Survey on diagnostics for self-testing in Europe

The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) has launched a survey to map out the pricing and availability of self-test kits for HIV and HCV in the WHO European region.

The aim of this survey is to address the lack of knowledge/awareness of the current pricing and availability of self-test kits for HIV and HCV in the WHO European region. In addition, data collected through this survey will be reported on and disseminated to community members in the autumn of 2021.

The results will also be used to inform key informant interviews in the autumn 2021 to further investigate regulatory, policy context and practical challenges and solutions from a community perspective.

EATG is a patient-led NGO that advocates for the rights and interests of people living with or affected by HIV/ AIDS and related co-infections within the WHO Europe region.

The survey data collection will close on 10 September 2021.

The survey is available following this link>>>.

Research on EU Action Plan on Drugs

The EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) hosts the survey on Civil Society Perspectives on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs aiming to assess the state of implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 in the EU Member States and beyond. It is addressed to civil society organisations working in the field of drug policy. The survey is addressed to representatives of civil society working in drug policy and it’s all specific areas.

Following the survey conducted at the beginning of the Action Plan 2017-2020 implementation (report can be accessed here>>>), the CSFD continues the monitoring of accessibility and quality of key demand reduction and harm reduction measures. This survey aims to collect the data allowing for the evaluation of the current situation and identify the potential changes taking place during the last three years. Its results, complemented with other elements of this research project, will be published on the CSFD website.

It is extremely important to collect enough data to be able to see the general picture of the European situation. The CSFD research projects, including this survey, are one of the very few bottom-up attempts to fill this gap in knowledge. Collecting information on the state of key demand and harm reduction services will allow to identify shortcomings and gaps in drug policy implementation in European countries. This, in turn, will serve as information for policy-makers and an advocacy tool for civil society actors at the European, national, and local levels.

The survey is available following this link>>>. Deadline is 12 June 2021.

 

Impact of COVID-19 in Western Balkans

The EMCDDA has initiated a project investigating the impact of COVID-19 on people who use drugs, drug markets and challenges for drug service provision in the Western Balkans.

The  project is conducted using an adapted version of the Trendspotter methodology with the objective to increase our understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and national containment measures on  patterns of drug use, emerging harms and challenges and adaptations of  drug service providers in the Western Balkan region, as well as identify potential national best practices in responding to  this public health challenge. We take a step-wise approach with the first investigation focusing on service provision, followed by drug use patterns and risks and security issues.

The  investigation has multiple components  – namely expert surveys and facilitated groups.

The survey is available here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/Covid-19-IPA7-health. The deadline for completing it is the 12th of June.

In the second step, EMCDDA will be approaching regional experts from drug services and informed about service provision (OST, needle exchange programmes, harm reduction, treatment, drug services in prisons) in order to get a more in-depth understanding of the developments via facilitated groups.

 

Mini-European Web Survey on Drugs

In order to investigate and rapidly document the current impact of the COVID-19 epidemics and national responses in the EU Member States on changes in patterns of drug use, harms and service provision, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is carrying out a study using an adapted version of the trendspotter methodology across EU Member States, of which this survey on Impact of COVID-19 on patterns of drug use, harms and drug services in the European Union forms a part. The Mini European Web Survey on Drugs: COVID-19 is part of this snapshot and is being conducted across Europe. The aim is to gather information about how patterns of drug use may have changed in Europe due to COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 across Europe and subsequent national responses to contain and mitigate the epidemic (self-isolation, quarantine, confinement, lockdowns), information has emerged about unprecedented challenges for services providing care to people who use drugs in the community and in prisons. Anecdotal information also indicates that there may have be changes in drug use patterns and in how people are obtaining their drugs. Understanding and sharing information on the consequences of COVID-19 and national response measures on harms deriving from the lack of access to care and how services have adapted as a response may help services improve their responses.

The information collected is entirely confidential and will be kept safely. The questionnaire is also anonymous – although there are a few broad questions about general situation to help understand how different groups of people who use drugs have been affected by the COVID-19 restrictions and how services have responded in different parts of Europe. This will help the sharing of good practice and improved preparedness in the future.

To contribute to the survey, follow this link>>>

Perceptions of substances, public policies and users in France

Since 1999, the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) has been quantifying the opinions and perceptions of the French population on drugs and related public policies through the EROPP survey (Survey on representations, opinions and perceptions regarding psychoactive drugs). For this fifth edition, a sample of 2.001 individuals, representing the French population aged 18 to 75, was selected based on quota sampling. The survey makes it possible to see how opinions are structured around issues in the public debate but also to consider how opinions in France have developed over the last twenty years. For continuity, most of the themes studied in previous surveys have been kept (for example, the perceived dangerousness of different psychoactive substances, the representation of heroin users and opinions on drug legislation). In addition, questions on current topics and new issues have been added.

In 2018, the EROPP survey, now translated into Englosh, focused on five psychoactive substances: tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and heroin. Tendances No. 131 first discusses drug-related knowledge and how dangerous they are perceived to be. Secondly, it reports on individuals’ adherence to public policies that are currently in force or being discussed in France or in other countries. Finally, a final section summarises cannabis users’ opinions through a classification that groups together individuals with similar views. Where possible, the results are compared with those from previous surveys.

To read the survey follow this link>>>

Medicines Shortage Survey

The EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, TB and Hep working group on access to medicines is inviting you to contribute to a short survey on medicines shortages for the treatment of hepatitis B&C, HIV, TB and OST in 2019. The deadline for contribution is 27 June 23:59 CET.

The data collected and summarized will be used in a meeting with the European Commission with other civil society partners on 1 July 2019 to back a request for an investigation into the causes of shortages in order to improve understanding of the situations and possible solutions.

The survey is not limited to EU countries.

Please, fill in the survey here>>>

LGBT survey on happiness, sex and quality of life

The LGBT Foundation and the United Nations (UNAIDS) partnered with the Universities of Aix-Marseille and Minnesota for this quick survey on happiness, sex and quality of life. Aim of the survey is to better understand social and legal environments and amplify voices, concerns and needs of these communities.

The survey is available in 17 languages. It takes 12 minutes to complete it.

You must be at least 18-year-old to perform this survey. Your responses are completely anonymous. You can choose to skip any question you would prefer not to answer.

To contribute to the survey, please follow this link>>>>

Youth Studies South East Europe

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) published reports on the experiences and aspirations of youth in Southeast Europe. The FES carried out a representative region-wide survey on a sample of more than 10.000 young people aged 14 – 29 from ten countries in Southeast Europe in early 2018.

“FES Youth Studies Southeast Europe 2018/2019” is an international youth research project carried out simultaneously in ten countries in Southeast Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The main objective of the surveys has been to identify, describe and analyse attitudes of young people and patterns of behaviour in contemporary society.

A broad range of issues were addressed, including young peoples’ experiences and aspirations in different realms of life, such as education, employment, political participation, family relationships, leisure and use of information and communications technology, but also their values, attitudes and beliefs.

Findings are presented in ten national and one regional study and its accompanying policy papers, which have been published in both English and the respective national languages.

The most important results are grouped under headlines:

  • A wish to belong to Europe
  • Migration and mobility do not have to be zero-sum
  • Fighting corruption as a crime, not as a concept
  • Employment discourse shifting towards the quality of work
  • A different kind of ‘political’…
  • …which has to do with ‘the social’
  • Give youth a say in Europeanisation

To download the regional study and its accompanying policy papers following this link>>>

You can read the national studies at this webpage.

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>>>>.

Survey of drug users mapping in the centre of Athens

DPNSEE member organisations from Greece Prometheus and Positive Voice have developed a study on the anthropogeography of users of psychoactive substances in the centre of Athens in September 2018 using a sample of 200 people. The survey collected information on demographics and living conditions of users, type of psychoactive substance they use and whether or not they joined the retirement or substitution program.

According to the findings of the study, 80% of users are male. The average age is on an upward trend compared to 2010 (33.7) and 2012 (37) – currently it is 38 years. 53% of the sample are primary school graduates, while in terms of nationality there is an increase in the number of foreigners (from 13% in 2012 to 34.5%).

In the residence area in the centre of Athens, the largest concentration of population is located in the areas of Vathis Square, Karaiskakis Square the Theatre Square and the University campus. Regarding the type of psychoactive substance, the highest rate is 63.5% heroin use, while cocaine use accounts for 44.5% of the sample, 14% for Tai, 16% for benzodiazepines and 15% for shisha.

Out of the 200 people, 116 have been included, even once during their lifetime, in a drug rehabilitation or substitution program. However, at the time of the survey, only 49 people were enrolled in a program. The majority of the sample (130 persons) is not in a program or have applied for it.

In conclusion, it is noted that the population of psychoactive drug users in the centre of Athens is “aging“, while the association of the particular population with a high risk of premature death is questioned. Also, high users’ time in the centre of Athens, coupled with the increased rate of homelessness, raises serious issues of personal and public health and user safety. The findings of this study are consistent with the results of the Aristotel’s HCV/HIV study and demonstrate the need for harm reduction policies such as the re-opening of the medically supervised areas and the immediate increase in free distribution of safe use in cooperation with organizations active in the field.

To summarize, the findings of the study highlight the issue by demonstrating that the problems associated with the drug use in the centre of Athens are perpetuated, increased and differentiated at rates that require immediate and effective action.

The study was conducted in collaboration with a working group under the scientific responsibility of Mr. Giorgos Kalamitsis, President of Hellenic Patients’ Association Prometheus, Minerva Melpomeni Malliori, Professor of Psychiatry, First Psychiatric Clinic of Athens University, Eginiteio Hospital and Vana Sypsa, Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics of the Medical School of the University of Athens and courtesy of the Athens Trade Association and the Union of Hoteliers of Attica and Argos Oasaronic.

To view the original article follow this link>>>>