Women Drug Addicts – Stigma, Discrimination, Violence

28 Mar, 2012

Union ‘Step to the Future’ held a meeting at the Open Society Georgia Founation (OSGF) on March 23.  The meeting was dedicated to the sigma, discrimination and violence against women drug addicts.

Non-governmental organizations Step to the Future, the Xenon Association and New Way unveiled during the meeting results of a study, in which 47 women drug addicts took part.  A working group set up during the meeting will build future plans based on study findings.

Currently, drug addiction among women is a taboo topic in Georgia.  According to experts, the estimated number of women drug addicts in the country is 8000.  35% of women prisoners in Georgia have been jailed due to drug use or drug related crimes. This figure significantly exceeds the number of men that serve a prison sentence for similar crime. 

According to the AIDs Center, in March 2012,  3216 cases of HIV/AID were registered, of which 863 were women. 56,2% of the infected are intravenous drug users. According to the authors of the study, the number of drug addicts infected by Hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases is very high among women, however accurate statistical data are not available.

The study findings show that most of the women drug addicts are subject to regular physical, psychological and sexual violence.  „66% of respondents experienced violence in their childhood, while 80.9% are still victims of violence. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that people are not aware of places they should apply to for assistance.  Most of the women have never heard about the crisis center, shelter, harm reduction service centers and other available services or even if they know they do not apply to them for help  because quite often they are ashamed and afraid due to a strict drug policy in Georgia”, said Nino Mchedlishvili of Step to the Future.