This new harm reduction strategy was officially launched on 7 February 2014. The strategy will be implemented in 19 pilot provinces across the country (4 provinces in the central region, 6 in the north and 9 in the south of the country) for 2 years from October 2013 to September 2015. The strategy was initiated to support the drug policies of the Thai government, based on the principle adopted by the government that ‘people who use drugs are patients’. The implementation of the strategy in the pilot provinces will include a trial project to support the provision of harm reduction services in Thailand. The 19 provinces are the same provinces covered under the “Champion-IDU project”, administered by Population Services International (Thailand) Foundation (PSI Thailand) and funded by the Global Fund, which provides HIV prevention and healthcare services for people who inject drugs and their families.
The objectives of the project are to:
- support greater access for people who inject drugs to healthcare services by developing a healthcare system for people who inject drugs with more participation from key stakeholders
- reduce blood-borne infections among people who inject drugs
- support people who inject drugs in accessing voluntary drug treatment
- reduce harms for people who inject drugs, the community and society caused by psychotropic drugs
- create a friendly environment for both service providers and people who inject drugs
The difference between this harm reduction strategy and other strategies of the Thailand Office Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) are that support for the provision of Needles and syringes programme is included. It is also the first coordinated harm reduction project between key government agencies (such as the ONCB) and civil society organisations (such as PSI Thailand and the Thai Civil Society Coalition for Harm Reduction (12D network)).
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