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Harm reduction overview for Croatia

Map of Croatia

1. National context

Harm reduction programmes, primarily needle and syringe programmes, are aimed at injecting drug users in order to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases, especially HBV, HCV and HIV, and to reduce other adverse consequences related to drug use. The first harm reduction programmes focusing on problem drug users were introduced in 1996, immediately after the Croatian Parliament recognised this approach as an important element of the national drugs strategy. The NGO Help initiated their first project in 1996 in Split, while the Croatian Red Cross started its projects in Zagreb, Zadar and Pula in 1998, followed by activities in Rijeka by the NGO Terra in 1999. Today these programmes are regularly conducted in 102 locations (six fixed sites, 41 sites serviced by outreach workers and 55 sites serviced by mobile vans) cooperatively between the Croatian Red Cross and the NGOs Institut, Help, Hepatos, Let, Ne-ovisnost and Terra.

Between 2011 and 2012 the number of clients using needle and syringe programmes increased significantly from 3 939 to 4 904 (approximately 25 %). In 2013, however, the reported number of clients was much lower than in 2012; this reduction is attributed to a lack of reporting by some service providers. Needles and syringes can be bought in pharmacies, but the number sold to drug addicts is not monitored. Harm reduction services also provide other injecting equipment or tools needed for the preparation and injecting of drugs as well as condoms and voluntary, anonymous and free-of-charge counselling and testing. Programmes also print and distribute information about drug use. In recent years they have also contributed to overdose prevention and focused on the reduction of further health-related risks among their clients. Harm reduction programmes cooperate in behavioural research projects carried out among drug users.

Under the Croatian National Programme for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS 2011–15, a number of HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) counselling centres provide anonymous and free counselling and HIV testing.

 

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2. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related infectious diseases

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Extensive
% NSP availability at NUTS3  57 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads  Yes
availability of dry wipes  No
availability of containers  No
availability of water  Yes
availability of condoms  Yes
availability of foil  No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Testing, vaccination and treatment of infections Country  data
Availability of Hepatitis C testing in the community  Full
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  Yes
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  Yes
ARV treatment of HIV infection  Full

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Health promotion responses Country  data
Availability of individual counselling programmes  Full
Availability of programmes for practical advice and training on 'safer use/safer injecting'  Extensive
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  N.Av.

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.

Drug Treatment

See the country specific treatment profile.

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3. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related deaths

Availability of drug-related death responses in the community Country  data
Availability of overdose information materials  Full
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Full
Availability of overdose response training  :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Availability of drug consumption rooms Country  data
Number of facilities n.av.
Number of cities n.av.
Number of consumptions per year n.av.

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
N.Av. stands for ‘The intervention is not available in the country’.

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4. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related harms in recreational settings

Provision of specific responses implemented in night clubs and festivals Free, accessible, cold water Immediate First Aid ‘Chill out’ rooms Information material Outreach work Amnesty bins
Night clubs  : Does not exist  Does not exist  Does not exist  Does not exist  Does not exist
Festivals  :  Extensive  Does not exist  Does not exist  Does not exist  Does not exist

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
Provision expert rating scale:

  • Full – in nearly all night clubs/festivals.
  • Extensive – a majority of night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not nearly all of them).
  • Limited – more than a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not a majority of them).
  • Rare – just a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

 

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 02 June 2015