Spain Country Drug Report 2018

Harm reduction

The reduction of drug-related risk and harm caused by the use of substances with addictive potential as well as by behavioural addictions has been one of the key objectives of national drug policy documents for more than a decade. In the 4th Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of HIV Infection and Other Sexually Transmissible Infections 2013-2016, people who inject drugs (PWID) were also identified as a priority population. National priorities for the prevention of infectious diseases among people who use drugs 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 network of public facilities, including social emergency centres, mobile units, pharmacies and prisons. According to the evaluation report on the National Strategy on Drugs (2009-16), harm reduction programmes are available throughout Spain, although with varying service profiles in the different autonomous communities.

Most harm reduction programmes include a socio-sanitary service that offers preventive educational interventions, clean needles and syringes and other paraphernalia, testing for drug-related infections, vaccination against hepatitis A and B viruses, and emergency care and assistance for PWID, who are not usually in contact with any assistance intervention. Overdose prevention activities are provided in 7 of the 19 autonomous communities and cities.

In 2015, public NSPs in Spain distributed more than 1.4 million syringes, continuing a long-term declining trend that started in 2005. The drop in the number of syringes distributed is thought to be the result of a reduction in the size of the cohort of opioid users and 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 2015, these facilities served 3 110 clients.

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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