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Law on drug overdoses amended

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, August 13
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Welfare of Georgia has issued a new decree, according to which it will not be mandatory for a doctor to inform the police about health problems caused by a drug overdose, except under specific circumstances described in the document.

Such circumstances are traumatic or suspicious incidents, when a patient is unconscious or the patient shows signs of physical abuse; when the patient is unconscious due to intoxication; shows symptoms of chemical, radiation or food intoxication, or in the case of accidental death or in the case of death within the first 24 hours of the overdose.

According to the Pro-rector of the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Sophio Kiladze, MIA was not acting in cases of overdose due to the Interior Minister’s order. However, the approach was not written in legislation.

“This is a very humanistic step from the side of the government. With this step, they proved that the most important thing is a person’s life. I must note that there is nothing new or special about this amendment. The Minister of Interior had spread a statement with regard to drug overdosing a long time ago. We’ve been working together with the health ministry on regulations and this is the result of the joint work,” Kiladze stated

According to Kiladze, during the last 2 years there has not been a single case when someone was imprisoned due to a drug overdose.

“However, there is still a fear among people, they are afraid to go to hospitals in case of an overdose, because they think they might have a problem with law enforcement,” stated Kiladze.

Kiladze also stated that the new information must be spread through media sources, so that everyone around the country has this information and in the case of an overdose immediately seek professional care.

Doctors had a responsibility to report to the police any cases concerning an overdose from December 5, 2000 until now. The order about changing this law was drafted by the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Care of Georgia Davit Sergeenko.