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Global Call for Solidarity with People who Use Drugs in Ukraine

3 March, 2022

INPUD stands in solidarity with the Ukranian Network of People who Use Drugs (PUD.UA/VOLNA), the Ukranian Network of Women who Use Drugs (UNWUD/VONA) and all Ukrainian peers, colleagues, and friends against the invasion of their country by Russia. This senseless act of aggression has unnecessarily put countless lives at risk. As during all times of war and conflict, people who use drugs have found themselves particularly vulnerable.

Our statement above calls for the following actions to be taken by UN agencies, the Global Fund, multilateral and bilateral donors and other stakeholders:

– Work to ensure the implementation of the directive from the Ministry of Health, Ukraine No 26-04/538/2-22 dated 25.02.2022 regarding harm reduction programmes, particularly the administration of at least 15 days take home OAT doses, making sure it is implemented across all regions of Ukraine. More recent directives now recommend 30-day take home doses.

– Address the immediate risk of stockouts of drug treatment and overdose prevention by: creating a coordinating body to work on supply and procurement issues, including resolving blockages related to the purchase and receipt of drugs from state and non-state manufacturers; developing a regulatory framework for the purchase, provision and transport – including cross-border movements – of drugs (methadone, buprenorphine, tramadol) in the form of humanitarian aid and its delivery to treatment centres; re-distributing donor funds for setting up and expanding mobile clinics and community- and peer-led responses in delivering critical services such as needles and syringes, OAT and naloxone; and for the purchase and delivery of drugs to medical centres.

– Facilitate ease of access and mobility for people who use drugs by ensuring services are low threshold by removing all barriers for those entering and continuing treatment. People who use drugs must be able to register and receive medications, including methadone and buprenorphine across different sites, including in pharmacies.

– Donors must immediately make emergency funding available and ensure maximum flexibility to meet humanitarian needs, such as food, shelter, transport, protection from violence and medical supplies, including projecting their investment towards addressing post-crisis trauma and issues.

– Coordinate with neighbouring countries (Poland, Romania, Moldova etc.) to deal effectively with an increase in refugees who require continuation of OAT, ARV, TB and viral Hepatitis treatment. This includes ensuring adequate supply of medication and commodities and removing barriers to entry and treatment continuation without discrimination.