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In June, Yuri Frolov returned home to Kostroma for his mother’s birthday.
Vadim Hachaturov, a former heroin addict who manages the rehab centre near Stravropol, warned Yuri that it was too soon to go home. The risk of falling into old habits was too great, Hachaturov said.
But Frolov left anyway.
We met up with Frolov in Moscow on his way to Kostroma in June. We walked along the Moscow River on a sunny afternoon. Frolov was happy to be going home, to see his mom, to spread his wings after spending almost half a year in rehab. He also spoke openly about his fear of using again. He said he might travel with his mother to a nearby lake for a vacation, away from the temptations of his friends and former acquaintances who are still using.
We said goodbye in front of the metro station, and as we turned to walk away, my wife told me she had a bad feeling that Frolov was going to start using again.
In the weeks that followed our brief visit, we tried to call, but were unable to reach Frolov. Finally, we called Hachaturov in Stravropol. He told us that Frolov had started shooting up again. His mother had called the centre in tears, asking him what she should do. Hachaturov was furious, thinking that Frolov had gone and proved him right.
Japhet Weeks is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Moscow, Russia. Yuli Weeks is a freelance photographer and translator based in Moscow, Russia.