Today, the whole world is watching the situation in the Republic of Belarus as potentially historic events take place. Peaceful revolution and unification of the people – this has not been the case in the country for a very long time.
Belarus has been ruled by a dictator for 26 years – the last one in Europe. Everyone was so tired of this that the falsification of the last presidential election by Alexander Lukashenko became a tipping point, after which the people’s patience broke. The people are finally awake. They have stopped being afraid and have taken to the streets all over the country.
The government have responded with violence, beatings, and killings of peaceful protesters.
The streets of the cities were filled with rivers of people who did not agree with the existing regime. All Belarusians say that they have never seen such a thing. It is not clear how events will develop in the future, but what is happening is, of course, the recent history of Belarus, which is free and democratic.
As for the community of opioid substitution therapy (OST) patients and people who use drugs – as always in such situations, whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic, revolution, etc., they are most vulnerable to the consequences. Despite the fact that OST programs and harm reduction services are operating normally, many members of the community are afraid of the consequences of what may happen in the country in the very near future.
Today there is a danger that, in order to save his power, Lukashenko will turn to Russia for help. People are afraid of Russian interference, despite the fact that this has been happening for a long time at various levels of politics and economy. The influence of Russia is also felt on the development of substitution therapy programs in the country, which is why for many years it has not been possible to register buprenorphine in Belarus. New programs are not opened, and despite the great need for them, those programs that already exist are closed.
The main fear and expectation of the community in Belarus today is a repeat of the situation in Crimea in 2014, when all OST programs were simultaneously closed there. This was a disaster and caused numerous deaths of the program’s participants. In Belarus today, 700 people are participating in the OST program throughout the country. These people are so scared that some clients are already ready to reduce their dosages and are going to leave the OST program. Their actions feed various rumors that exist in the community, but no one knows what is really waiting for them in the very near future.
DUNews talked about all this in the video “Belarus: every human life” with Sergey Kryzhevich, Deputy Chairman of the organisation “Your Chance”, Belarus, which unites OST patients and people who use drugs.