In Latvia, the National Programme on Drug Control and Drug Addiction Restriction 2011-17 emphasises the prevention of drug-related infectious diseases and is a framework for implementation of harm reduction.
Harm reduction services are implemented through a network of low-threshold centres. These centres are mainly financed by municipalities while the state provides some complementary resources to ensure their operation. The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia is responsible for the overall coordination of the network and is in charge of the centralised procurement of syringes, condoms, quick tests for drug-related infectious diseases and producing information materials.
In 2015, a network of 19 low-threshold centres was operational across the country. These centres provide a wide range of low-threshold services: in addition to the distribution of needles, syringes disinfectants and condoms, they offer information, outreach and group and individual risk reduction education. Voluntary HIV counselling and testing, and testing for HCV and other infectious diseases, are financed through specific project-based funds from various sources.
The services are delivered at fixed locations, through mobile needle and syringe programmes and outreach workers
Availability of selected harm reduction responses
NB Year of data 2016.
In 2015, more than half a million syringes were distributed through these programmes, which is an increase on previous years. Nevertheless, the coverage of syringes distributed by the specialised agencies is still considered to be low, in particular because the overall rate of newly notified cases of HIV infections transmitted through injecting drug use has increased in Latvia in recent years.
In 2015, more than half a million syringes were distributed through these programmes, which is an increase on previous years