Repressive Drug Policies Fuel Overdoses in Estonia – An Interview with Mart Kalvet

Drug reporter - Estonia is a country hit hard by the opioid overdose epidemic. People struggling with overdoses in other countries can learn a lot from the Estonian example about what works and what does not work in preventing deaths and suffering. We interviewed Mart Kalvet, an activist representing LUNEST, the Estonian organisation of people who use drugs.

(...)  The rate of drug users living with HIV and hepatitis C is also relatively high in your country. What are the current trends?

On the one hand, in the last decade, between 2007 and 2016, the number of new HIV cases in Estonia has dropped by almost two thirds, which is great. On the other hand, we still have the highest occurrence of new cases of HIV in the EU — in 2015, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in Estonia was 20, almost seven times greater than north of the border, in Finland, where this number is around 3, and more than three times greater than the EU average, which is 5.8 new cases per 100,000 people. So, we still have a lot of work to do before we can say we’ve dug ourselves out of that hole.

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