In Lithuania, a special decree of the Ministry of Health, which was adopted in 2006, consolidated the legal basis for the implementation harm reduction for PWID and set the minimum criteria for these services. These criteria ensure that PWID can exchange needles and syringes and obtain condoms, disinfectant tissues, bandages, health educational/informational material and counselling at low-threshold units.
The harm reduction programmes are financed mainly by state and municipal budgets, but also receive support from other funding sources.
Availability of selected harm reduction responses
NB Year of data 2016.
In 2015, there were 12 low-threshold units, including three mobile outreach needle/syringe distribution and exchange points, operating in nine cities in Lithuania. These units are operated by non-governmental organisations or under the remit of municipal social services, while, in five cases, they are integrated within a drug treatment institution.
In terms of service provision, information and counselling remain the primary focus of the low-threshold units, although syringes are provided in 11 out of 12 units. In 2015, the number of syringes distributed increased compared with 2013-14, which is mainly attributed to the opening of a new facility in 2015. At these facilities, clients may also have a short consultation with a social worker, obtain information about the availability of healthcare and social assistance or take a rapid test for infectious diseases. Furthermore, in August 2016, the Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders started implementing a small-scale pilot initiative involving the distribution of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The take-home naloxone was given to those patients who finished a drug treatment programme, after a training course
Universal vaccination against HBV has been provided since 1998 to infants and 12-year-old children; however, special HBV immunisation programmes for PWID are not available.