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The Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas replied to the interpellation concerning the role of the Ministry of Social Affairs in reducing drug-related deaths (No 357), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalev Kotkas, Andres Anvelt, Neeme Suur, Kalvi Kõva, Eiki Nestor, Jaak Allik, Helmen Kütt, Urve Palo, Jaan Õunapuu, Rannar Vassiljev, Indrek Saar, Heljo Pikhof, Sven Mikser, Marianne Mikko, Mart Meri and Karel Rüütli on 19 September. 

The interpellators wished to know which methods the Ministry of Social Affairs is planning to take to reduce drug-related deaths next year. 

Rõivas noted that nearly all ministries are involved in one way or another in solving the problems related to the issues of reducing the spread of drug abuse, drug abuse prevention as well as addressing the consequences. 

Rõivas said that, in the population health development plan for 2009–2020, in the measure for reducing drug abuse, the sphere of responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs includes prevention, activities directed at harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation. Besides the measures to reduce drug abuse, some activities, for example, syringe exchange and drug abuse treatment, are reflected in the HIV/AIDS prevention measure. 

Rõivas emphasised the importance of providing counselling services for drug addicts and their families, as well as the monitoring of this field and the conducting of scientific research. As an example, he referred to a study of health behaviour of Estonian school students. 

The Minister said that a “naloxone programme” has also been has been launched this year which is directly aimed at reducing deaths caused by drug overdoses. It is an antidote that can be used in the case when very strong drugs have been used and symptoms characteristic of an overdose arise. 

“The 2014 budget for activities in the field of drug abuse is approximately four million euro in the Ministry of Social Affairs. To reduce deaths caused by drug overdoses, the naloxone programme which was already started this year is planned to be extended next year. All the above mentioned activities will also be continued: the treatment, rehabilitation as well as counselling services,” Rõivas said. 

During the open microphone, Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor.

The Riigikogu Press Service