Needs assessment harm reduction in Ghent

Research Period

20 December 2013 – 31 October 2014


City of Ghent


Prof. Dr. Tom DECORTE



Key Words

needs assessment, harm reduction, consumption rooms


As a result of the approval of the 'Drug Policy Note 2013-2018 of the City of Ghent' the city of Ghent wants to examine the desirability and feasibility of a drug consumption room regarding the harm reduction drug policy in Ghent by carrying out a broader needs assessment. The desirability and feasibility of a drug consumption room, depends on the existing harm reduction initiatives, on the classification in the wider range of health care facilities and also on the global drug policy in the city / region. This assessment should mainly focus on problematic users who inject heroin, cocaine and / or speed Intravenously. Yet we also include harm reduction initiatives for other groups, for example homeless people with alcohol problems. In order to determine the feasibility and the necessity of such initiatives, it is extremely important that a survey is carried out among the drug users in Ghent.


The study involves four objectives.

1. To assess the current state of harm reduction in Ghent and to compare it with other cities / regions.
2. To describe the recent developments / changes in harm reduction.
3. To evaluate the needs, the requirements and the priorities within the harm reduction policy in Ghent.
4. To make recommendations concerning harm reduction needs assessment in Ghent.


1. A number of Focus groups have been organized in various drug treatment facilities in Ghent (De Sleutel, De Kiem, Villa Voortman, MSOC, Straathoekwerk). The target population is a group of (former) drug addicts in treatment.
2. A written survey will be carried out among (heavy) drug users in Ghent. In addition, an anonymous Internet survey will be conducted.


  • VANDER LAENEN, F., FAVRIL, L. & DECORTE, T. (2016). Prioriteiten voor het lokale ‘harm reduction’-beleid. Drugsgebruikers als sleutelfiguren. Verslaving, 12(2), 106-120.