Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice was established in June 2009 and was officially registered on the 27 of August 2009.
It is a grass-roots organization from Moscow, Russia with the mission to promote and develop humane drug policy based on tolerance, protection of health, dignity and human rights. The Foundation engages in 4 key strategies to advance its mission: advocacy, watchdog, service provision and capacity building of affected communities and individuals.
ARF leads efforts in Russia to advocate for the introduction of the evidence-based and internationally recognized opioid substitution treatment (ST) of drug dependence in spite of pronounced federal government ban on using this approach. Despite Moscow government’s opposition to needle and syringe programs, ARF has started and continues to provide harm reduction services to drug users in Moscow. Both substitution treatment and needle and syringe programs are supported by overwhelming volume of scientific evidence and are promoted by the World Health Organization and other UN agencies as most powerful tools to halt HIV epidemic and ensure due adherence to HIV and tuberculosis treatment for people suffering from drug dependency – the main group affected by HIV and stigma in Russia.
Advocacy and the implementation of these programs in a politically challenging environment in Russia speak to the Foundation’s commitment to advancing the health and human rights of drug users and evidence-based, humane and effective policies. The Foundation monitors and effectively reports cases of violations of drug users’ right to health engaging in a number of national and international human rights monitoring mechanisms, which the Foundation is uniquely positioned to do due to the trust of the drug users’ community towards ARF’s staff and ARF’s extended network of professional contacts among UN agencies, national and international NGOs and experts involved with human rights as well as drug dependence, HIV, TB, hepatitis C, overdoses and other health issues. As the Foundation has only 2 regular staff members, it heavily relies on the volunteer support of representatives from the communities of people affected by drugs and HIV and supportive professionals.
All ARF projects are thereof community driven and led by inspiring activists and people deeply committed to alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life of people affected by drug policies and HIV epidemics in Russia.