Project timeline: 2015–2018
Title: Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction — HA‑REACT
Focus: Prevention of HIV and other co-infections in the EU
Partners: Coordinated by Finland, 23 Associated partners from 18 countries (Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain). Lithuanian representatives: Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius centre for Addictive disorders, Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS
Despite huge advances in treatment and care and successful implementation of evidence-based preventive interventions in many EU member states, HIV and other co-infections (especially tuberculosis and hepatitis) are still not controlled among certain population groups and regions. The HA-REACT Joint action is implementing concerted, multi-country, and multi-actor actions, strengthening evidence-based practices in the focus countries, where the situation and needs are particularly challenging, and is focusing on pragmatic actions targeting the most vulnerable populations, i. e. people who inject drugs (PWID). Project activities are organized into five core work packages: Testing and linkage to care, Scaling up harm reduction, Harm reduction and continuity of care in prisons, Integrated care, Sustainability and long‑term funding, with three more horizontal packages for Coordination, Dissemination and Evaluation. The Joint Action HA-REACT involves 23 Associated partners from 18 countries. The project started in October, 2015 and its implementation will last 36 months.
Project timeline: 2013–2015
Title: Qualified Specialists and Informed Society: Foundation of a Safe, Healthy and Tolerant Society
Project focus: Better service quality and prevention, reduction of stigma
In 2013–2015 Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders implemented the project ‘Qualified Specialists and Informed Society: Foundation of a Safe, Healthy and Tolerant Society’, which aimed to improve the quality and accessibility of services for people who use psychoactive substances, as well as to reduce stigma and enhance the prevention of addictive disorders. The main activities implemented within the project focused on the development of professional expertise of specialists whose work involved direct or indirect interaction with people who use psychoactive substances, and on better informing the society about the addictive disorders.
Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders worked to organise multiple round tables in numerous municipalities of Lithuania in order to strengthen the cooperation and discuss the possibilities of service quality improvement and service expansion. A great variety of activities took place to raise awareness, including HIV testing campaigns, events in schools to promote prevention, consultations for family members of those who struggle with substance use, activities and counselling sessions for children from social risk families, mutual aid groups and trainings on how to conduct them.
The project made a substantial contribution to the reduction of social exclusion and discrimination, promotion of a concerted action and improvement of healthcare services.
Project Timeline: 2006–2011
Title: HIV/AIDS prevention and care among injecting drug users and in prison settings in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Focus: HIV/AIDS prevention
This Regional project aimed at building a national and regional consensus on effective implementation strategies to address HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users and in prisons, and to assist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to halt and reverse the epidemics within the aforementioned target groups.
The project contributed to the increase of coverage of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and care services among injecting drug users and in prison settings, harm reduction services became more accessible to the target group, strategic information on response to HIV/AIDS epidemics was developed and shared.
During the years of the project Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders held numerous trainings on harm reduction and pharmacological treatment for medical professionals, as well as seminars for staff of penitentiary facilities. Trainings were organised in the three Baltic countries, specialists from those countries shared their experience and problem solving techniques.
Information dissemination was another key part of the project. Vilnius Centre for addictive disorders published multiple educational materials for students and the general society, developed a clinical methodology on methadone maintenance therapy in opioid dependence treatment, adapted several methodologies for Lithuania, contributed to the production of many other project publications, as well as to organisation of conferences, seminars and study visits.
Vilnius Centre for addictive disorders worked hand in hand not only with project partners but also with the Psychiatry Clinics of Vilnius University Medical Faculty, Lithuanian Psychiatrist Association and Vilnius University Medical Faculty, the Centre was visited by WHO expert groups.
The project of a large scale and length was completed successfully and work commenced within the project has been continued until now.
Project timeline: 2006–2008
Title: Rehabilitation and Social Integration of People Who Use Psychoactive Substances or Narcotic Drugs. Development of Innovative Social Service Module
Project focus: Social integration
Partners: Coordinated by Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Department, other partners include National Association of Addiction Rehabilitation Providers, Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders, Charitable Foundation ‘Vilties Svyturys’, Charitable Foundation ‘AGAPAO’, NGO ‘Apsisprendimas’
From 2006 to 2008 Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders and a group of partners worked together to implement a project to foster the social integration of people who use psychoactive substances, titled ‘Rehabilitation and Social Integration of People Who Use Psychoactive Substances or Narcotic Drugs. Development of Innovative Social Service Module’. The focus of the project was integration of the vulnerable group into the labour market. The main project activities included evaluation of employability skills, assistance in the training and employment processes, provision of labour market information, computer literacy and development of language skills. Almost all of the participants of the project acquired a professional qualification, all of them continued to be trained, and, after the programme, the employment rate after reached as high as 93%. The results of the project exceeded expectations and it was deemed a great success.
Project timeline: 2004–2006
Focus: Social Integration
Partners: Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders, Vilnius City Municipality, NGO ‘Social Support Projects’ and Vilnius Cooperation College
In 2004 an idea to make the treatment of addictive disorders and relapse prevention even more effective by establishing a base for vocational rehabilitation was born to a group of partners. Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders, Vilnius City Municipality, NGO ‘Social Support Projects’ and Vilnius Cooperation College worked together to implement the project aimed at reduction of social exclusion of vulnerable groups, such as former drug users, and founded a restaurant ‘Mano Guru’, which started functioning the same year and has been a popular Vilnius catering facility ever since.
Vocational rehabilitation is implemented by providing an opportunity to the patients who have successfully completed a community rehabilitation programme to work in the restaurant as waiters, chefs and bartenders. The approach has a number of benefits, such as fostering motivation, evaluating competences, providing professional guidance and necessary skills, and a starting point for future career. During more than a decade of operation, ‘Mano Guru’ has proved to be a highly successful social and business initiative. More about the project and its work today can be found on our website, Social Project.