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The First Resource Center for Specialists on Drug Abuse Treatment Opens in the Country

The opening of a new resource center for specialists who work in the field of drug use prevention and treatment has taken place today at the Minsk Region Narcological Dispensary as part of a grant provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and implemented by the UNDP.

A substitution therapy office has already been in operation on the premises of the regional narcological dispensary as part of the grant, where approximately 50 patients have been receiving substitution therapy to mitigate the risk of HIV infection, and a social support office has been in operation as well. A comprehensive approach to patient treatment is applied – patients concurrently receive medical, psychological assistance and assistance aimed at tackling social problems, i.e. employment and professional re–training services.

The new resource center provides a unique opportunity to train health workers in the best practices of such comprehensive assistance provision and in various aspects of caring for HIV–positive patients, and is a platform for holding roundtables and workshops, including international–level ones.

The ceremonial opening was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Antonius Broek, Head of the Healthcare Department of the Minsk Region Executive Committee Mr. Ivan Lipnitsky, and specialists from the regional narcological dispensary.

The UNDP Resident Representative met patients from the substitution therapy office who had deliberately waited for him after taking their morning medication. The patients expressed their gratitude for the assistance provided to them and for an opportunity to begin a new life.

“I come from the Netherlandsand I am a supporter of substitution therapy,” said Mr. Broek. “In my country this therapy has been administered for more than 40 years already, and it works. Taking advantage of our meeting, I would like to ask for your cooperation – you should tell your friends and peers that they will be better off not using drugs in the first place, but if a friend of yours has already become addicted, you should tell him about this program, which will help him to mobilize his strength and to change his life for the better."

Simultaneously with the training center a new rehabilitation department for drug users was opened on the premises of the narcological dispensary today. It is expected that patients who make progress in methadone substitution therapy will be able to use the services of that department and will subsequently achieve complete remission.

For additional information, please contact Maria Malinovskaya, Public Relations Associate at the GFATM Grant Press Service in Belarus at +375–17–299–0787 or +375–29–164–2356.

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