20-aya Liniya 25, k. 5
In 1996, the Russian Ministry of the Interior estimated that there were two million drug addicts in Russia, but that treatment was available for only ten percent of them. Salvation Army officers Geoff and Sandra Ryan's work in Rostov-on-Don and Kuleshovka of Rostov Oblast confirmed this report. High rates of drug use in these cities is due in part to local trading points for narcotics from Asia. However, sniffing of legal toxic narcotics, use of homegrown opium and marijuana, and heavy alcohol consumption are also rampant.
Today the Russian AIDS Center for Southern Russia and Caucasus estimates that there are 10,000 IV drug users in Rostov-on-Don. At the close of 1996, there were 176 HIV-positive persons in Rostov oblastómostly infected children at the Rostov-on-Don Children's Hospital in 1991. At the end of July 1998, there were 1,053 infected persons, making Rostov's HIV-positive population the third largest in Russia. Upon reviewing these conditions, the Ryans wrote a proposal for the opening of a drug rehabilitation program that would also work with HIV-positive people and submitted it to Salvation Army Headquarters in London. The Rufford and Laing Foundation donated the original grant for the initiative, and Most, meaning "bridge," was registered as a separate charitable social organization in August 1998.
Since September 1997, Most has provided free individual counseling, visiting lessons to local schools, brochures, and educational materials to the Rostov community. In February 1998, a third department, Youth Programming, was added to supplement Most's existing departments of Education and Counseling. This involved the creation of a youth drop-in center at a dormitory of the Donskoi Government Technical University. The center is frequented by many students each night and features lessons and discussions about narcotics, AIDS, and personal difficulties.
Most has developed a "healthy decision-making" curriculum with workbook, posters, and video cassettes and secured approval to train Azov and Kuleshovka teachers/psychologists in this program. They have also started a weekly radio program on the station Echo Rostov. The show deals with public health issues and responds to callers who ask for advice from 6 to 7 p.m.
Titles of brochures produced and distributed by Most include: AIDS Sexually Transmitted Diseases, The Abstinence Option, Smoking, Marijuana, Hallucinogens, Heroin, Cocaine, Toxinogens, Alcohol, Pregnancy and Smoking, and Pregnancy and Alcohol. Most's staff consists of one part-time and five full-time employees, plus two part-time volunteers. Expenditures for a recent year were $60,000. Partner organizations abroad and within Russia include the Salvation Army, the Azov and Rostov Narcological Dispensaries, Doctors without Borders, and AIDS centers in Rostov oblast and Southern Russia.
Last updated: February 1999
A print version of much of the information contained in this NIS Third Sector Organizations section can be found in the The Post-Soviet Handbook (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1999).