Organisations: Lunest, Estonian Consortium, EHPV, Vek- LGBT, TAI
Activists spoke at the door of the Kazakh Consulate with the appeal: “Do not close the programs of the substitute therapy in Kazakhstan!”Later, activists, members of the community, and representatives of partners gathered at Freedom Square. People were dressed in T-shirts with the SDP logo and there was a call to society and government. Many participants held posters with slogans on them and others handed out leaflets. The group called for paying attention to the fact that people die, and that life-saving drugs are not available for people who need it.
The Estonian Drug Users Association MTÜ “LUNEST” organised an action in the framework of the international campaign “Support. Don’t Punish” on Vabaduse Square (the Freedom Square) in Tallinn, Estonia. This year the campaign is focused on the availability of such life-saving medicine like naloxone in Estonia. Other non-governmental organisations such as EHPV and VEK LGBT supported LUNEST during the action.
The main slogan of the action was “1319 lives could be saved”, as 1319 people had died from overdose to that day in Estonia. The action showed the Estonian public that there was a problem in the country, and the problem was getting access to naloxone, which could save the lives of hundreds of people who use drugs, and was inaccessible to drug users and their loved ones. The death toll from overdoses is so high because naloxone is a prescription drug in Estonia. This means that it is not available for everyone who needs it in real everyday life.
Therefore, the main message of the action was to call on the authorities to ensure the availability of naloxone over-the-counter. After all, Estonia ranks first in number of deaths from drug overdose in the EU, and inaccessibility of naloxone is one of the main reasons for this sad statistics.
Naloxone is offered to a person in need for free in Estonia, but in order to get it you have to undergo group training in special places such as harm reduction centers. Then naloxone is handed to the drug user. When you finish your ampoule you can exchange it for a new one there. But the group is difficult to gather because everyone is busy and at the same time individual training is not allowed. Moreover, a lot of drug users don’t visit such centers and prefer to deal with it on their own. The problem is also that a person can get naloxone only in a city where he or she has been trained – that is, for example, if a drug user permanently lives in Tallinn he has to go to Jõhvi (171 km from Tallinn) to get their naloxone. Also, a lot of people who use drugs don’t want to show their faces and so they don’t visit harm reduction centers, because they don’t trust them and are afraid that their data will then be published somewhere, as the level of discrimination and stigmatization of drug users in the country is quite high.
“We want naloxone to be freely available in pharmacies. So that anyone, for example, a relative of a drug user, could come and buy it. We want it to be available for the police officers and in the ambulance, so everyone could have it in a medicine box. For example, a police officer who saw an overdose or a relative of a drug user could provide first aid themselves. “Now they have to call an ambulance, and it often happens that the ambulance does not come in time,” — Elena Antonova, the Head of “LUNEST”, said.
“ФОТО: На площади Вабадузе митинговали за доступность препарата для лечения отравления наркотиками.” June 26, 2018. http://m.rus.delfi.ee/estonia/article.php?id=82823927.
Ola Shubin radio
“В Эстонии призвали облегчить наркоманам доступ к важному антидоту.” June 26, 2018. .