In the spirit of the general government planning for a sweeping privatization of all public structures in Health, Education, Culture, institutional changes in Mental Health and De-addiction were drawn up and announced, under the false, misleading title “Psychiatric Reform”. With a firman – Press Release of the Ministry, the creation of two agencies was announced, the National Network of Mental Health Services and the Unified Organization for the Prevention and Treatment of Addictions.
They intend to include the 18 Ano De-addiction Unit in this large umbrella of the Unified Organization of Addictions. The Organization will be a Legal Entity of Private Law – NPID, with management in accordance with the standards of OKANA, appointed by the government and will include OKANA, KETHEA, 18 Senior Drug Addicts and 18 Senior Alcoholics, as well as the corresponding rehabilitation programs of the NHS hospitals (PSNA, PSNTH, IOANNINE and CORFU).
This counter-reform measure does not ensure the public and free nature of addiction services, opening the back door to its abolition, no matter how reassuring assurances the relevant ministers give today.
The arbitrary unification of programs with different philosophies, different character, different historical origins effectively abolishes the functional autonomy of each program with all its structures.
It also removes the therapeutic continuum with negative effects on the therapeutic outcome of addiction itself.
In the area of Addictions, 6 Directorates are created (De-addiction, Substitution, Harm Reduction, Prisons, Prevention, Social Reintegration), appointed by the Ministry and the “chosen” of the government and each government. A “Scientific Committee” is also created, also appointed by the Ministry to give him a scientific alibi.
A water-headed, centralized bureaucratic mechanism is being formed, with enormous and uncontrolled powers that will act as a transmission belt for government decisions. The programs’ elected bodies, interdepartmental committees and others) will have no power and no authority, effectively nullifying the special character and philosophy of the addiction treatment program itself.
About 1,500 employees currently work in the programs that are part of the Unified Organization, with different employment relationships, permanent, with an open-ended contract, with a fixed-term contract, etc. Nothing is guaranteed and no competent person is committed that all these employees will be kept in their positions. And it is these workers who selflessly offer their services, despite the fact that their numbers have been constantly decreasing in recent years, despite the accumulated operational problems and despite their low wages.
However, their positions are not guaranteed, with the new legislation, since it is certain that no governor will go against the government’s fiscal policy and the pressure from above for drastic cuts in public spending. Moreover, the tragic understaffing of the entire NHS, which continues despite the protests and mass resignations of doctors, confirms the fears of the planned transfer of sectors and services to the predatory private sector, through various types of partnerships.
The design as a whole is perforated. Nothing is planned for scientific personnel on-call, for allowances (unhealthy work and others given only to OKANA, etc.) and many others.
No time was given for the necessary dialogue. The government is in a hurry to end PUBLIC AND FREE DEPENDENCY. It is urgent because, as the mega-businessman V. Mytilineos recently said publicly, “all painful measures must be taken in the next 12-18 months” in order for the government to prevent expected popular reactions and political pressures.
The government is now rushing to finish the largest public Rehab Unit, 18 Ano, with its rich history of struggles to ensure such a high level of service, with international recognition. Always on the side of the socially excluded and outcasts, 18ano fights against biology, the notion that addiction is a “brain disease, chronic and incurable”, that the only treatment is “harm reduction” and maintenance-perpetuation of dependence. 18 Ano, on the contrary, approaching the phenomenon from a psychosocial perspective, opened and continues to open new paths in the field of therapeutic treatment and the equal reintegration of addicts with an active role in social becoming.
At a time when addictions of all types are increasing exponentially, the Mitsotakis government is trying to extinguish a beacon of hope, like 18 Ano, for addicts who are still using and for their families. He fears release from the nightmare of addiction more than addiction itself
RESISTANCE to these plans is the only way for the workers of 18 Ano and all public addiction programs, for the NHS itself which needs addiction programs, for the families of addicts, for all people of Science, Art and Culture, for the labor movement, for the entire suffering SOCIETY.
The common STRUGGLE is about a system that breeds and maintains addictions and at the same time closes every horizon of change, every way out, every hope to get these children out of the hell of addiction. It is about a government that commercializes the dreams of the young, defies expectations and sacrifices lives on the altar of profit. Disrupting and overturning the system is imperative.