Luxembourg Country Drug Report 2019

Harm reduction

Harm reduction has been a part of the national drugs strategy and action plans in Luxembourg since the early 2000s, and minimising the negative health and social consequences of drug use is recognised as an important element of the current National Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs and Addictions 2015-19.

A legal framework conducive to introducing harm reduction measures, such as needle and syringe exchange, supervised injection rooms and medically assisted heroin distribution, was established in 2001, although some harm reduction interventions had already been initiated and developed prior to this.

Harm reduction interventions

The national needle and syringe programme in Luxembourg is decentralised and consists of five fixed sites and three vending machines situated in the towns most affected by injecting drug use. Clean syringes are available from drug counselling centres, drop-in centres for sex workers and at-risk populations and low-threshold centres, and in prison. In addition to needles and syringes, testing for blood-borne infectious diseases, vaccinations and counselling on safe use practices are also provided. A mobile medical care unit facilitates the provision of primary medical care at low-threshold agencies. A new mobile outreach service designed for drug users in an urban environment was launched in September 2017.

The number of clean syringes distributed in the framework of the national needle programme reached a first peak in 2005, when more than 435 000 syringes were given out, and decreased thereafter to under 200 000 syringes in 2013. Since then, provision has increased again, reaching its all-time high in 2017, with approximately 448 000 syringes handed out (including syringes distributed in prisons and from vending machines). The vast majority of syringes (98 %) are given out at low-threshold agencies and, for every 100 syringes given, out 92 used syringes are returned.

A supervised drug injection room opened in 2005 and has been integrated into a low-threshold emergency centre for drug users, providing day care and night shelter (42 beds). The number of clients using the facility has constantly increased. By 2017, a total of 1 850 clients had signed the facility’s mandatory user contract, with more than 73 000 consumptions supervised by trained staff during that year. The centre also provides facilities for non-injecting drug users, such as a separate blow room.

As part of the suite of harm reduction measures for the most vulnerable group of people who use drugs, heroin-assisted treatment was introduced in January 2017.

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 Yes No
Bulgaria Yes No No No
Croatia Yes No No No
Cyprus Yes No No No
Czechia 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

Luxembourg main page

Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.