In late November last year, the Portuguese National Harm Reduction Network – R3 - organised its third annual Conference on “Harm Reduction in a Crisis Context”, with around 70 participants, in the Portuguese city of Porto,.
R3 was founded in 2004 - a network of professionals and experts who represent around half of the Portuguese harm reduction projects intervening in drug use. Some of its main objectives are: to contribute to the development of effective and evidence-based practice; to promote knowledge sharing, and debate relevant issues for action; and to create favourable conditions for the participation of people who use drugs, in the decision-making and intervention processes.
During 2013, a number of harm reduction services were obliged to cease operations for several months. A new state body, SICAD, emerged (Intervention Service on Addictive Behaviours and Dependences), and the official structure responsible for implementing Portuguese drug policy changed, together with administrative and funding procedures.
At the conference, an R3 representative presented data on the state of play within Harm Reduction Services, specifically the funding for needle exchange programmes.
Harm reduction and opioid substitution treatments, in Portugal, have contributed to a comprehensive and inclusive response to drug use.
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