The general objective of the project is to develop and improve the training for professionals working in the criminal justice system on the front line with problematic drug users, specifically aiming at the subsequent implementation and sustainability of harm reduction programmes for vulnerable groups to prevent transmission of infectious diseases.
The project by developing and improving training for personnel in the criminal justice system (CJS) working with problematic drug users and specifically aiming at the implementation and sustainability of harm reduction programmes for vulnerable groups helps to prevent transmission of infectious diseases. Problematic drug use clearly has a detrimental impact on public health and is also associated with other problems, i.e. crime, social exclusion and deprivation. Currently there is little consideration of the impact of the criminal justice response, specifically in relation to the healthcare needs of users, and the wider public health issues associated with drug use.
Instead of the communication of existing concepts, the project will develop and provide new approaches: it will present a synthesis of existing expertise by seminars and document analysis and conduct qualitative and quantitative research in the field to investigate existing practice and to identify gaps in training from the perspective of a range of participants in order to develop new materials based on the findings. The training materials will be tested in three countries, further developed and disseminated to a wide audience of professionals and organisations working with problematic drug users by research reports, training manuals, journal articles and web-site. In line with EU drug policy, the project will address harm reduction issues concerning problematic drug users in the CJS, in particular the spread of infectious diseases.
By presenting gaps in current training programmes and examples of good practice, the project offers an opportunity for EU members to inform the development of their training in harm reduction and related issues for CJS staff, to develop actions for providing and exchanging good practice, to promote cross-cutting and integrated approaches across several health determinants and to promote and stimulate countries’ efforts. Finally, it addresses wider determinants of health such as social determinants.