The consumer is not a criminal!
Due to the inhumane drug policy, Belarus loses people and its economic potential each year. We advocate reforming the system towards more sensible and humane practices.
Drug policy in Belarus, contrary to its objectives, does not lead to a significant reduction in the spread of psychoactive substances (PS).

Law enforcement agencies mainly target individuals who have either purchased substances for their own use or are involved in a grass-roots distribution network, while the «big players» involved in large-scale shipments of psychoactive substances almost always go unpunished.

The Belarusian legislator, however, restricts the use of psychoactive substances in medicine, and people with addictions who seek help from addiction doctors face harassment and stigmatization.
The problem of drug addiction cannot be solved by prohibition
The current system sends thousands of young people to jail every year simply for spending their time as they saw fit.

Almost every Belarusian has an acquaintance, or an acquaintance of an acquaintance, who was prosecuted for substance use, or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Thousands of broken fates
Why does Belarus need to decriminalize psychoactive substances?
International trends
UN ad hoc committees call for decriminalization of surfactants for personal use.
Substance abusers are systematically discriminated against by the state.
Respect for human rights
Medical use
Many banned surfactants can and should be used in medicine.
Economic losses
Criminalizing PS is an expensive practice. Alternative pathways can enrich our nation.
Lack of education
Effective education on substances is not possible without decriminalization of surfactants.
Expert opinion
For a more detailed analysis of aspects of decriminalization, read our analytical paper:
Myths and misconceptions about drug decriminalization
Prominent public and cultural figures on the decriminalization:
  • I urge all States to reconsider from a human rights perspective the decades-old approach to drug control based on repression. I trust that Member States will cooperate with civil society on these challenging topics, in order to explore ways to improve respect for human rights in the context of drug control policies.
    Navi Pillay
    the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)
  • Scientific evidence and our concern for health and human rights must shape drug policy. This means making sure that fewer people die from drug overdoses and that small-time offenders do not end up in jail where their drug problems get worse. It is time for a smarter, health-based approach to drug policy.
    Kofi Annan
    UN Secretary General (1997-2008), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2001)
  • It’s time to decriminalize drug use and stop treating vulnerable people like criminals. Tough justice has not worked. All the evidence shows that harm reduction – supporting those who need help – can make a huge difference in saving lives. Public opinion on drug policy has been shifting, but while we wait for governments to act, thousands of people are still dying, and communities are being torn apart.
    Richard Branson
    British philanthropist, founder of the Virgin Group
  • When the word «legislator» is said to me, I get sick. Maybe if I was younger, maybe if only alcohol or weed would have helped me deal with this feeling. In the Netherlands, cannabis is being used to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's symptoms. My father died of Parkinson's last year. Maybe if we had legalized pot, he would feel a lot better.

    Siarhei Mikhalok
    Belarusian and Ukrainian musician
The Youth Bloc team, together with Legalize Belarus and invited experts and panelists, developed the analytical document that details each of the aspects of the prospects for decriminalization of surfactants in Belarus.

Based on expert opinion, international experience, and practices already existing in Belarus, we have developed a list of recommendations for the current and future authorities of Belarus.

Decriminalization perspectives in Belarus
A list of recommendations for any Belarusan authorities:
  • Transfer groups of substances used for therapy and research (cannabinoids, MDMA, psilocybin) from List 1 (especially dangerous narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances not used for medical purposes) to List 2 (permitted for controlled circulation) of the Republican List of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors, Subject to State Сontrol in the Republic of Belarus.
  • Involve international experts in pharmacology at interdepartmental meetings and round tables, as well as to present at such meetings reviews of international research in use of new substances for medical purposes.
  • Bring legislation into line with international law and human rights standards.
  • Decriminalize the storage of small amounts of PS for personal usage. The decriminalization policy should be accompanied by the expansion of medical and other social services to eliminate the risks associated with the use of PS.
  • Delineate criminal liability in illicit trafficking of PS depending on the quantity and type of substances, as well as the harm caused and the profit gained.
  • When developing criminal legislation, use the draft law developed by the Youth Bloc public initiatives and the Mothers' Movement on the reform of Article 328.
  • Education on psychoactive substances should be humanistic in its essence, focus on human rights, pay attention to people's personal choices, and use respectful, inclusive language.
  • The relevant agencies and the national statistical committee need to openly publish all available statistics on people with drug addiction, crimes associated with PS, as well as the costs of implementing the current drug policy to make a subsequent analysis by independent researchers possible.
  • The government should familiarize itself with the aspects described in the economic chapter and consider alternative approaches as potential main ones in order to save funds, as well as increase the welfare of Belarusian citizens.
  • All interested parties should study in more detail the economic and other aspects of the possible legalization of a number of PS (in particular cannabis) able to make a positive contribution to the growth of gross domestic product, as well as significantly reduce the budget costs of relevant departments.
The Youth Bloc team, together with Legalize Belarus and invited experts and panelists, developed the analytical document detailing every aspect of the prospects for decriminalization of surfactants in Belarus.
Read the analytical paper: