A key objective of the RECOVEU project has been to conduct a review of policy and practice in relation to drug recovery programmes across Europe. The aim of this review has been to identify cultural similarities and differences between the partner countries not just in terms of policy espousal but also in enactment. The review has drawn on existing data and the experiential knowledge of the partners to develop a more nuanced understanding of the impact of drug policy and EU strategy in each of the partner countries, with a particular emphasis on how this influences practice in drug treatment. We have identified a number of key issues across the partner countries.
San Saturnino Onlus Social Cooperative runs various services in the territory of Rome (IT) addressing different kinds of users. Regarding addiction, San Saturnino Cooperative carries out both prevention interventions (through activities in schools and youth centres) and social reintegration interventions. In particular, the mobile unit of the Social Emergency Service (SOS) aims to reach cases of social disadvantage – the elderly, adults with psychiatric discomfort, the homeless, gipsy, minors in a state of abandonment, problem drug users - and to provide support. It also puts into action interventions oriented towards harm reduction and social reintegration.
The latest developments in Cyprus regarding addiction recovery focus on two main areas:
- The initiation and implementation of a plan that aims to provide financial assistance to people in addiction recovery as a way of promoting social reintegration, and
- The promotion of several treatment programmes and services that will reduce the epidemic risks of infectious diseases among intravenous drug users in Cyprus.
The second RECOVEU Project Meeting, hosted by Partner 3 – St. Dimitrie Program, took place on the 11th-12th September 2014, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The meeting was held at Babeș Bolyai University. The face-to-face project meetings are intended to combine operational management and implementation of work packages, and are very useful in bringing together the diverse experience of all the partners in order to develop the best approach for the RECOVEU project.
Many countries are adopting recovery principles. These principles are more inclusive and accessible than a formal definition of recovery. They fit well with health promotion and social inclusion. The following example comes from Sheedy and Whitter (2009) and is based on 20 years of research and widespread consultation.
There are many pathways to recovery
There are different ways that recovery can occur, from formal treatment to a religious conversion, from attending fellowships to individual, natural recovery. Recovery is a highly personal journey.
The Irish National Drug Strategy (2009-2016) aims to reduce the harm that drugs cause to the individual, their family, community and society. The Department of Health is the key policy driver. There has been a major shift in drug use over the last decade to poly-drug use involving various combinations of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, benzodiazepines and crack. Alcohol abuse, which significantly exceeds the OECD average, is also a substantial problem and Ireland is now merging its alcohol and drugs responses.
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