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Harm reduction overview for the Czech Republic

Map of The Czech Republic

1. National context

The National Drug Policy Strategy for 2010–18 endorses harm reduction as one of its four pillars, and defines the following priority areas: (i) development of new interventions; (ii) increase in the uptake of testing among injecting drug users; and (iii) definition of harm reduction guidelines for nightlife settings. The current (2013–15) Action Plan introduced a number of new tasks, including scaling-up harm reduction programmes for hard-to-reach and socially excluded communities and issuing guidelines for infectious diseases testing by service providers. The 2013–17 National Programme for HIV/AIDS reiterates the focus on providing services to high-risk groups.

The Czech network of low-threshold facilities, established in 1992, includes low-threshold centres (drop-in) and outreach programmes providing needle exchange in 111 units. Three vending machines and one mobile needle and syringe programme also operate in the country. These programmes operate in all regions, providing a wide range of services: clean needles and syringes, condoms, voluntary counselling and testing for infectious diseases, risk-reduction information, aluminium foil for heroin smoking, gelatine capsules for per-oral use of stimulants and other services. The number of drug users in contact with these services has been increasing over the last 11 years, and it is estimated that in 2013 these centres reached more than 38 000 individual drug users, mainly those who inject heroin, buprenorphine or methamphetamine, while an increase in the number of cannabis users seeking help from low-threshold services has also been noticed in recent years. The number of syringes distributed through needle and syringe programmes continues to increase and reached more than 6.1 million in 2013. Besides needle and syringe programmes (drop-ins and outreach work), pharmacy syringe sales are the main sources of sterile injecting material for people who inject drugs. Taking into account the high proportion of pervitin users among the problem drug use population, at least 44 programmes distribute gelatine capsules as an oral alternative to the injecting of pervitin. Around 113 000 capsules were distributed in 2013.

Treatment for HCV is available to PWID in 39 clinics across the Czech Republic, including those in prisons.

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

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Full
% NSP availability at NUTS3  100 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads  Yes
availability of dry wipes  Yes
availability of containers  No
availability of water  Yes
availability of condoms  Yes
availability of foil  Yes

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  Extensive
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  No
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  No
ARV treatment of HIV infection Extensive

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  Extensive
Availability of programmes for practical advice and training on 'safer use/safer injecting'  Full
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  Yes

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  Extensive
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Extensive
Availability of overdose response training  Limited

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  Rare  Limited  Limited  Limited  Limited  Does not exist
Festivals  Limited  Full  Limited  Limited  Limited  Rare

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

 

About the EMCDDA

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: Thursday, 04 June 2015