A Loophole That Allows Illicit Drugs Into The World Cup?

By Keri Blakinger 03/05/18

FIFA guidelines for importing drugs have a newfound relevance as soccer fans are set to descend on the city for the big game.

Argentina fan during the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Argentina is facing Iran in the Group F at Minerao Stadium

Soccer fans can bring their drugs to the World Cup in Moscow this summer—as long as they have a doctor’s note. 

That means morphine, cocaine, marijuana—all okay! Sort of. Admittedly, there are a few other key caveats to the bureaucratic loophole seemingly intended to help facilitate academic research. 

The Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union allows for the importation of certain illicit drugs, as long as they’re coming in through another EAEU member country, accompanied by prescription papers, and declared and examined by border agents, according to reports.

The same set of rules also allows for the importation of dinosaur bones, human tissue samples and weapons—so don’t worry about leaving your heroin-coated triceratops-bone gun at home this year. (Unless you’re unable to get a doctor’s note.) 

Russian state media pushed back against the viral reports with a story that didn’t entirely debunk the popular interpretation of the drug regulations.

“Since the vast majority of medical drugs do not contain meth, cocaine, dinosaur bones, weapons, human tissue samples, or a myriad of other things included on the regulated list, the central premise of the hundreds of reprinted stories is irrelevant,” RT.com wrote. 

“More realistically, all this means is that, for the length of the World Cup, those using medical marijuana and opioids for pain relief or other conditions do not need to worry about having them confiscated.”

It’s not a new set of rules, but the guidelines for importing drugs have a newfound relevance as hundreds of thousands of soccer fans are set to descend on the city for the big game. 

And under FIFA guidelines, it’s okay to bring narcotic and psychotropic substances into the stadium as long as they come with a valid prescription in English or Russian and are still in their original packaging, according to Sports Illustrated.

“Security officers will monitor the enforcement of rules for carrying prescription drugs to stadium grounds at checkpoints,” the World Cup organizing committee told The Moscow Times

Unfortunately for hard-partying Pele-wannabes, it’s not permissible to use the drugs inside the stadium. FIFA rules direct staff to boot fans who “present a risk due to consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.” 

Sorry Hunter S. Thompson groupies, it looks like Fear and Loathing at the World Cup is a no-go.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.