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Although Romania has been a member of the European Union since 2007 it is still one of the poorest countries in Europe where the average income is less than 400 Euro a month. Addiction treatment is a low priority in Romania and the only public health service are sprawling mental hospitals where addicts are locked up for a few days of detox. There are over 20,000 heroin addicts in Bucharest, the capital city, but less than 10% of them are provided with methadone or clean needles.
We researched treatment options in Romania last year (you can see the article here) and found that there were only a handful of very small residential treatment centres, for a population of over 20 million, and also very few self-help groups like AA. This fits with the popular view in Romania that alcoholics and addicts only have themselves to blame and there's no point wasting scarce resources on them.
Castle Craig has been interested in sharing treatment knowledge with Romania ever since our chairman, Peter McCann, first visited the country about five years ago. For the last two years Rupert Wolfe Murray has been representing Castle Craig in Romania.
This year we signed a partnership agreement with PsyMotion -- the only private psychiatric clinic in Romania that specialises in addiction treatment (they have an out-patient clinic in Bucharest). For the first time, Romanian addicts will be able to access professional psychiatric assessment, as well as aftercare (at PsyMotion) and access the intensive treatment programme that we offer at Castle Craig.
In May 2012 we presented this new partnership to the Romanian media by organising a seminar. Dr Gabriel Cicu, the leading psychiatrist at PsyMotion, and Rupert Wolfe Murray explained the advantages of residential treatment to the Romanian media and showed our short presentation film which has been translated into Romanian. We got positive coverage in the leading Romanian newspaper (Adevarul), the top news agency (Mediafax), an online women's magazine, as well as public radio and scores of internet based news sites.
Hopefully this will be the start of a long and fruitful partnership in Romania - helping Romanian addicts and sharing our expertise in addiction treatment and raising awareness, about addiction and the hope of recovery, in Romania.
Rupert Wolfe Murray
Editor, writer, video producer and European Representative for Castle Craig.