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Diminishing the stigmatization of people who use drugs.

Substance use disorder is one of the most stigmatized mental health issues. The stigma acts as an important barrier, building a wall between the person who needs help and the kind of help they need. 

Some parts of our society tend to believe that people who use drugs have a low intellect and level of education, come from troubled families, are immature both emotionally as well as psychologically, have limited social skills, have grown up in poverty, are unable to set goals and boundaries, can't keep a job, and have a habit of manipulating others, lying and tending to act violently. Media representations that mostly depict people at one of the extremes of the spectrum of drug use also have an important role is shaping public attitudes. 

Actually, people who use drugs tend to be quite normal, functioning people around us. Usually people who use drugs are able to manage their daily lives — go to school, work, engage in business, live family lives, engage in physical activity, etc. Many of them are not encountering the kinds of social problems that tend to be associated with addictive behaviours. Most of the people who use drugs don't inject. 

Usually people are afraid to ask for or seek out help, because the stigmatization around drugs is so great. It's important to keep in mind that anyone can become addicted to drugs, and to avoid stigmatization of people who use drugs, as this only worsens the situation — both for every person individually as well as the society as a whole. It is important to be understanding about the problem, so that people who use drugs and their loved ones would dare to speak about the problem, to ask for help and use the relevant services.


Why harm reduction services are needed

Harm reduction services are a scientifically developed cost-effective method of engaging with people who use drugs, and minimizing risks associated with drug use. 

The main goals of these services are reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases, counselling clients about less risky behaviours, and directing them to treatment. 

Harm reduction services are directly associated with keeping the spread of the HIV infection under control — and the smaller the number of infected people, the less the state has to pay for their treatment. 

A big part of the harm reduction package is psychological counselling. For a long time, Convictus has employed psychologists and peer-to-peer counsellors with specific corresponding competences, whose contribution to making the set of harm reduction services as a whole effective has been extremely important.

The work of psychologists and peer counsellors provides support to our clients and restores their belief in themselves and the notion that it is possible to function differently and thus live a socially fully-valued life. Thanks to counselling, a person who uses drugs is capable of returning to normal work and family life, which contributes to the whole society through taxes accrued from the labour market as well as the fact that yet another family has become capable of functioning normally and contributing to the society. 

Read more: Convictus blog

Cooperation partners and memberships

In the past 20 years, the non-profit organization Convictus Estonia has cooperated with many businesses and organizations both in Estonia as well as internationally.

These are some of our partners:

  • National Health Development Institute (Link to the service agreement)
  • Ministry of Social Affairs
  • Police and Border Guard Board
  • city government of Tallinn
  • University of Tartu
  • University of Tallinn
  • Estonian Food Bank
  • ReCuro (medical services)

Convictus is also a member in several international organizations:

  • Convictus Sweden
  • Convictus Ukraine
  • International Harm Reduction Association.

All of our services are anonymous and free for the clients.

Read more about our services here.

Convictus works in cooperation with the National Institute of Health Development. See the cooperation agreement here.

The non-profit organization Convictus Estonia has 50 employees. See the list of our contacts here.

Read more

What to do if you see a used syringe lying on the ground?

Read more on Convictus website

Training courses and cooperation with companies

The non-profit organization Convictus Estonia provides a selection of training courses to businesses, schools and other interested parties. Have a closer look at what we have to offer.

Figures and indicators

Every year, the non-profit organization Convictus Estonia sums up its activities and their results. Have a closer looks at our statistical figures and comparisons here


Have a closer look at the drugs situation in Estonia. Here you can find, for example, the figures on overdose mortality and the incidence of substance misuse among the adult population.

Join us as a volunteer or a member 

Kui soovid meid oma teadmiste või oskustega abistada ja osa saada meie tegemistest, siis võta meiega julgelt ühendust.

Support us with a donation

TAI: training and events

Have a look at the wide selection of seminars and supervisions for people in recovery, loved ones of people who use drugs, as well as for specialists working with people who have substance use disorders: