We present to your attention an informal Russian translation of an extensive study on the search for best practices in harm reduction among psychostimulant users. The study was carried out by MAINline (Netherlands).
When we think about harm reduction among people who use drugs (PUD), HIV prevention among injecting heroin users first comes to mind through needle and syringe programs, HIV testing and treatment, and methadone substitution therapy. However, the possibilities in this area are much wider. The goal of harm reduction is to reduce all risks associated with drug use, which, of course, go far beyond HIV infection and include “social and economic harm, such as crimes committed for a “new dose", corruption, long prison sentences, sexual harassment and violence, stigma and marginalization.”
Due to the lack of coverage of this topic, this research focuses solely on studying harm reduction among people who use illegal stimulants by non-injection routes (i.e. oral, nasal, rectal, and through smoking). Also in this research, only amphetamine-type stimulants, cocaine and cathinones are considered.
Interventions to reduce harm from stimulant use include substitution therapy, drug testing for impurities, psychosocial support, distribution of condoms, lubricants and supplies, STIs prevention programs, employment and income assistance, assistance in housing and scaling up existing services for people who inject stimulants.
An important role in harm reduction practice is played by the interaction model, in which drug addicts could contact people who find themselves in similar situations, including during extracurricular working hours. In addition, giving people who inject drugs (PWID) the opportunity to switch from injecting to safer use (such as smoking or inhaling) is also seen as an important harm reduction measure. Since marginalized groups of people who use stimulant drugs (PSDs) often face a variety of physiological and social problems, ideally harm reduction should be a multidisciplinary service at the intersection of several areas.