Learn from others
780 prison employees of the Georgian Special Penitentiary Service (SPS) worked and lived two months in prison without the possbility to meet their families and friends. This way they prevented a COVID-19 outbreak among people who are incarcerated, including those who are enrolled in drug treatment programmes.
Public Health England launched a Psychological First Aid (PFA) digital training module that teaches you to give practical and emotional support to individuals who are affected by COVID-19. Although not specific for people who use drugs, the course aims to increase awareness and confidence of all frontline workers to provide psychosocial support to people distressed by COVID-19.
The Association Positive Initiative from the Republic of Moldova supports people who use drugs and people living with HIV, and provides them with access to harm reduction programmes, rehabilitation programmes and antiretroviral treatment, as well as helps them to address emerging social and psychological problems.
Restrictions on movements and face-to-face contacts as well as the destruction caused by an earthquake in Zagreb city are major challenges for the Life Quality Improvement Organisation FLIGHT. With pass permits the NGO staff can continue its outreach work but they fear reduced funding by the Croatian Ministry of Health.
In response to COVID-19 the the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) developed a guidance on contingency planning for people who use drugs and COVID-19. In this article they report that some providers of injections equipment for people who use drugs switched to the delivering harm reduction materials by postal service to avoid queues in front of pharmacies.
The Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) increased distributing of sterile injecting equipment and Naloxone to ensure that people who use drugs have sufficient supplies for at least 7 days. To avoid conflicts with the police, GHRN and the Georgian Centre for Disease Control informed all stakeholders about the need to continue harm reductions services also during the lockdown.
The Portuguese General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) developed a drug prevention tool for young people experiencing confinement. “I face COVID-19 with Others - Don’t be the virus” is a story that can be played by the family, in school or used as a tool used by therapists.
Due to the COVID-19 pandamic, the external laboratory of the drug checking project Energy Control closed and its team stopped all interventions at parties, festivals and in schools. Now they are using other techniques in their offices to test drug samples that were collected in consumption rooms. In addition, they inform about harms connected to COVID-19 and risky forms of drug use.
Vancouver, Canada: the first opioid vending machine offers people with severe substance use disorder (SUD) a regulated and safe supply of opioid-containing drugs while minimising the need for person-to-person contact. In this way, the MySafe project also contributes to preventing COVID-19 infections.
The staff of the Association Margina in Bosnia and Herzegovina focusses on decentralised distribution of harm reduction materials in the field after they had to close their drop-in centers in Zenica and Tuzla. The six employees of the Association fear that funding cuts might force them to stop providing social services to people who use drugs, sex workers and people who are imprisoned.
The Ana Liffey Drug Project from Ireland quickly adapted its frontline services for people who use drugs to prioritise and support the public health response to COVID-19. They focused their efforts on working on outreach in the streets of Dublin and Limerick to explain COVID-19 and provide sterile injection equipment.
COVID-19 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: HIV organisations have set up handwashing points, continued distributing of harm reduction materials and negotiated longer prescriptions for HIV treatment and substitution drugs. Learn more in this recorded LIVE discussion organised by the Ukrainian Alliance for Public Health and the SoS project team.
The Egyptian Department of Addiction Treatment at the General Secretariat of Mental Health and Addiction Treatment (GSMHAT) has published a series of videos about mental health and drug addiction in times of COVID-19 in which health care professionals talk about their work, giving psychosocial support to public and patients.
In this article we collect of useful documents and guidelines for tackling COVID-19 and protecting persons who use drugs and the people who are in contact with them. Although our web platform mainly focuses on practical examples, we do not want to withhold these important materials from you. Thank you for your contributions!
A team at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich has developed a video call tool for psychiatric and psychotherapeutic use that enables therapists to reach out to hard-to-reach patients including those with substance use disorders. PD Dr. med. Oliver Gero Bosch talks in this video message about medical confidentiality and the need for secure communication with patients that have to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.