Mission. Objectives. Activities
The Center for Social Assistance "LUNa" is an organization created to protect and support people facing addiction problems to improve their quality of life.
- Improving access of people affected by addiction problems to high-quality medical, social and psychological services in connection with HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and other socially significant diseases in the Sverdlovsk region;
- Reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with drug addiction and affected by the epidemic of HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, among the general population and health workers;
- Development of the potential of people affected by addiction problems, and their return to society;
- Development of a gender-sensitive line of work: improving the quality of life of women living with alcohol and drug addiction, affected by the epidemic of HIV infection and other socially significant diseases, released from prison.
- Facilitating NGOs interactions with government agencies and the media in working with vulnerable groups.
- Medical and social support;
- Assistance in hospitalizations for undergoing free-of-charge drug treatment and rehabilitation;
- Humanitarian aid;
- Consulting on the prevention of HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis and other socially significant diseases and assistance in access to treatment of these diseases;
- Rapid testing for HIV and hepatitis C;
- Assistance in the restoration of documents;
- Legal advice;
- Psychologist and peer counseling;
- The program of resocialization and adaptation in society for people who use psychoactive substances.
- Trainings of NGOs representatives working in the field of diseases prevention among vulnerable groups, in interactions with the media and government agencies.
The organization's employees have extensive experience in programs for the prevention of HIV infection and other socially significant diseases among people with drug addiction. Many of them know from their own experience what “addiction” is, and how to cope with various social, medical and legal problems that are inevitable when using psychoactive substances. We have social work specialists, psychologists and medical professionals with extensive experience in providing services to people in difficult life situations.
In 2011, on the basis of the Sverdlovsk regional charitable public organization "Chance Plus", a support group for drug addicted women was created under the name "LUNa". In accordance with the needs of the women, an immediate response team was organized, which included an outreach worker, social worker, psychologist, lawyer and counseling attorney. The group worked around the clock on the hotline to immediately respond to incidents of violence, including by police officers, against women, as well as discrimination in connection with drug use by other government agencies.
For 9 months of work, the helpline received 183 appeals, as a result of which the women were provided with legal and psychological support. At the same time, it became necessary to conduct training events for women - these were one-day seminars on the main topics related to violations of women's rights, including those related to drug use: reproductive health, prevention of violence, protection of their rights under the law, as well as seminars on HIV prevention. infections, viral hepatitis and STIs.
In 2013, work began on rapid testing of women for HIV and syphilis. In 2013, 222 women were tested for HIV infection - 73 tested positive for the first time. All women were accompanied to the AIDS center for further examination and treatment. In addition, work was carried out on social and legal support for women. A total of 269 women received assistance, of which 23 were provided with full legal support.
All women who turn to the organization for help live in socially disadvantaged conditions and find themselves in a difficult life situation. To support women, the distribution of humanitarian aid is also used, which includes food kits and kits of basic necessities: for women with children, kits for babies (including diapers, feeding bottles, nipples) are also issued.
Since November 2013, the chairperson of the Chance Plus Council has been elected to the Public Monitoring Commission (POC) for violations in places of detention, due to which the organization has gained access to work in places of detention. First of all, the circle of problems faced by women, getting to places of detention, was outlined - violence by the enforcement authorities, deprivation of parental rights, violations of the right to parole in connection with drug use, illegal deprivation of wages, illegal deprivation visiting relatives. In general, women living with HIV infection and who used drugs before imprisonment are more exposed to such violations of their rights.
Since 2014, work has begun to protect the rights of women in prisons, in the field of their social and constitutional rights. Humanitarian support is also provided to women who, once in prison, have lost the support of their relatives and friends. Basically, the work of the organization is aimed at identifying and legal protection of cases of violence by state bodies. Such cases are recorded: if an opportunity is given, then women are provided with legal and psychological assistance.
In 2015, the organization implemented the following projects:
- “Access of women who use drugs to gender services” jointly with the Andrey Rylkov Foundation with the support of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA);
- "Protection of the rights of women who use drugs, victims of police violence" with the support of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA). Within the framework of the project, close cooperation was achieved with the POC of the Sverdlovsk region, which included a woman who had a previous drug use experience. The organization gained access to the protection of the rights of women in prison.
Along with the work on social support and rapid testing of women, the organization constantly employs "peer" consultants, psychologists, accompanies clients to the project partners: the gynecological service, whenever possible, conducts a free examination of women for female diseases and STIs.
The work of a self-help group continues, which is currently coordinated and led by drug addicted women themselves. Also, weekly seminars on the protection of women's rights, violence prevention, and reproductive health continue to be held.
In 2016, with the support of the EHRA, the organization implemented the first stage of the Women for Humane Drug Policy project. The project was implemented in 11 cities of the Sverdlovsk region (Yekaterinburg, Pervouralsk, Revda, Bisert, Nevyansk, Verkhoturye, Artemovsky, Verkhnyaya Salda, Bogdanovich, Nizhnyaya Tura). In each city, police departments, a penitentiary facility, a temporary detention facility were visited, where women who use drugs were administratively detained, according to Articles 6.9 and 6.8 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation. We found 50 women who agreed to take a survey on the impact of administrative fines and arrests on their lives. We also interviewed 10 employees of institutions who, directly in their work, encounter female drug users arrested for using or possessing small doses of drugs. The results of this survey were presented in Kiev at a high-level event “Finding alternative methods of influence in response to repressive drug policy”. A round table was also organized to which employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Federal Drug Control Service, rehabilitation centers, the Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as members of the POC of the Sverdlovsk Region were invited. As a result of this project, we began work with the Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Sverdlovsk Region, aimed at applying alternative measures of influence for the possession of small doses, as well as doses of drugs for their own use for women who use drugs.
In 2016, IG LUNa was officially registered with the Ministry of Justice under the name of the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization "LUNA Social Assistance Center."
Contact person: Lyudmila Vins.