Harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally

The Alliance for Public Health organises webinar “Introducing harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally in EECA and the Balkans”, with the support from ReGeneration and DPNSEE.

Recreational drug use is on the rise, but at the same time young people who engage in it are not properly targeted by harm reduction services and don’t receive the necessary support, information and commodities they need to prevent them from turning to problematic use and all the relevant consequences.

On this webinar international experience on planning and implementing harm reduction programs specifically for this target population will be shared. Also, the draft guide that on this topic will be presented.

The Agenda includes topics:

  • Introducing the key principles and the justification behind the need to advocate for, develop and offer HR services for people who use recreationally.
  • Promoting Safety, Health, and Well-being: The need for Systematic implementation of Harm Reduction Strategies in Southeastern European Festivals.
  • Ukrainian experience on harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally.
  • #SafeParty – good practice example of multi-sectoral approach in nightlife harm reduction and recreation settings.
  • Q&A and Discussion.

This webinar will be useful for program managers, advocates, policy makers and communities from across the region to help them inform their decisions and actions.

The webinar will be held via Zoom platform on Tuesday 25 July, from 11:00 to 12:30 CET. Translations will be available in English, Russian, BHCS and Albanian.

Please register to participate following this link>>>.


Consultation on community-based harm reduction services

International AIDS Society (IAS), in partnership with Medicins du Monde and the consultant Rafaela Rigoni, is developing a policy brief on community-delivered harm reduction services and integration with HIV and HCV services. The brief will include a literature overview on the topic, good practice examples of community-based harm reduction services integrating HCV services, and recommendations for further developments. The document is intended for policy guidance and advocacy purposes and will be widely distributed.

The partners believe that integrating the knowledge of people working on the field is essential to develop effective and feasible guidance. Therefore, you are being invited to contribute to the development of this brief by sharing with us your expectations around a policy brief and your experience with community-delivered harm reduction services and integration with HCV services. For that, they would like to ask you to answer the five questions below and send it back to them. Your relevant information will be anonymised and integrated into the policy brief.

Key questions:

  1. Please provide a short summary of the harm reduction services that your organization offers.
  2. How do your harm reduction services address HCV, HIV, TB and associated health risks for people who use drugs?
  3. What are the main challenges involved in integrating HCV approach and treatment into harm reduction services?
  4. What points do you consider essential for the development of good community-delivered harm reduction services that address HCV?
  5. What points do you consider essential (form and content) for the development of a policy brief that will be useful to support grassroots advocacy in support of community-delivered harm reduction services to address HIV and HCV?

For responses and any questions regarding this consultation or the policy brief, please refer to Rafaela Rigoni at contact@rafaelarigoni.com.

How have closing of services affected drug users?

DPNSEE member organisation Re Generacija implemented the survey “Access to services of ex-users of the needle and syringe programme closed in Belgrade and Budapest” with the support of the Rights Reporter Foundation. Aim of the survey, implemented in 2018, was to analyse the consequences of closing the services and the effects that it has on risks and daily life of injecting drug users. Objectives included to reach out to the service users and learning about their current use of substances, mapping their access to services, sterile injecting equipment and analysing their perception of the closure of services and most important currently missing service. The conference was also an opportunity to discuss the current situation with recently established outreach programmes, as well as opioid substitution therapy and early warning system for new psychoactive substances.

The results of the survey were presented today at the conference organised together with the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Republic of Serbia. The conference was held in the Palace of Serbia, with participants coming from both governmental and civil society sectors.

Two major groups of users were approached by the survey: drug users which were using the services for a long time and Roma people. A typical drug user both in Belgrade and Budapest is male, in mid-forties, with low education and income. In Budapest, users mainly use new psychoactive substances (synthetic cathinones), while in Belgrade they mainly use opioids (heroine). One of the main conclusion from the survey is that closing the services caused even more difficulties to reach out to drug users who are usually very suspicious.

To get more information and results of the survey, please contact Re Generacija following this link>>>>.