Developing local answers to emerging HIV threat among legal high users in Romania (Project Report)

Starting with 2012 August until  2013 November, the Romanian Harm Reduction Network had implemented the project Developing local answers to emerging HIV threat among legal high users in Romania, under the agreement with SIDACTION, with a budget of 31,000 Euro.

The project was implemented in 8 Romanian cities: Bucharest, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Galati, Constanta, Brasov and Sibiu.

The training program aim was to increase the capacity in outreaching, understanding and working with people who use new drugs. The training was addressed to professionals working in community-based drug services and in public institutions responsible with medical and social services for at-risk groups from 8 Romanian cities, using international and local expertise.

Download the report here

Interesting feedback from trainees:

  • The legal high shops were closed and the substances are now sold on the streets by dealers;
  • Prisoners prefer to use NPS because they are cheaper that the classic drugs
  • NPS are sold as bath salts in unlabelled 5g bags
  • In the mental hospice nearby (Palazu Mare) they have a rate of about 10 people each month with psychiatric disorders following NPS use; they have cases of schizophrenia following NPS use (at least three doses a day for more than three years)
  • People who are trying to quit fall off the wagon very soon
  • There are known NPS dealers of in the city
  • The majority of users are high-school and college students
  • NPS are sold on the street in unlabelled bags
  • Main substances on the street: JWH, UR, AM and cannabinoids in the last couple of years
  • NPS are purchased online
  • NPS are used also mixed together to get a stronger effect
  • In prison they mainly use cough and headache pills (in the penitentiary system there is a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, so the official position states that there is no drug use in prisons, except the „exceptional” cases of prisoners being caught; so there is no regular drugs use)
  • NPS are bought online (both ATS and cannabinoids)
  • Homeless people use mainly alcohol and paint thinners
  • The trend here is back to the classic drugs (marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines)
  • The main users are high-school and college students
  • Since last year there were virtually no cases
  • The trend is to use „natural” drugs (hashish and marijuana) and to avoid the synthetic ones
  • NPS have left a very bad taste in the local youth – the ones who use drugs are set on marijuana and avoiding NPS
  • Those who still use NPS buy them online, from dealers and taxi drivers; there are now more dealers on the probation service than last year
  • There are cases of people that are trying to quit NPS use by overriding the craving with alcohol – they are almost clear, but because the huge quantities of alcohol they needed to use to surpass the craving, they are now alcoholics
  • The NPS use has decreased; what remains is based on online traffic; it appears that the people who end up in ER are multidrug users (mixing different substances and supplementing them with alcohol)
Timișoara ·         NPS („shampoos”) are bought from dealers; also there are reported injecting NPS cases

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