Response stories

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

The Public appeal of Georgian NGOs to the Ministry of Health reflects serious concerns about the recently introduced changes to the legislation regulating the substitution therapy program. Drug policy experts, as well as representatives of public associations, raise important questions about how these changes will affect the rights and quality of life of patients enrolled in this program.

According to the change made on January 24 of this year in Order No. 01-41/N of the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Protection of Georgia “On Implementation of Substitution Treatment of Opioid Addiction”, the rules of administration of the substitution program were regulated differently.

According to the existing regulations, patients included in the substitution treatment program, in case of inability to report to the drug institution, could receive/withdraw the drug intended for substitution treatment for a maximum of 2 days with the help of a family member or other authorized person. Under the changes, beneficiaries have been restricted from this right, and they or their proxy must go to a service center every day. The change also affected the possibility of providing the patient with a pharmaceutical product in special cases.

According to the revision effective until January 24, in case of need for long-term (more than 2 months) treatment at the patient’s apartment, it was possible to receive 5 days’ supply, and to persons with pronounced disabilities and active form of tuberculosis, it was possible to receive the product in the amount of 7 days’ supply at the same time. With the implemented changes, the said exceptional regulation was canceled altogether.

Also, the current order no longer provides for the possibility of receiving a dose of no more than 4 days for the patient in the case of justifying the reason for moving within the country (the so-called business trip principle). With the new change, even in the conditions of any exceptional and objective need, (including during a business trip or due to health conditions) it is possible to provide only 1-day allowance to patients.

As a result, it is important to ensure consultation and discussion with health and addiction professionals and experts. This will help to develop a model that is consistent with human rights principles, and international standards and that carefully considers the needs of patients, their families, and the interests of organizations providing addiction treatment services.

Center for Social Justice

Georgian Harm Reduction Network

Alternative Georgia

Georgia Network of People who Use Drugs (Genpud)

New Vector

Association of Narcologists of Georgia

Public Union “Bemons”

Phoenix 2009

National Network for the Protection of Human Rights

Association of Psychologists and Psychotherapists


Information and Medical Psychological Help Center

Association HERA XXI

“Hepa Plus”

Original Source

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