Croatia Country Drug Report 2018

Harm reduction

The National Strategy on Combating Drug Abuse 2012-17 and its related action plans set out the main objectives for harm reduction in Croatia, which include continuous support for the implementation of existing programmes and expansion of coverage and diversification of harm reduction services towards new target groups and new types of services. Harm reduction programmes are an integral part of public health activities in Croatia and are promoted by the Ministry of Health. Harm reduction activities are conducted by the network of services for mental health protection, addiction prevention and outpatient treatment, by the Croatian Red Cross and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs): Institut, Ne-ovisnost, Help, HUHIV, HULOH Hepatos, Porat, Let and Terra. Since 1996, when the first harm reduction programme was launched, geographical coverage has expanded and, in 2016, these programmes were available at numerous fixed sites and in locations served by outreach workers, as well as being provided from mobile vans across the whole country.

Harm reduction interventions

In Croatia, harm reduction services give out needles and syringes and other injecting paraphernalia and equipment, and offer voluntary, anonymous and free-of-charge counselling and testing. The programmes also print and distribute information material about safer drug use. In recent years, they have contributed to the prevention of overdoses and have focused on the reduction of other health-related risks among their clients.

In 2016, six NGO-run harm reduction programmes distributed around 279 000 syringes, with the majority given out by the NGO Help.

Ten specialised centres, part of the public health system, are located across the country in major cities and in the prison hospital in Zagreb. They provide anonymous and free-of-charge testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and counselling. HIV and hepatitis C virus infection tests are performed at some NGO-led harm reduction programmes. A new mobile application and online platform were launched in 2017, providing users with information about hepatitis.

Availablity of selected harm reduction responses in Europe
Country Needle and syringe programmes Take-home naloxone programmes Drug consumption rooms Heroin-assisted treatment
Austria Yes No No No
Belgium Yes No No No
Bulgaria Yes No No No
Croatia Yes No No No
Cyprus Yes No No No
Czech Republic Yes No No No
Denmark Yes Yes Yes Yes
Estonia Yes Yes No No
Finland Yes No No No
France Yes Yes Yes No
Germany Yes Yes Yes Yes
Greece Yes No No No
Hungary Yes No No No
Ireland Yes Yes No No
Italy Yes Yes No No
Latvia Yes No No No
Lithuania Yes Yes No No
Luxembourg Yes No Yes Yes
Malta Yes No No No
Netherlands Yes No Yes Yes
Norway Yes Yes Yes No
Poland Yes No No No
Portugal Yes No No No
Romania Yes No No No
Slovakia Yes No No No
Slovenia Yes No No No
Spain Yes Yes Yes No
Sweden Yes No No No
Turkey No No No No
United Kingdom Yes Yes No Yes

Croatia main page

Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.