European Union

Syringe Availability Through Pharmacies

(Syringe Availability Through Pharmacies) "The purchase of syringes through pharmacies may be a major source of contact with the health service for some injectors, and the potential to exploit this contact point as a conduit to other services clearly exists. Work to motivate and support pharmacists to develop the services they offer to drug users could form an important part of extending the role of pharmacies, but to date only France, Portugal and the United Kingdom appear to be making significant investments in this direction."

Syringe Exchange Through Pharmacies

(Syringe Exchange Through Pharmacies) "Formally organised pharmacy syringe exchange or distribution networks exist in nine European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom), although participation in the schemes varies considerably, from nearly half of pharmacies (45%) in Portugal to less than 1% in Belgium. In Northern Ireland, needle and syringe exchange is currently organised exclusively through pharmacies."

Pharmacy-Based Syringe Exchange

(Pharmacy-Based Syringe Exchange) "Pharmacy-based exchange schemes also help to extend the geographical coverage of the provision and, in addition, the sale of clean syringes in pharmacies may increase their availability. The sale of syringes without prescription is permitted in all EU countries except Sweden, although some pharmacists are unwilling to do so and some will even actively discourage drug users from patronising their premises."

Reducing Loss of Life as Policy Priority

(Reducing Loss of Life as Policy Priority) "Reducing the loss of life due to drug use is a key policy priority in the majority of European countries, with 16 reporting that it is a focus in their national or regional drug policy documents, or that it is the subject of a specific action plan. In some other European countries, such as Austria and Norway, increases in drug-related deaths observed in previous years have raised awareness of the need for improved responses."

Selective Prevention Strategies

(Selective Prevention Strategies) "Selective prevention intervenes in specific groups, families or communities who, due to their reduced social ties and resources, may be more likely to develop drug use or progress into dependency. Denmark, Germany, Spain, Austria and Portugal have implemented targeted prevention interventions for pupils in vocational schools, a group of young people identified as being at elevated risk of developing drug use problems.

Prevention Strategies

(Prevention Strategies) "Environmental prevention strategies are designed to change the cultural, social, physical and economic environments in which people make their choices about drug use. These strategies typically include measures such as alcohol pricing, and bans on tobacco advertising and smoking where there is good evidence of effectiveness. Other environmental strategies focus on developing protective school environments.

Harm Reduction Measures

(Harm Reduction Measures) "In 2003, the Council of the European Union recommended a number of policies and interventions to the EU Member States to tackle health-related harm associated with drug dependence (26). In a follow-up report in 2007, the Commission of the European Communities confirmed that the prevention and reduction of drug-related harm is a public health objective in all countries (27).