The Czech National Drug Policy Strategy 2010-18 endorses harm reduction as one of its four pillars and defines the following priority areas: (i) development of new interventions; (ii) increase in the uptake of testing among injecting drug users; and (iii) definition of harm reduction guidelines for nightlife settings. Under the 2013-15 action plan, a number of new tasks were introduced, including the scaling-up of harm reduction programmes for hardto- reach and socially excluded communities and issuing guidelines for infectious diseases testing by service providers.
Availability of selected harm reduction responses
NB Year of data 2015, or latest available year. Source: ECDC.
The number of drug users in contact with harm reduction services has been increasing over the last decade. The majority of clients use methamphetamine, while approximately a quarter are heroin or buprenorphine injectors. An increase in the number of cannabis users seeking help from low-threshold services has been noticed in recent years. The number of syringes distributed through needle and syringe programmes has almost doubled in the last decade, with more than 6.4 million syringes distributed to clients in 2015, compared with 3.3 million in 2005.
Taking into account the high proportion of methamphetamine users among the population of problem drug users, many harm reduction programmes distribute gelatine capsules as an oral alternative to injection of methamphetamine.
Treatment for HCV is available to PWID in public health facilities across the Czech Republic and in prisons and is free of charge.
6.4 million syringes were distributed through the needle and syringe programmes in 2015