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Russian woman faces 20 years in prison for receiving 300 Wellbutrin pills in the mail

Source: Kommersant

Customs officials in Astrakhan have opened a felony drug-smuggling case against a local woman arrested at a post office for receiving a package from India containing 300 pills of the antidepressant Bupropion (commonly sold under the brand names Wellbutrin and Zyban). According to the newspaper Kommersant, Olga Kalinovskaya started taking the drug when living in Ukraine to treat her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

In 2017, she moved back to Russia and late last year, unbeknownst to her, a friend in Norway ordered her a shipment of Bupropion from India. Kalinovskaya says the package was a surprise. “He didn’t warn me. He sent me the pills using his own money. He said he knew about my problem and just wanted to help.” She now faces large-scale drug-smuggling charges and up to 20 years in prison.

In Russia today, there are roughly a dozen felony cases now underway involving the trafficking of Bupropion, and at least two suspects are currently jailed. In August 2019, the Russian Society of Psychiatrists declined to classify Bupropion as a narcotic, stating that it “does not cause euphoria, addiction syndrome, and is not the object of wide-scale abuse.”