Syringe Exchange Activity in Portugal 2012
"Prevention of drug-related infectious diseases amongst problematic drug users is mainly ensured through the national syringe exchange program 'Say no to a second hand syringe', established by the National Commission for the Fight Against AIDS (CNLCS) in collaboration with the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), with the aim to prevent HIV transmission between intravenous drug users through the distribution of sterilized material and the collection and destruction of the materials used by IDUs.
"Over the years the program was adjusted according to the evolution needs of IDUs and harmonization of procedures among the various partners.
"Since it was set up, in October 1993, it has been using the national network of pharmacies and has enlarged its partner network through protocols with mobile units, NGOs and other organisations in order to reach a wider population (49 partners in 2010 and 2009 and 36 in 2008). This program was externally evaluated (as reported in previous National Reports) and it was concluded that it had avoided 7,000 new HIV infections per each 10,000 IDU at that time of existence of this program, having estimate savings to the State between 400 to 1,700 million Euros, reinforcing the importance of this program in term of public health.
"50,463,192 syringes have been exchanged through this program since October 1993 and until December of 2012 by all the entities involved in this program. The number of syringes exchanged increased progressively till 1997, with some fluctuations in the following years. From 2005 has been registered a downward trend in the number of syringes exchanged.
"In 2012, 1,341,710 syringes were exchanged (1.650.951 in 2011), and distributed 1,086,400 (1,210,000 in 2011), representing a decrease of 19% and 10% in relation to last year.
"The Partners in this program are all Governmental and nongovernmental organizations that signed the cooperation protocol with the National Coordination HIV/AIDS and ANF under the program 'Say no to a 2nd hand syringe.'"
General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD), "2013 National Report (2012 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: PORTUGAL: New Development, Trends and in-depth information on selected issues" (Lisbon, Portugal: 2013), p. 78.