Protection of Public Interest

 Influence on state alcohol policy

According to studies by the World Health Organization, from year to year Belarus remains in the leading position in alcohol consumption. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the number of drug users in the country continues to grow. Belstat confirms that alcohol poisoning remains the main external cause of death, and alcohol remains the main cause of road accidents. Meanwhile, it is impossible to establish the exact number of dependent people, and the disease itself affects not only a person, but his whole family and environment.

In Belarus, there is no system cooperation between public associations and governmental authorities on issues of providing assistance to addicted people, the work of rehabilitation centers is not regulated, the society does not have an adequate idea of ​​addictions and treatment methods.

The public association “Zvyano”, together with the public association “Probuzhdeniye” and PAN Studio, is a co-organizer of the 24-hour online marathon of Non-Dependence, which was broadcasted live on the main page of partners May 26-27, 2016.

The goal of the Marathon was to publicly discuss the problem with experts, doctors, representatives of public services and to unite the efforts of the state, the therapeutic community and civil society to increase the effectiveness of preventive measures, treatment and rehabilitation of addicted people. The partners and participants of the Marathon were public organizations, famous musicians and journalists, public figures and intellectuals: Alexander Kulinkovich, Tamara Lisitskaya, Pavel Harlanchuk-Yuzhakov, Anna Bond, Denis Dudinsky, Masha Neporyadkina, Stas Karpov, Dmitry Podberezkin, Sergey Dubavets, Sergey Khorevsky, Alexander Pomidorov, Sergey Chaly, Ilya Malinovsky, Valyaryna Kustova, Ales Piletsky, Pavel Arakelyan, Gleb Lobodenko, Living Library, Mothers Against Drugs, Phoenix Rehabilitation Center, Space ‘Vverh’, Adliga Design Studio, Dinamo Minsk Hockey Team , a group of companies MediaCube, Naka Piano, Navi Band and others. Experts were doctors from specialized departments of the Republican Scientific Practical Center for Mental Health and the toxicological department of the emergency hospital.

Publications of the project on the partner’s website

Video on YOUTUBE Link.

Non-Dependence Marathon resulted in certain proposals to governmental authorities regarding preventive measures, prophylactic treatment and assistance to addicted people by public associations and not indifferent initiatives (the full text with the rationale in Russian is available here):

1) Cooperation with civil society should be intensified and measures should be taken to support organizations providing assistance to addicted people (using a coefficient of 0.1 to rent premises for organizations where self-help groups of dependent people in Minsk and regions work, as well as for organizations that rehabilitate addicted people; social partnership in the field of abuse prevention – admission of public associations to allocated state funds for abuse prevention through participation in public competitions / tenders held by the state; attracting a wide range of public organizations to discuss government programs and action plans aimed at helping addicted people; providing information about the work of public associations);

2) Restrictions on access to alcoholic beverages (imposing a ban on the sale of alcohol at night; reducing the production of cheap wines, increasing the cost of alcoholic beverages and beer; prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages and beer near children’s and school institutions within a radius of 200 meters);

3) Training of addiction specialists (to develop a special course on addictive behavior with specialists from rehabilitation centers and specialists from the Department of Psychotherapy and Medical Psychology of the Republican Center for Mental Health and introduce a training program for psychologists; training for school psychologists);

4) Measures for the provision of primary professional assistance to addicted people (the introduction of the position of full-time dependency counselor in large enterprises, who will advise dependent employees and work on abuse prevention);

5) The introduction of an alternative to punishment for acts committed in connection with addictions (when driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, additionally to measures of administrative responsibility, it is necessary to use: compulsory visits to Alcoholics Anonymous groups, other self-help groups and programs that work with non-governmental organizations, or visits to a dependency psychologist at violator’s expense for three months. For a minor crime related to addiction, entailing punishment up to 5 years in prison, the introduction into the law of alternative measures of responsibility – special treatment from dependencies instead of imprisonment,);

6) Measures to create conditions for the rehabilitation of addicted persons (together with public rehabilitation centers to develop a concept for rehabilitation centers; increase the length of stay in medical rehabilitation programs from 28 days to 60 days providing a disability certificate; start treating dependent persons not only at the place of their registration).