News Response stories

Georgia’s new legislation on substitution therapy program raises public concerns

On February 15, a press conference organized by the Georgian Harm Reduction Network was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on the problem of access to treatment for people who use drugs. The main issue was changes in legislation regulating opioid substitution therapy (OST).

Drug policy organizations, health experts, and public associations expressed their concern about the changes made to the legislation on OST. They believe that such changes will not adequately protect the rights of patients participating in the program.

It was noted at the event that the innovation will significantly worsen the situation of people with disabilities and other patients with severe chronic diseases. According to the new rules, doses will no longer be provided in case of the need to move within the country (the principle of a business trip). Even in cases of justified and objective reasons (including travel or health problems), only a one-day dose will be available to patients.

Nongovernmental organizations call on representatives of the Ministry of Health of Georgia to open a dialogue on this issue. They propose to create an inclusive platform where public and professional organizations, as well as health experts, could discuss the problems of OST programs and jointly develop a model based on human rights principles, and international standards and taking into account the interests of patients, their families and medical institutions.

Also read:

Public appeal to the Ministry of Health of Georgia: assessment of changes in legislation on substitution therapy program

The first open webinar on drug policy was held in Georgia