A large quantity of methadone was confiscated on December 17 by customs officials at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. More than 2000 bottles of methadone, to the value of 5.8 billion rubles ($95.9 million)were found in a package sent from Germany to Tajikistan.
A criminal drug smuggling case was opened by the Federal Customs Service (FTS) as the substance is banned in Russia. The United Nations, however, endorses the use of methadone to treat heroin addiction.
Since the confiscation the Health Ministry of Tajikistan declared that the package containing the methadone had been sent by the UN Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to treat residents living in Tajikistan who suffer from addiction. This forms part of a UN AIDS prevention programme.
The FTS stated that the bottles had in fact been labelled incorrectly showing a false information on the quantitative content- “So, according to the text of the labels, 1 ml of liquid contains 5 mg of methadone hydrochloride. According to experts, the concentration of methadone in these liquids exceeds 50%, that is, 1 ml of liquid in reality contains more than 500 mg of methadone,” the report states.