Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, it is estimated that around 8 million people have fled the war in Ukraine, of which an unprecedented 5 million people have crossed the borders into the European Union. An unknown proportion of those displaced will have established drug-related problems and will require medical care for opioid dependence, in particular OAT, as well as for prevention and treatment of drug-related infectious diseases. In order to investigate the responsiveness and preparedness in addressing drug-related needs of displaced Ukrainians in EU countries, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction instigated a mixed-method trendspotter study to assess the initial service response to the needs of displaced Ukrainians in neighbouring EU countries. The study also identifies factors that may help EU countries to be better prepared for possible future needs in this area, either associated with further population displacement or more generally because of the vulnerabilities of those who have experienced displacement.

The purpose of this rapid assessment study is two-fold. First, the study audits the initial service response to the needs of displaced Ukrainians in neighbouring EU countries. Second, it identifies factors that may help EU countries to be better prepared for possible future needs in this area, either associated with further population displacement, or more generally because of the vulnerabilities of those who have experienced displacement. An important caveat is that this is a complex and rapidly evolving situation and the findings reported here are necessarily preliminary.

The analysis present here is based on the following information sources: a search of open source literature; a survey of 24 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) national focal points; three focus groups with representatives from bordering countries, international organisations and Polish health workers; a mathematical modelling exercise; and information from recent expert meetings conducted by the EMCDDA.