The UN Country Team in Serbia launched the Socio-economic impact assessment of COVID19 in the country. It is the result of 26 assessments done by all UN agencies working in Serbia and non -resident ones, together with extensive fact finding exercise done jointly with Government.
This assessment provides an in-depth overview of the impact of COVID-19 on key economic and human development perspectives: health, social protection and provision of basic services, jobs and the economy, macroeconomic stability, community cohesion, governance and resilience, and the environment. It is framed around the UN Secretary-General’s framework for an immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19; it promotes more sustainable development and an opportunity to build forward better in the aftermath of the crisis, with an end goal of accelerating achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the “Agenda 2030”).
This report provides a comprehensive overview of COVID19’s impact in Serbia. It captures the situation in the first six months following the outbreak, based on official data and specific surveys conducted by UN agencies and other civil sector research. The report serves to inform the choices we make and actions we take in the coming period. These decisions will determine the outcome of this pandemic and the development of the region for decades to come.
The new review published by the Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, takes a quick look at the current legal framework in the European Union which regulates cannabis use and cultivation for medicinal purposes. The document was prepared by Slovene Metoda Lipnik-Štangelj from the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Toxicology, Ljubljana and Barbara Razinger from the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of the Republic of Slovenia.
From the abstract
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has raised public interest in the medicinal use of cannabis, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids, which has always been closely regulated due to their psychotropic effects and potential abuse. The review takes a quick look at the current legal framework in the European Union, which regulates cannabis use and cultivation for medicinal purposes in line with the United Nations Conventions on the production, trade, and use of cannabis, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids. And while the EU legislation precisely defines requirements and marketing authorisation procedures for medicinal products for all EU member states, there is no common regulatory framework for magistral and officinal preparations containing cannabinoids, as they are exempt from marketing authorisation. Instead, their regulation is left to each member state, and it is quite uneven at this point, mainly due to cultural and historical differences between the countries, leading to different access to non-authorised medicinal products. Therefore, to meet great public interest, harmonised approaches on cannabinoid-containing products without marketing authorisation would be welcome to level the playing field in the EU.
Decades of investment in the HIV response have created platforms that are proving useful in battling COVID-19 – just as they were in responding to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in western and central Africa.
The new report by UNAIDS examines how the experience of tackling HIV can help inform and guide effective, efficient, people-centred and sustainable COVID-19 responses.
This report focuses on three key issues: (1) how key lessons learned from the HIV response should inform COVID-19 responses; (2) how the HIV infrastructure is already driving COVID-19 responses and has the potential to catalyse accelerated progress through strategic action; and (3) how the COVID-19 response, informed by the history of responding to HIV, offers a historic opportunity to build a bridge to adaptable results-driven systems for health that work for people.
Key recommendations for the COVID-19 response include:
COVID-19 responses should benefit from learning from the HIV experience
Communities must be at the centre of COVID-19 responses
COVID-19 responses should be guided by human rights principles and practices
COVID-19 responses should be gender-sensitive and transformative
COVID-19 demands a multi-sectorial, all-of-government, all-of-society response
COVID-19 responses should leverage the HIV infrastructure
COVID-19 strategic information data must be used to guide action, increase accountability and improve programme performance
COVID-19 responses will require strong political leadership
We must use COVID-19 to reimagine systems for health
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) launched today the European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments. In its latest annual review – marking 25 years of monitoring – the agency describes the drug situation at the end of 2019, along with recent changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
High availability across all drug types, drug production within Europe and highly potent substances are among the concerns addressed today. New developments highlighted in the report include: record cocaine, and large heroin, seizures; a scaling up of synthetic drug production; and concerns around high-potency cannabis, new synthetic opioids and ecstasy tablets containing high levels of MDMA. Drawing on new EMCDDA rapid studies (Spring 2020), the report also reviews COVID-19 disruption to drug use and the market, which could have long-term implications for Europe’s drug services and law enforcement agencies. There are fears that innovative drug distribution models developed during lockdown, along with the economic impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities, will add to the challenges already posed by an abundant supply of drugs.
The following ‘Key issues’ have been identified in this year’s analysis:
Large drug shipments are increasingly intercepted
Cocaine’s role in Europe’s drug problem is increasing
Potential for increased heroin use and existing harms raise concerns
Understanding the public health impact of high-potency cannabis and new products
Increased and diverse drug production within Europe
Continuing availability of high-strength MDMA products highlights need for greater user awareness
Growing complexity in the drug market poses regulatory challenges and health risks
Need for new tools and innovative strategies to support the scaling-up of hepatitis C treatment
Drug overdose is increasingly associated with an ageing population
New psychoactive substances (NPS) have become a more persistent problem
Appearance of novel synthetic opioids is a worrying example of continuing market adaptability
The Robert Carr Fund has adopted the Fund’s strategy 2020 – 2024. The strategy was developed in a participatory process in 2019 and was officially launched at the AIDS2020 conference in July 2020.
The strategy will chart the Fund’s course through 2024. It is rooted in the strategic approaches of fostering a culture of learning and nurturing partnerships that benefit ISPs and advances three strategic priorities:
Financial health and resilience
Innovation and creativity
To learn more about the Robert Carr Fund’s strategic priorities and approaches, please read the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 follow this link>>>.
You can also listen to the strategy presentation delivered during the AIDS2020, where it was discussed by the members of the civil society, International Steering Committee, and RCF Funders.
Craig McClure, the Chair of the ISC, emphasized that “The strategy builds on and amplifies the original vision for the Robert Carr Fund. It aspires to a brighter future for civil society networks, while being grounded in a response to the unique challenges of our times“.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Guidance Prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs identifies good practice for prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs. This guidance aims to support policy makers in Europe to plan adequate, evidence-based, pragmatic, and rationally designed public health responses for the prevention and control of infections among people who inject drugs. It aims at public health programme planners and decision makers working in the fields of infectious diseases, general public health, addiction and mental healthcare, social services, and drug control at national and regional levels.
Published n 2011, the Guidance is currently being updated. In addition to ongoing systematic reviews of peer-reviewed literature, a collection of models of good practice has been initiated by the two agencies, that should add practice-based evidence derived from interventions implemented in real-life, European settings.
The two EU agencies are inviting applications to report models of good practice targeting PWID population aiming to:
improve community-based testing
increase linkage to care
increase adherence to treatment of infection interventions
prevention or reduction of infections through successful health promotion approaches
The infections of interest are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), HIV and tuberculosis (TB).
Should you or your organisation be interested in reporting a model of good practice that fits the scope of this call, please express your interest following this link>>>.
The 31st Annual Conference of the European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD) in 2020 will be held online. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, the ESSD Board and Organising Committee decided to hold this year’s conference as a virtual event. This decision is based on the strong and positive responses received from ESSD members participating in the recent online survey.
The ESSD 2020 online conference will take place from Thursday, 24 September to Friday, 25 September, 2020 and is organised by the Department of Political Science of the University of Vienna.
The 31st Annual Conference of the ESSD will focus on a variety of themes including drug related implications of COVID-19, new trends in drug use and digitisation of drug markets. Additionally, there will be presentations on theories and concepts for drug policy. Lastly, methods in drug research and ethical challenges in drug research will be discussed. Presentations should preferably include a European dimension, and/or theoretical analysis that draws inferences from the local to the global.
Online registration is free of charge but required for presenting and non-presenting participants. Registration is now open and closes on September 20, 2020. No conference fees apply.
HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje, within the regional project Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (#SoS_project) supported by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, facilitates the workshop of the multi-sectorial working group on preparations of the National Drug Strategy 2021 – 2025 and the Action Plan 2021 – 2023.
The multi-sectorial working group was established by the Minister of Health. It consists of representatives from all relevant ministries, state institutions and civil society organizations. The workshop is being held in Ohrid from 14 to 18 September 2020.
The purpose of this workshop is to prepare the new National Drug Strategy 2021 – 2025, which by the end of the year should be adopted by the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) launches its European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments in a live online media event on 22 September.
In this latest annual review – marking 25 years of monitoring – the EMCDDA describes the drug situation at the end of 2019, along with recent changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
The report provides a comprehensive analysis of patterns emerging across the EU, Turkey and Norway in the areas of drug supply, illicit drug use and associated public health problems. National data sets are also provided across these themes and on key harm-reduction interventions. In a new format, chapters are organised primarily by drug type and by related harms.
Accompanying the report this year will be a Key Issues summary (in 24 languages), presenting a selection of the main findings from the latest analysis, chosen for their policy relevance and general interest. The 2020 Statistical Bulletin, containing the European dataset underpinning the report, will also be available.
Attend the live online media event to hear the key issues and latest analysis on 22 September 2020 at 10.00 (Lisbon), 11.00 CET.
The Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) together with the UNODC Civil Society Team are inviting you to a joint webinar presenting the NGO Marketplace and giving guidance on how to engage effectively at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).
The webinar will include a tour through the new features of the NGO Marketplace, information on this years CND intersessional meetings and guidance on how to best apply for speaking opportunities.
To ensure a broad engagement, the webinar will be held twice: