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Harm reduction overview for Norway

Map of Norway

1. National context

Interventions in the area of harm reduction in Norway broadly include low-threshold health measures, needle and syringe distribution programmes and outreach work. A national overdose strategy for 2014–17, adopted in 2013, calls for activities to prevent overdose risk to be scaled up and promotes emergency assistance and treatment for drug users. In spring 2014, a trial project of nasal naloxone sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Care Services was launched in Oslo and Bergen. Up to September 2014, more than 170 staff members from low-threshold facilities had been trained and 374 overdose response kits given to drug users. The project will be expanded to training the police and security staff, and staff at detoxification centres, emergency centres and prisons. Results are monitored in cooperation with ambulance services in the two cities.

In Norway the municipalities, supported by the Government grant scheme, are responsible for the organisation of low-threshold measures on the basis of local needs and challenges. Around 50 municipalities have such measures in place. Some have developed the measures in cooperation with voluntary organisations, while others provide them within health and social services. Several municipalities have established a field nursing service involving considerable outreach activity. The services offered are health checks, treatment of sores, vaccinations (including provision of free hepatitis A and B vaccines), distribution of injecting equipment, nutritional and hygiene guidance, prevention of overdoses, general advice and guidance, follow-up and referral to other parts of the health service, etc. In 2012 an estimated three million syringes were distributed to PWID, just over a half of these in Oslo; data for 2013 covering the three largest cities indicate some decrease in syringe demand, in Oslo in particular. Almost all pharmacies in Norway sell needles and syringes to PWID, but the data on these sales are not available.

A drug injecting room in the centre of Oslo, established under a temporary Act, became operational from February 2005. In 2009 the temporary Act was made permanent and municipalities that wish to establish injecting rooms now have a legal basis for doing so. However, only Oslo has so far made use of the Act, by making the facility permanent in 2009. Since that time, around 1 400–1 500 clients have visited it each year and the number of supervised injections has increased from 26 000 in 2009 to 36 000 in 2013.

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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  84 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads  No
availability of dry wipes  No
availability of containers  No
availability of water  No
availability of condoms  No
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  No
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'  Limited
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  No

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  Limited
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Limited
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 1
Number of cities 1
Number of consumptions per year 36138

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
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  : Extensive Does not exist Rare : :
Festivals  : Full Does not exist Limited : :

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: Wednesday, 03 June 2015