Descriminalização. The story about the Portuguese project IN-Mouraria.

 
 

Today in our “their experience” column the story on Portuguese project which is called IN-Mouraria http://www.gatportugal.org/projetos/inmouraria_1.

This is the drop-in center which is located in the block of Lisbon called Mouraria and was opened in 2012.

“I started to use drugs from 12 years old, today I use crack and hashish”, – says M. with a smile; according to her the total experience of drug use is over 30 years.

 

What Is It

The participants of the project position themselves as  IN-Mouraria center of integrated answers (social and medical) for people who use drugs to decrease the risk and damage connected to drug usage with special focus on prevention of HIV (human immunodefficiency virus)and hepatitis C. They declare that for today this project is the only one in their own way in all territory of Portugal.

 

 

Project Staff

The center includes technical coordinator, financial coordinator, doctors, hospital nurse, specialist on social work, the person responsible for mediatory work, the person responsible for data processing, volunteers and other – 15 people in total.

On that day the group included 3 social specialists and hospital nurse. Besides one of social specialists is drug addicted thus is an active user of drugs. But this is not an obstacle; all people in staff receive salary.

Many of such centers in other countries find necessary financial support with difficulty, they pay for rent of the room, salary of personnel and rendering necessary service which are usually not covered by government programs.

 

Areas of Competence

  • Quick testing for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis (free of charge and anonymous, available for everyone who came, takes about 20 minutes);
  • Medical consulting, help with medication, visit of a doctor;
  • Social help: information and help in the areas connected with addictions and their treatment;
  • Help with documents, social grants, legal questions, work/ study, accommodation and access to other services;
  • Phone and Internet access – all free of charge, distribution of hygienic packages and clothes;
  • Distribution of materials for use of smoking and injection products as well as condoms and lubricants (oiling gels).

 

Besides ordinary sets for use of injection drugs they distribute sets for crack smoking. Kitbase is one of achievements in the opinion of project directors. These sets are fully paid from the state budget.

The specialist who is responsible for social support tells that by request of drug user he/she helps him/her to find rehabilitation center and enter the methadone program. The procedure of receiving methadone is simplified thus even a foreigner can receive methadone.

” I think they trust us as we are not strict to them”, – says a woman who is responsible for consulting.

The center staff will also help to find job without saying that job seeker is addicted of narcotic substances. This is because stigma still remains and employers still have no wish to offer job to such a contingent. They will also help with documents because the majority of clients have problems with documents. They will also help to apply for job with job center so that the client could receive monthly payment. The size of this payment is 184 Euro which you will have no need to report for and can spend on your own.

” I think they trust us as we are not strict to them”, – says a woman who is responsible for consulting.  Nearly 60 people a day ask for her help meanwhile the number of those who came for medical help to the neighboring room is even higher. The medical nurse is responsible for tests and analysis. During 20 minutes one can know his/her HIV status or hepatitis occurrence.

 “I am here not to spy on those people”, – says a boy who is distributing material for risk and damage decrease.

Also there exists a room where everyone brings clothes and boots so that you can take the things you need. Looking at the toilet door with big glass window I noticed that someone in the toilet is making an injection. “I am here not to spy on those people”, – says a boy who is distributing material for risk and damage decrease. In the end there is a hospital nurse who is always ready to provide the first help.

 

Working Hours

each day from 2 to 4 pm and from 5 to 8 pm

More people come after 5 pm, for them they offer coffee and sandwiches, they invent events and for example produce the film.

“I started to use drugs from 12 years old, today I use crack and hashish”, – says M. with a smile; according to her the total experience of drug use is over 30 years. She is feeling herself on her own place being the specialist of this organization.

 

Comments are closed.