Government covers medical costs of drug overdose patients

As Health Minister announced the initiative was a part of a greater strategy to reduce drug overdose death cases., 13 Aug 2014 - 14:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs is ready to cover the medical costs of patients who seek medical aid in instances when they have overdosed on drugs. 

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko today announced this initiative was a part of a greater strategy to reduce the number of deaths from drug overdose, as the health and lives of all citizens were "equally important". 

He said there had been an "extremely liberal" attitude towards pharmacy drug addiction in Georgia for  many years, while at the same time, the attitude towards those who consumed drugs was "somewhat oppressive". 

"Our goal is to bring these two vectors in a logical direction and this initiative is one part of the strategy to lift the human psychological barriers,” Sergeenko said.  He redeclared his yesterday's announcement that medical staff who treated drug overdose cases will not be obliged to inform law enforcement agencies anymore. 

In addition, the Ministry will now cover the costs of medical services for these patients.  Sergeenko underlined in the past two years no one had been punished for a drug overdose and appearing at a medical facility and the existing regulation was "just a psychological deterrent factor which has now been removed". 

Following the change accorsing to the Minister’s order dated December 2000, ambulance staff and medical experts were no longer obliged to inform law enforcement agencies when a person experienced a drug overdose.  

Relevant agencies will be informed about overdose cases. Other circumstances must be passed on to police, such as all cases involving traumatic injury, when the patient is unconscious or indicated forced action; all cases of sudden death; all cases of violent death; suspected poisoning cases when the patient is unconscious or indicates forced action; all group cases of chemical or radiation poisoning and food poisoning.