ESCAPE (European Syringe Collection & Analysis Project Enterprise): a multi-city study of monitoring consumption trends of people who inject drugs
Monitoring of illicit drug consumption may be difficult especially when it concerns people who inject drugs (PWID) because of their various and hidden behaviours. Nevertheless, some of these PWID access different harm reduction program such as needle exchange programs (NEP) where they return their used injecting material (syringe, needle, cup…) to get back new and sterile material. A new approach has been developed to bring further and objective knowledge about consumed products through analytically confirmed data: the analysis of residual content of used syringes. In this case, used syringes convey traces that hold the potential to inform about consumption of PWID, and to contribute to the understanding of drug addiction among this population.
For the first time in Europe, a study based on the used analysis syringe methodology has been conducted twice simultaneously in 6 cities. The main objective of this study was to obtain analytically confirmed data on the drugs injected by drug users, including marginalised or hidden PWID. Two sampling campaigns have been conducted in September 2017 and March 2018 in seven European cities: Amsterdam (only participated in the first campaign), Budapest, Cologne (only participated in the second campaign), Glasgow, Helsinki, Lausanne and Paris, with a total of 24 sites. 2,364 used syringes were collected, and analyses have been performed on 2,243 of them.