The number of migrants in the European Union (EU) has been growing, including migrants at risk of using drugs. Little information is available on the actual drug use among first-generation migrants who use drugs in the EU, nor on their access to drug dependency services. This study aims to reach consensus among experts in the EU on the current situation regarding vulnerable migrants who use drugs in the EU and to develop a set of actionable recommendations.
Between April and September 2022, a panel of 57 experts on migration and/or drug use, working in 24 countries, participated in a three-stage Delphi study to develop statements and recommendations about drug use and access to healthcare services for migrants who use drugs in the EU.
High levels of agreement were reached on the 20 statements (mean=98.0%) and 15 recommendations(mean=99.7%). The recommendations focus on four main topics; 1) increasing data availability and quality, to inform guidelines; 2) increasing the availability of drug dependency services for migrants, including screening for mental health issues and involving migrants who use drugs in the development of services; 3) eliminating country and service level barriers for accessing these services, as well as providing migrants who use drugs with suitable information, and combating stigma and discrimination; 4) the need for increased collaboration among and within EU countries regarding healthcare for migrants who use drugs, at the policy level as well as the service level, including civil society organisations, peer navigation and multilingual cultural mediators.
Policy action and increased collaboration are required by the EU as a whole and by individual EU member states, in addition to collaboration among healthcare providers and social welfare services, to increase access to healthcare services for migrants who use drugs.