New Approaches on Harm Reduction Policies and Practices

A Project supported by the European Union

The NAHRPP project (New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices) is a joint project of the Transnational Institute (TNI), based in the Netherlands, ICEERS (Spain), Forum Droghe (Italy) and Diogenis (Greece). The project addresses challenging recent drug policy developments in Europe:

1. Plant-based NPS are used increasingly throughout Europe yet lack of knowledge about the use of these compounds is cause to many misconceptions and brings along a range of harms. ICEERS aims to encourage the expansion of knowledge base, exchange of information, identification and dissemination of good practices in the area of prevention and harm reduction related to plant-based NPS and will target the people most involved in these substances: users, smart shops, on-line retailers and health institutions and drug policy makers. ICEERS has launched a website, an Information Hub about psychoactive plants that have been used traditionally.

2. Cannabis remains the most used drug in the EU and there is an urgent need to develop sustainable cannabis policies. Forum Droghe will collect information on best practices of cannabis users to reduce the risks of heavy patterns of use and will develop a model for self-regulation of use. An expert seminar will help develop two sets of guidelines on self-regulation of cannabis use: one set targeting cannabis users and the other targeted at networks, public drug services and drug policy makers.

3. With the economic crisis the prevalence of drug use in South and South-eastern Europe has increased while the availability of harm reduction services declined. Diogenis will analyse the developments and challenges concerning treatment and harm reduction services in the context of the economic crisis and it will examine possibilities to guarantee sufficient harm reduction and treatment services. The project aims to create greater efficiency to guarantee the continuity and further development of services and as such is targeting policy makers and practitioners in the drugs field. The outcomes will be widely distributed including to policy makers, NGOs, experts in the drugs field, CSF, practitioners.

4. Local and regional authorities across Europe are confronted with the negative consequences of a persisting illicit cannabis market. Increasingly, local and regional authorities, non-governmental pressure groups and grassroots movements are advocating a regulation of the recreational cannabis market. The Transnational Institute (TNI) will analyse possible cannabis market regulation models (in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands) and will allow local authorities to share best practices and improve the understanding of drug markets as a means to reduce the negative consequences of illicit drug markets on individuals and society. The outcomes will be shared with policy makers, local authorities, civil society, media, and academics to provide input for the EU level policy discussions.

The major objective of the project is to contribute to more effective implementation of the EU Drug Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2016 and evidence base development of the new EU Action Plan on Drugs 2016-2020 by strengthening collaboration between authorities, public services and civil society organisations in the region.