Harm reduction in Spain 2017

Spain Country Drug Report 2017

Harm reduction

The reduction of drug-related risk and harm is one of the principal objectives of the National Drug Strategy for 2009-16, and further detailed in four-year action plans for 2009-12 and 2013-16. There is a particular focus on activities that facilitate contacts with PWID, provide information and education, and promote behaviour and practice change. National priorities for the prevention of infectious diseases among drug users include support for needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), voluntary counselling and testing for infections, and hepatitis vaccination programmes.

Harm reduction interventions

Harm reduction services are provided by a large public network of facilities, including social emergency centres, mobile units, pharmacies and prisons.

Most harm reduction programmes include a socio-sanitary service that offers preventive educational interventions, overdose prevention activities, sterile needles and syringes, testing for drug-related infections, vaccination against hepatitis A virus and HBV and emergency care and assistance to injecting drug users, who are not usually in contact with any assistance intervention.

In 2014, public NSPs in Spain distributed approximately 1.5 million syringes, continuing a declining trend that started in 2005. This trend coincided with the scaling up of opioid substitution treatment (OST), which has been shown by the available evidence to have a positive outcome for treatment retention and reduction in illicit opioid use, reported risk behaviour and drug-related harms and mortality. The drop in the number of syringes distributed is also thought to be the result of a reduction in the prevalence of injecting drug use in Spain. Thirteen facilities for supervised drug consumption are available in the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Basque Country. In 2014, these facilities served 5 900 clients.

Availability of selected harm reduction responses

NB Year of data 2016.


In 2014, public needle and syringe programmes in Spain distributed approximately 1.5 million syringes, continuing a declining trend that started in 2005

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