Response stories

Assistance in accessing OST in the pre-trial detention center

We were approached by an OST patient asking for help in obtaining medication.

The man was sentenced to two months in jail, and the documents attached to his case stated that he was a participant in the substitution therapy program. For the first few days, the client was taken to the OST-dispensing site to pick up his medication on a daily basis, but after being transferred to the pre-trial detention center, access to medication was no longer available. The prisoner was not even seen by the drug addiction specialist, as required under the procedure (set out in Joint Order No. 821/937/1549/5/156 of November 7, 2012 by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the State Service of Drug Control, which approves the procedure for interaction between health care facilities, law enforcement agencies, pre-trial detention facilities, and correctional centers to ensure the continuity of treatment for substitution therapy patients in the event of their arrest).

On the day the man reached out to REAct, he was on his third day of being unmedicated and in a state of severe withdrawal. The REActor, working from the NGO CO VOLNA, immediately notified the Prosecutor General’s Office, as failure to provide medical care is deemed tantamount to torture under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. As a result, the next day the doctor who was summoned to see the patient prescribed further treatment with OST drugs.