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Harm reduction overview for Lithuania

Map of Lithuania

1. National context

In 1997, the Vilnius Centre for Dependence Diseases, in cooperation with the Open Society Foundation in Lithuania, was the first to commence low-threshold programmes for PWID. A special decree of the Ministry of Health, adopted in 2006, provided a background for the expansion of the programmes and also sets the minimum criteria for services. In 2013 there were 12 low-threshold units, including three mobile outreach needle/syringe distribution and exchange points, operating in nine cities in Lithuania. These programmes were mainly financed by state and municipal budgets, but also received support from other sources of funding. Some programmes were temporarily closed due to budgetary cuts in recent years; however, they have subsequently re-opened.

PWID may exchange needles and syringes, and obtain condoms, disinfectant tissues, bandages and educational/informational material. They may also have a short consultation with a social worker and obtain information about the availability of healthcare and social assistance. However, information and counselling remain the primary focus of the services, which is reflected in a decline in the number of needles and syringes distributed through the centres — in 2013 more than 169 000 syringes were provided, markedly fewer than the 238 745 syringes distributed in 2008. Although pharmacies are a significant source of sterile injecting equipment in many countries, a 2008 study showed high levels of intolerance among Lithuanian pharmacy staff toward PWID and no special harm-reduction programmes have been implemented in cooperation with them as yet. Universal vaccination against HBV has been provided since 2004 to infants and 12-year-old children, while special HBV immunisation programmes for PWID do not exist in the country.

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

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Limited
% NSP availability at NUTS3  70 %
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  No
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  Extensive
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  Yes
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  No
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  Extensive
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  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  Full
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Full
Availability of overdose response training  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.
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  Full Extensive  Extensive  Extensive  Rare  Does not exist
Festivals  Does not exist  Full  Extensive  Limited  Rare  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

 

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: Tuesday, 15 September 2015