discussing new challenges and responses to rising numbers of stimulant drug users
Worldwide, the use of stimulant drugs like crystal meth, cocaine, and meth-amphetamine is increasing significantly. The emerging stimulant epidemic brings about new challenges, particularly to Asian countries. However, services to reduce the negative side effects of stimulant drug use or treatment options mainly target injecting drug users.
With the aim of discussing new challenges and responses to rising numbers of stimulant drug users, GPDPD on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) jointly with the Federal Drug Commissioner’s Office, the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and Harm Reduction International (HRI) hosted the 3rd Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Harm Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand. Harm reduction is a concept referring to policies, programmes or practices with the objective of reducing the diverse harms related to the use of psychoactive drugs. The EGM brought together representatives of eleven countries, four International organisations, and civil society to shape and develop the international debate on harm reduction.
The meeting was aimed to nurture a common understanding of, and commitment to, harm reduction at the global, regional and national levels to reflect upon recent developments and to explore case studies. Sessions and presentations were dedicated to the harm reduction progress in Asia, harm reduction measures for people who use stimulants, the Dutch NGO MAINline furthermore presented a ground-breaking study on harm reduction measures for people who use stimulant drugs. The researchers had investigated on behalf of GPDPD seven case studies from around the world, assessing their approaches and effectiveness and identified 12 strategies.
A broader concept of harm reduction and treatment, people-centric approaches, providing services for vulnerable groups, and suitable funding mechanisms should be introduced into global drug policy.