Slovakia Country Drug Report 2018

Harm reduction

The Slovak National Anti-Drug Strategy (2013-20) endorses the provision of effective risk reduction measures for people who use drugs. Four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operate harm reduction programmes in five towns (Bratislava, Sereď, Nitra, Trnava, Košice) and, in addition to the dedicated NGOs providing harm reduction services, three public drug treatment centres provide needle and syringe exchange services. The NGO-run programmes are licensed by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, and they are mainly funded by grants from the Ministry of Health or from local governments.

Harm reduction interventions

Harm reduction programmes, provided through fixed sites or by mobile outreach, primarily serve people who inject drugs (PWID); however, other high-risk groups, such as sex workers and homeless drug users, may also use such services. In addition to access to clean injecting equipment, harm reduction programmes provide counselling and information on safer drug use, screening for drug-related infectious diseases and other support services.

According to the most recent data, following a two-year decrease in the number of needles and syringes distributed by the NGO programmes, an increase was reported in distributed syringes between 2015 and 2016. Methamphetamine (pervitin) users represent the majority of harm reduction services’ clients, while the proportion of clients who inject heroin has been declining over the years. It is estimated that a minority of problem drug users are reached by existing programmes. For this reason, pharmacies remain the main source of clean needles and syringes for PWID in Slovakia.

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

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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.