Work Package 5. Training workshops on harm reduction interventions in Riga, Latvia

The Work Package 5 of the European project “Joint Action on HIV and Co-Infection Prevention and Harm Reduction” (HA-REACT) has conducted the second training on harm reduction interventions from the 22nd to 26th of January, 2018, in Riga, Latvia,. This one week training was organised in collaboration with the Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It was structured in three workshops: “Opioid Agonist Treatment”, “Other Harm Reduction interventions” and “Overdose Prevention”. Local professionals from different low threshold services and institutions involved in harm reduction service provision attended the workshops.

The workshops were coordinated by Blanca Iciar Indave, Luis Sordo and Maite Manzanera from Ciber/ISCIII (Group 21 Ciber, Instituto de Salud Carlos III), and Dovilė Mačiulytė from Republican Center for Addictive Disorders in Vilnius (Lithuania), in strong collaboration with Agnese Freimane from Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. As in the previous training the main aims were to build up capacities among professionals and to reduce stigma and discrimination in harm reduction services. To address these topics several experts from different European countries (Malta, Croatia and Spain) were engaged, all working in institutions that provide harm reduction interventions as Drug treatment Clinics, Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms or NGO´s Mobil Units. They all transmitted their extensive experience using a practical approach in order to promote dialogue, discuss benefits and drawbacks of harm reduction. Thus the training contributed to the capacity building of professionals in the field and was acknowledged as a great space for knowledge exchange.

The trainings attracted great interest among professionals and participants agreed in the relevance of such courses for the development of harm reduction in their country. The active involvement of most participants turned the workshops in platforms for a fruitful exchange of different European experiences. Their very positive impressions and evaluation will be used to improve our training package and hopefully will serve as a basis for future trainings.