Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on illicit drug markets and drug users’ behaviorApril 01, 2020 - NowThere is fragmented information coming from the field workers of harm reduction programs and community representatives that the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact on illicit drug supply and drug consumption practices. We hypothesize that the pandemic will affect illicit drug markets, including online markets, in terms of changing availability, purity, pricing for illicit drugs, and will facilitate changes in drug users’ behaviors in terms of substances consumed (amounts, combinations, route of administration) and ways of obtaining those substances. Georgia and Ukraine are selected for this study due to a number of reasons.
In this prospective cohort study, we recruited 50 regular drug users per country (total n=100) who fill in online questionnaire in every two weeks and have qualitative individual interviews once in 3 months. We will follow them up regularly for 24 weeks (about six months). In addition, individual interviews are conducted with field-experts and stakeholders once a month. Furthermore, we are monitoring online drug market.
Project is funded by European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
Community policing and drug related harm reductionJanuary 08, 2019 - NowThe project is being implemented by the Addiction Research Center “Alternative Georgia”. The goal of the project is to develop psychoactive substance use related knowledge and skills of community police officers and support their engagement in addressing drug related problems in communities
The goal of the project is to develop psychoactive substance use related knowledge and skills of community police officers and support their engagement in addressing drug related problems in communities.
Specific objectives of the project are as follows:
1. Assess Georgian regulatory framework (laws, regulations, ministerial decrees) related to community policing; assess knowledge and attitudes of community police officers in relation to substance use
2. Review international experience with community policing, in particular in relation to addressing drug related issues
3. Based on Objectives 1 and 2 propose changes to the regulatory framework in order to enable effective involvement of community police officers with reducing/preventing drug related crime and reducing drug related harms
4. Organize a study visit of representatives of MIA (including community police officers) to learn practical experience in drug related community policing (preliminary to one of EU countries or the US; to be determined later)
5. Develop an educational module for community police officers in order to build their knowledge and overall capacity on approaches and interventions aimed at reducing/preventing drug related crime and drug related harms.
Access to Opioid substitution treatment in Georgian penitentiary system July 01, 2019 - January 31, 2020Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is effective intervention for people who inject drugs (PWID). While access to OST is increasing in civil sector, it still remains limited in Georgian penitentiary system. Georgian prisons provide OST to PWID for 3-5 months with the final goal of detoxification. Project aims to examine barriers and challenges faced by PWID in Georgian prisons through the investigation of experiences shared by former beneficiaries involved in penitentiary system’s OST and experts working in the field. Additionally, project team will analyze Georgian regulatory framework, international standards and recommendations in order to increase access to OST in penitentiary system. Seven-month project is funded by Center for Training and Consultation (CTC).
Georgia Syringe Vending Machine Trial (GSVMT)April 02, 2018 - NowNeedle and syringe programs (NSP) are evidence-based intervention to prevent HIV infection among people who inject drugs (PWID). Syringe Vending Machines (SVM) are cost-effective intervention to supplement the standard NSP, to reach hard to reach groups, and to cover un-served geographical areas. The aim of the ongoing parent implementation trial is to evaluate the implementation process (and effectiveness) of SVM and to increase access to sterile injection equipment for PWID in Tbilisi, Georgia.
With partnership of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) and Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN), Alternative Georgia is implementing SVMs which work 24/7 and provide sterile injection equipment, condoms, Naloxone kit, contact information and educational brochures for PWID.
The project is supported by the 5% Initiative implemented by Expertise France and funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and co-financed by The Global Fund.