union Article 42 of the Constitution” submitted their case which addresses the sale and use of Subutex in Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights. Georgian citizen Ramaz Basiladze’s rights will be defended by the attorneys of the “Union Article 42 of the Constitution.” 

The members of the organization hope that they will win their case and, as a result, the European Court of Human Rights will recognize legal mistreatment of those people who are adjudicated for Subutex in Georgia. During the exploratory process, attorneys of the organization discovered that Georgian government violated United Nation’s International Conventions on Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances. According to these international documents, “buprenorphine,” contained in Subutex, is not a narcotic, but psychotropic substance. However, “buprenorphine” in Georgia’s domestic law is treated as narcotic substance. According to the article 6 of Georgian Constitution, domestic laws should not be in contradiction with international conventions and documents. In cases of contradictions, every judicial organ is obligated to judge the case in compliance with international documents. Attorney Manana Kobaxidze stated that in this case Georgia’s judges violate the Constitution by contradicting their conclusions with the international conventions.

Members of the “Union Article 42 of the Constitution,” who have won a number of cases in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, affirm that Basiladze and many more individuals are unlawfully accused and imprisoned for illegal sale and use of narcotic substances. Illegal sale and use of narcotic substances constitutes imprisonment up to 10 years. According to the Criminal Code of Georgia, illegal sale and use of psychotropic substances is a felony and is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.

Ramaz Basiladze’s case shows violation of articles 5, 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provide right to liberty and security, right to a fear trial and right to an effective remedy.  

Drug Policy Georgia


No Single Case of HIV Infection Detected

According to the Ministry of Justice the prisoners who were tested for HIV/AIDS in treatment departments of the prisons no single case of HIV infection detected. In voluntary testing participated 200 from 260 prisoners.

According to the date there are 22 infected prisoners in Georgia. They all are in medical departments under doctors’ supervision.

According to the non governmental organization “Civil Society Institute” on February 14 the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia proposed the new draft law to make amendments on Georgian Law on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, precursors and narcological aid. The new provision was added by which the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia will define the tests for alcoholic and drug consumption.  The parliament of Georgia will dispute the draft law on March 14-17.   


Everyone will go to prison!

It is the extract from president Saakashvili’s annual address to parliament which has been published on the official web site of the president of Georgia:

14 February 2006

I am announcing a new draft law with zero tolerance for petty crimes. I will introduce amendments to the Criminal Code which will abolish probation sentences for burglary, mugging, pick-pocketing and possession of drugs. There will be no probation sentences. No judge will be able to release someone on the basis of their own views on humane reasons. who commits these crimes will go to prison, because they damage our society.

By the way, many MPs have been victims of crime, as have your families and relatives. The police catch pickpockets, burglars and muggers outside

peoples' houses but then some judge, like [Merab] Turava [recently dismissed Supreme Court judge], lets them go the next day. That is not good. At whose expense is this being done? Where do they go when they are released? To Mars or the moon? They go back on the street, to your houses, into your courtyards, to your children, wives and friends. Is that not true?


They will do anything. For example, someone is arrested for selling drugs and then the judge decides that because they have a 52-year-old grandmother they should be released on probation. Never mind that they have been sentenced seven times, the judge will forgive them an eighth time.

For that we will build a new remand prison for 3,000 and more prisoners if necessary in Tbilisi. We are always prepared to make more room for bandits to take them off our streets and away from our schools so that we can forget about them. There will be zero tolerance for any kind of petty crime, my friends. That is our new, very firm, policy, which the judiciary, parliament, the executive government and the police should adopt.

The unending fight against drug addiction. Do you know what a tragedy this is? One of the main narcotics trafficking routes from Afghanistan goes through Georgia. The more the income of young people grows, the more the price of drugs falls. It is now easier to find drugs than bread. I am announcing that over the next four months every state employee will undergo a proper drugs test. This is not the kind that Lezhava (the supervision board chairman of Georgian State Narcological Science-Research Institute on Addiction) used to do in the Justice Ministry or somewhere. These will be proper drugs tests. In a few months there will no longer be a single drug user in state service, or I hope, working in parliament. We will do that. The public has the right to have clear-thinking people working in state bodies.

We are a country that is building many hospitals, schools, roads, fountains and prisons when necessary, because we are a state that needs prisons, schools and hospitals. A state knows how to defend its citizens and their health, how to develop their education system and their opportunities and how to punish those who are preventing society from developing.


The Methadone Substitutive Treatment Center

Information About Methadone Substitution

Treatment Program in Georgia

The Methadone Substitutive Treatment Center at the State Narcological Science-Research Institute on Addiction provides free-of-charge methadone substitution treatment to opioid-dependent drug users. To be eligible, a patient

  1. Should be 25 years or older;
  2. Should have used opioid drugs for at least 3 years;
  3. Should have previously received treatment at least twice in appropriate institutions and has certificates of treatment. 

Currently the Methadone Substitution Treatment Center provides a step-by-step service to 60 patients. Each patient receives individually tailored treatment and, under a doctor’s supervision, a daily dose of methadone mixed with juice. The methadone substitution treatment lasts between 6 months and 1 year.

The treatment is not anonymous but confidential. It is run according to the agreement with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Methadone Substitutive Treatment Center at the State Narcological Science-Research Institute on Addiction will be selecting a new group of approximately 60 patients for spring 2006.

To find out more about methadone substitution treatment in Georgia, contact the Center at its hotline: 39-93-92

Methadone Substitution Treatment in Georgia

"Thanks to Global Fund, today first 8 patients received methadone at the substitution center of the Research Institute on Addiction”. According Khatuna Todadze the Program Coordinator of State Research Institute on Addiction Methadone substitution treatment is started in Georgia on 28th December 2005.

Killer in the City 

Anti-drug campaign, which has been under way in the capital of Georgia for several days and resulted in transparencies with different writings on them (“Killer in the City”, “Who is the Next” and many other slogans in the heart of the city shocked the society).  

According to the participants, this 

action has produced specific result and gave opportunity to the population to once again realize the danger created by drugs "We might have frightened

somebody, but the population shall understand that drug addiction is

a big problem and everybody shall fight against it", said the participants of the action. There have again appeared some banners in the streets of the capital.  

Counsel of Europe Publication

Ethics and drug addiction This new publication in the "Ethical eye" collection, covering both the major issues involved in combating drug addiction and specific cases, has been written by

 doctors, psychologists, legal experts and drug addiction specialists working in Europe .  It was inspired by the work of the Council of Europe’s "Pompidou Group", which brings together experts in the prevention, treatment and punishment of drug addiction.  It shows that, quite apart from the moral issues it addresses, ethical analysis makes it possible to devise effective collective and individual strategies for dealing with drug addiction.

Whether out of choice or social necessity, trying to "make people happy against their will", in this case by depriving them of a product they do not necessarily want to give up, raises moral issues, whether one considers the protection of the individual or of society.  The publication addresses the issues of prevention, screening and confidentiality, and goes on to review the policies of a number of countries.  Some of them have concentrated, as Russia did until October 1993 and Sweden is still doing today, entirely on compulsory treatment, but are finding that such methods are completely or partially ineffective: as this book points out, through numerous examples, individual consent is the basis of successful treatment.  Even where there is no universal compulsory treatment, however, the automatic placement and enforced treatment to which offending and convicted drug addicts are subjected in many countries raise not only ethical but also medical and legal issues.

The publication tackles the problem of drug addiction in the workplace, with all that it entails in terms of safety at work, but also the issue of medical secrecy in the light of the public interest.  Substantial coverage is given to drug addiction among minors, particularly at school, their access to treatment and its confidentiality, not least as far as their families are concerned, and care for pregnant women and young mothers who are addicted to drugs.  An outline of the Pompidou Group's activities and a few reference documents complete the book.

Counsel of Europe Publication: Ethics and Drug Addiction  





Anti-drug Campaign

Chairman of the Georgian Parliament joined the launched anti-drug campaign. Nino Brujanadze states that the Parliament will do its best to resolve this problem in the country.

 In the near future, a meeting will be

organized with the initiators of this action in the Legislative Body, where Chairmen of the Committees will be instructed to improve the legislation.


Since 2005

Make a Donation

Since 2005


Drug Policy Georgia website works to promote information in the field of Georgian drug policy based on harm reduction and human rights, take an active part in advocacy and drug policy change, make the information and legal aid service available to everyone interested in the field