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Drop-in Center: Blogging Makes A Difference

In our post of January 16 we published the first part of the e-mail interview of Pavel Kutsev, a leader of Ukrainian organization of people living with a drug addiction “Drop-in Center” where he talked about the accomplishments of his organization in advocating the harm reduction program in Ukraine and its plans for the future. Today we are publishing the second part of the e-mail interview where we learn about other authors of the collective blog “Depo3p” and find out how the blogging helps Pavel Kutsev in his work.

Drop-in Center Activists with the Guests from NYC

Although Kutsev write majority of the posts, there are another authors contributing to the blog well. We asked Pavel to introduce the most active authors of the blog to our readers. Pavel worte:

Elena Tsukerman

One of our authors is Elena Tsukerman who also is our informational manager, administrator and moderator.  She covers issues of the women who are commercial sex workers. Elena has been working for Motylek Newsletter for 6 years. She started as a journalist/editor covering social problems of Kiev. Today Elena has become an HIV activist and the Board Member of the National Network Lega-life, which deals with human rights activism and protecting interests of sex workers in Ukraine. There is a special section in the blog focused on sex business and its public health aspects. Lena will continue focusing on issues on women living with the drug addiction.        

Yana Kutseva

I also need to tell about another author of Depo3p blog, about Yana K (Yana Kutseva). Yana is my wife and the editor-in-chief of Motylek Project. Yana is a professional musician and has a perfect taste. This talent of her ensures that any publication we produce will be interesting to the readers. Yana focuses on women’s issues including rehab practices for women and particulates of women’s health. She lives with a drug addiction herself and is a patient of the substitution therapy. She herself is a women and a mother who used to be a drug user but who was strong enough to say no to drugs and in the same time to still be capable to love, laugh and enjoy the life like it is. Her stories are the kind you cannot retell like you cannot retell the music. Like with the music which you need to listen, you need to read Yana’s stories.             

Pavel also told us about his plans to enlarge the team of authors of the blog. He mentioned:

Yes, it is true, depo3p is a collective blog. We would like to further expand the network of our authors and attract active people from other regions. This would allow gaining an objective picture on the public health situation in relation to the drug policy and HIV/AIDS.

We are going to recruit new young bloggers who will focus on the implementation of the harm reduction programs in the regions. We plan that these guys will be patients of Bupronorphin therapy, as they have more mobility than Methadone patients. They are able to travel around the country as they can receive the medication through a drug store with a prescription. We have announced a sort of “casting” to find new authors for our blog. We want them to be able not only write interestingly but to be directly involved in the problem…..  

So our collective blog will become really collective. For today we have 5 permanent authors but are planning to increase this number till 8. Perhaps we will be able to recruit in our team a blogger from Russia. We hope that this team work will make our blog a unique platform with its own style reflecting various opinions on topics of drug policy and health.     

Pavel Kutsev believes that the blogging significantly changed his life and helped to achieve particular results in improving the life of the patients of the substitution therapy. He said:

For me the blog is a great place where you can pour out your emoting on something which really touches you!

I will never forget a day when I came to the Methadone site where somebody brought printed copies of my blog posts and the entire hospital was reading my revelations… What are the results of this action?

After my posts the self support groups became voluntarily! Before they were mandatory and religions, those who have not attended were not given the medications.   

After my posts they stopped grinding the pills into powder.  

More results? My blog complains concerning the pharmacological characteristics of the Methadol [the medication which was purchased by the government for the substitution therapy] lead to procurement of additional mediation Metadict.

My current reports on a need of uninterrupted therapy and the stories illustrating the human aspects of these problems also contribute to the solution of the issue.   

So blogging really helps… Although I was bitten three times because of my blog posts…

Pavel mentioned that it took some time for him and people around him to realize the advantages of blogging. He wrote:

At the beginning – for the first a year and halve – there were more harm than benefits from blogging. The medical personnel treated me very formally. What was forgivable for others was not for me, for example if I were a few minute late on the site I did not receive any medications at all….

Pavel Kutsev on the Methadone site

But at the end a common sense won the day. Today when patients staying in other hospitals get their medications delivered, when we have a room for day care and many other things, that would not mean much for an outsider but means a lot for us, the attitude towards my blogging has completely changed. Our group has become consolidated… Today I can proudly say that thanks to the blogging the patients have changed for better.

At the end of the interview Pavel concludes that the blogging helped him to deserve respect from his counterparts and motivates him to continue his struggle with the drug addiction:

Our blog is a mirror, is an instrument of influencing on the situation. Somebody can say that these are just words… I cannot list all advantages of blogging but I should say that thanks to it all outside patients want to shake my hand, all 170 people. Perhaps you will think that I am showing off but this is a truth… The truth also is that blogging is something that gives me strength to wake up every day and go to another part of the city to receive substitution therapy…..     

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