Stories about ASTAU
Ukrainian harm reductions activist and a blogger Victoria Lintsova in an e-mail interview shared with Rising Voice her thoughts and ideas on how blogging helped her and her organization.
At the middle of January the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Michel Kazatchkine visited Ukraine. Ukrainian harm reduction activists used this opportunity to advocate the rights of opiate replacement therapy (ORT) patients.
Svetlana Sharamok is an information manager for the Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine (ASTAU). In this e-mail interview to Rising Voices she talks about her work and the joys of playing an important role in communicating and hearing the good news from members.
Recently the activists of the Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine (ASTAU) posted an overview of the latest events all over the globe marking the World AIDS Day. The major highlight of the analysis was the rallies at the Russian Embassies around the world against the brutal and cruel treatment of people living with a drug addiction in Russia.
As a part of ORT treatment advocacy efforts, Ukrainian harm reduction activists produce videos which describe the situation around this problem, tell stories of real people who suffer because of inertness of the health care authorities and report the small successes in this regards.
Activists of the Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine film and post personal stories of the therapy patients to demonstrate how the opiate replacement therapy could change the life of people living with a drug addiction for better.
The work of the activists of the Association of Substitution Therapy Treatment of Ukraine is focused on making live of the patients of opiate replacement therapy more comfortable, helping them to better integrate back into society. Because of the efforts of the Association and other harm reduction NGOs with the support of international organizations, the situation in this area is slowly changing for better.
The focus of the bloggers from the Association of the Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine is to discuss the issues that affect their lives the most. Today in Ukraine the only place where substitution therapy patients can receive the medications are special Methadone sites. But what happens if a patient is sick and is not able to personally come to the distribution site to receive the medication, or even when his medical conditions require staying at a hospital?
The Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine (ASTAU) started to offer blogging workshops to its member in 2011. In an email interview, Olga Beliayeva, the head of the Association, talks about how these workshops have helped its members express themselves and put a personal face to the mission of the ASTAU.
To help further their mission, harm reduction activists in Ukraine understand that they need to deal with government agencies as part of their advocacy work. The leader of Chernivtsi NGO “Happy Future for You” Yulia Palagnyuk wrote a blog post about the tactics and activities of their advocacy project.
Bloggers from the Ukrainian harm reduction community was very disturbed with the detention of Russian activist Irina Teplinskaya, who was accused of of drug smuggling after returning from treatment in Ukraine. Irina was eventually released from prison with all charges dropped.
How does substitution therapy change the life of the people living with the drug addiction? Bloggers of the Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine use their blogs to share their personal and firsthand stories.