Compulsory treatment for alcoholism may begin as June of this year, if the laws prepare by the Ministry of Health are approved by the Seimas in its spring session. The drafting of these laws was prompted in part by tragic events in Lithuania, including the tragedies in Kražiai and Kėdainiai.
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According to Minister of Health Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė, the events in Kražiai in November 2015, when a man murdered four elderly women in order to obtain money for alcohol, provided some of the impetus for the new compulsory alcoholism treatment proposal. The legal project has already been prepared and will soon be registered with the Seimas. Alcoholics would receive treatments similar to those provided to drug addicts.

“The treatment should first be provided to those who use alcohol non-stop for no less than a month, who harm their family members and loved ones with physical and psychological violence, and who cannot ensure their own safety or that of their property. There have been requests to provide such individuals with voluntary treatment, that is, with their agreement, but they refused and often couldn't make that decision,” said Šalaševičiūtė.

The minister also said that pregnant women would also receive compulsory alcoholism treatment if their alcohol consumption were to threaten the child's life. Similar policies are in place in Sweden, Norway and Poland.

Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis, however, expressed his doubt that such treatments could achieve anything more than a temporary benefit. “I am sceptical about whether real results can be reached with compulsory treatment. I've heard that that practice, which has been around for a while, can give the opposite results. Fundamentally, I believe that for such a legal regulation, if the person is a threat, isolation is necessary,” he said.

According to the minister of health, the compulsory health insurance fund would compensate part of the cost of the medicine. Money for compulsory alcoholism treatments could also be withdrawn from funds meant for assisted fertility treatments, because though the money has been allocated for these treatments, the Seimas has failed to ratify them.

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