Supplies of the drugs they need for everyday
functioning have been halted from mainland Ukraine since the end of February. With stocks on the peninsula set to run out within 10 days or less, 800
patients and their families are facing the end of what, for them, is a life-saving treatment.
“There’s just no limit to our worry right
now,” said Almira Mischenko, whose son Philip is receiving substitution
therapy. “Without this program we would have buried our children by now. If it
stops, we’ll be back in hell.”
Opioid Substitution Therapy is a
medically-based response to long-term drug addiction. People who have tried and
failed to stop drug use can receive a substitution drug that is less addicting — often methadone or orbuprenorphine — under medical control. This enables them to quit their dependence on illegal drugs, bringing them back
into mainstream society and enabling them to receive regular medical treatment
for related health problems like hepatitis C and HIV.