Cyprus Anti-drugs Council and Harm Reduction
Harm reduction consists of coordinated interventions aiming to reduce health-related harms of drug use, including infectious diseases and deaths. Harm reduction interventions do not essentially aim for abstinence. Harm reduction’s key interventions include opioid substitution treatment, needle and syringe exchange programmes as well as information and training on safer use.
Harm reduction and prevention of adverse consequences of substance use, pose a major public health concern and are therefore integrated in the goals of the National Drug Strategy.
Epidemiological surveillance of infectious diseases
The Cyprus Anti-drugs Council, through the National Centre of Monitoring for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Cyprus, is responsible for the collection, analysis, study and evaluation of data and information related to the drugs situation in Cyprus. The main axes of recording include the drug-related infectious diseases (DRID) key indicator, which collects data on the extent of infectious diseases, primarily HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, among injecting drug users (IDUs).
The prevalence of infectious diseases among injecting drug users has been recorded since 2004, in the form of diagnostic examination results of individuals that sought treatment.
Furthermore, the CAC in collaboration with the University of Cyprus is conducting studies periodically, investigating the prevalence of infectious diseases (read more here) and molecular epidemiology of Hepatitis C among injecting drug users engaging with treatment.