On 18th June 2003, the European Commission adopted a Council Recommendation on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm, associated with drug dependence, in the EU and candidate countries. The second progress report monitoring the implementation of the Council Recommendation has just been released and it is important reading for those advocating for harm reduction approaches within the European region. It presents country-by-country information on harm reduction policies, services and facilities, as well as an analyses of epidemiological trends. Based on the answers to a policy survey and a survey among field organisations, the authors have assessed the availability, access to and coverage of harm reduction measures in each country.
The authors go on to present a set of thirteen conclusions regarding the follow-up of the Council Recommendation with three priority areas of action: the reduction of drug-induced deaths, the improvement of harm reduction in prison and the reduction of harm caused by drug-related infections.
Also of particular interest are the four useful systematic literature reviews annexed to the report. These cover peer naloxone programmes, prison release management, needle exchange in prison and measures to change the route of drug administration.
The report was prepared by Gesundheit Österreich Forschungs- und Planungs GmbH and SOGETI, in close collaboration with European Commission Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC), the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) and Directorate-General for Justice (DG-JUST).