Humane harm-reduction services for drug users (Bulgaria)
1. Who they are
The Center for Humane Policy is a Bulgaria-based non-government organisation working in the field of harm reduction, drug use problems and drug policy. The team brings together some of the leading harm-reduction activists and professionals in Bulgaria, many of whom are at the forefront of the fight and advocacy for the rights of the drug-using community since 2004. The organization’s main goal is to ensure governmental answers for the issues of much marginalised people who use drugs (PWUD) and to find ways to improve their existence. Founded in 2016, CHP’s mission is to put the highly sensitive issues of drug use on society’s agenda; to test and implement the best contemporary evidence-based practices such as harm reduction, and to offer educational and training activities and interventions providing an alternative to stigma and punitive approaches. The team is currently taking care of The Pink House – the only drop-in center for PWUD in Bulgaria which covers the basic needs of these members of society who find themselves at the intersection of multiple axes of marginalisation.
2. What they did
During the project duration,“The Pink House” ensured services for 273 individuals 8.260 times; they distributed 12.390 hot meals, 610 clothes; 260 people used the washing machine; 523 people received hygienic products; 199 received medications and medical materials; 454 received services as consultations and case management; 9 people founded and started a new job. In 2021 the facilities started to work on full time. More than 20 interviews were released by the Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgaria OnAir tv and various media.
All of these numbers lead toward the recognition of The Pink house as a “Good practice” by the Municipality, the National center for public health and analysis and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. In August 2020 during the session of the Sofia Municipal Council, for the first time ever, service for the people who use drugs was voted for funding through so-called delegated budgets – state funds distributed by municipalities. We involved the support of the Minister of Social Affair and Deputy Mayor in the field of “Social activities and integration of people with disabilities”: and this represents an unprecedented achievement and success for the whole country.
The National Center for public health and analysis funded the organization with 2.500 euros. Even though the amount is too far away from the needs of the facility it represents a new fundamental governmental recognition.
Link to usefull sources
Report: Let’s talk about drugs: Assessment of drug education in Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Serbia