You know how you meet some people and you don’t realize the effect that they had on you until later? Until you’re staring out a window and you find that they keep entering your thoughts? I’ve met a few people like that recently. One of them is Pavel Kutsev. I only had a chance to meet with him three times. We had scheduled a forth meeting, a visit to the clinic where he receives methadone substitution therapy for his drug addiction. Afterward we were to grab a beer.

I wasn’t able to make it. I feel like a let down a friend.

But we did manage to make this video. Maybe it helps explain why Pavel had such an impact on me:

Many thanks to Maryna for her translation and for all her hard work to bring Pavel’s story to the rest of the world. Though I wasn’t able to visit the site where Pavel receives substitution therapy, I was able to read about it thanks to Maryna’s latest post on Rising Voices:

10 AM. There is a short line next to entrance of the pharmacology clinic called “Sociotherapy”. I see a poster on the wall in Ukrainian: “Not all people are alcoholics or drug addicts, but all alcoholics and drug addicts are people”. This is “the site” – a place where patients of substitution therapy receive pills of Methadone and Buprenorphine.

There are no very young people in line. Most of them are in their 30’s, but there are a few of 40’s and older. Each person has a story. There is a person with crutch, a mother holding a small child …

I am entering the site together with Pavel Kutsev. He is a journalist. He is 48 and he is an opiate addict. He and his wife Yanina, the editor-in chief for a newsletter for drug addicts “Motylek” has been in the program for a year and a half.

The whole post is well worth the five minutes it takes to read.