Support The Moscow Times!

Duma Bill Could Ban Drug Users from Jobs

United Russia deputies have proposed restricting the rights of people who have taken drugs at least once, including limits on which jobs they can hold.

The State Duma's Anti-Corruption and Security Committee supported this proposal on Thursday and recommended other deputies adopt the measures in the first reading, Kommersant reported.

Under the proposal, people who have taken drugs would not be able to get driving or gun licenses, work as police officers or operate transport vehicles. Employers could also use the laws to justify firing a worker.

The changes would be made by modifying different laws related to professional occupations and, if accepted, could be implemented as early as 2014.

Some experts said that these measures are too harsh and should be applied only to people who have a clear drug addiction. They also reminded that a number of professions already have means to screen out drug addicts.

The high costs of the proposed changes were another concern. Russia has more than 2.5 million people who take drugs, according to the Duma committee's estimates.

United Russia calculated that the annual cost of doing the drug tests will be 1.9 billion rubles ($60 million), considering that each test costs about 1,500 rubles ($47). Estimates from other sources, however, were significantly higher and said the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs alone are expected to have to spend more than 2.5 billion rubles to carry out the tests.

The proposal champions, including the head of the security committee Irina Yarovaya, said that they would want medical organizations to release information about drug test results to the Federal Drug Control Service, though other Duma deputies have said that this would be in violation of medical privacy laws.

On Thursday the Moscow police department said that it will test all of its officers for drug use, Kommersant reported. The tests will be carried out using funds from the department's budget.


Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.