Waitlist for addiction treatment center in Viljandi up to two years

Discarded syringe. Photo is illustrative. (Postimees/Scanpix)
Olev Kenk, Jämejala
4/2/2016 11:37 AM
Category: News

Viljandi Hospital’s Dependents’ Rehabilitation Centre, which yesterday celebrated four years of operation, has the facilities to treat up to 23 patients with drug addictions at once, and as treatment is free of charge and available for both men and women, the waitlist for the facility can stretch up to two years.

Grete had been an injecting drug addict for ten years, whose road to addiction began with softer and gradually led to the use of harder and harder drugs, reported ETV’s nightly news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera.” Then the thefts began, and it was all downhill from there.

“Ultimately I began injecting,” Grete admitted. “I couldn’t go to work anymore because my hands looked like — well, I didn’t have veins to inject into anymore.”

Her family had stopped talking to her, she lost her friends, and Grete felt she had been cut off from the world. By now, however, she has found a new job and place to live, and all is well once again in her life.

“I am working somewhere where I really put my heart and soul into my work — I help other drug addicts — and every day I am one step closer to achieving my dreams,” said Grete. “And for that, I can only thank Viljandi Hospital.”

Treatment at Viljandi Hospital’s Dependents’ Rehabilitation Centre is voluntary. Inpatient treatment lasts up to nine months, after which the facility continues to provide support for patients for at least a year following treatment, as they reenter society.

“Nobody leaves here without having a place to stay,” explained Katrin Viira, a rehabilitation specialist at Viljandi Hospital. “We work in cooperation with local governments, continue cooperation in offering follow-up care, and the job hunt begins while here as well.”

Limited access to treatment remains problematic

Access to treatment is a somewhat complicated issue, however.

“If we take into account that we have 12,000-15,000 actively injecting drug addicts in Estonia, then about 50 beds for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts is definitely not enough,” said Priit Tampere, the chairman of the board of directors at Viljandi Hospital. “It is a complicated enough issue; waiting lists are long.”

Despite all difficulties, however, Viljandi Hospital alone has already granted a new life to 50 patients.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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