The harm reduction concept is embedded in all relevant areas of Danish drug policy. The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for harm reduction initiatives at the national level, while the municipalities play a crucial role in the organisation and funding of harm reduction activities, including medical and social treatment of people who use drugs.
In Denmark, the harm reduction response includes the provision of needle and syringe distribution schemes, take-home naloxone programmes, drug consumption rooms and heroin-assisted treatment. In addition, prevention of and treatment for drug-related infectious diseases is provided, including counselling, screening and vaccination against the hepatitis A and B viruses. Recently, programmes to facilitate access to general health services for marginalised drug users have also been implemented.
Needle and syringe programmes have been established in Denmark since 1986. Syringe provision is administered through the free dispensing of syringes and syringe sales in pharmacies, through treatment institutions, in drop-in centres and through machines dispensing syringes in public places. Some municipalities also dispense needles and syringes at shelters and hostels. The provision of sterile water and other injecting equipment is common.
Since 2013, a take-home naloxone programme to prevent opioid-induced deaths has been available in a number of municipalities.
Five supervised drug consumption facilities operate in four municipalities. A recent report indicated that over the period 2012-16 drug consumption rooms provided services to more than 9 400 drug users and supervised more than 920 000 drug use episodes, without any fatal outcomes. In 2016 alone, 7 155 individuals used these facilities and were supervised during 303 403 consumption episodes.
Heroin-assisted treatment has been available for hard-to-treat opioid users in five locations across Denmark since 2010.
|Country||Needle and syringe programmes||Take-home naloxone programmes||Drug consumption rooms||Heroin-assisted treatment|