Opioid Atlas

Statistics for Social Good partnered with Global Oncology to gain access to opioid consumption data and to visualize it – the result was the Opioid Atlas. Their idea is that expressive visualizations of this data can both facilitate analysis by palliative care researchers and educate the broader public on the state of opiate access.

Opiates are some of the most effective pain relief medications; and some of the most widely abused. The Opioid Atlas is an interactive tool for exploring and visualizing opioid consumption around the world from 1989-2013, based on data from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Statistics for Social Good is an interdisciplinary club with members from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Their mission is to identify the concrete social problems that can benefit from improved data analysis and the statistical and computational techniques needed to achieve these improvements. They are motivated by a variety of social issues but are especially focused on problems stemming from economic inequities, like poverty, hunger, human trafficking, and unequal access to education. Many of their findings are documented on the collaborative social good hub maintained by Stats for Change at collaborative portal intended to document ongoing social data analysis efforts, summarize relevant resources and knowledge and connect those with technical skills and a passion for social change to organizations and individuals with pressing needs.

You can explore the Opioid map following this link>>>

Terms of reference for technical consultant to support field data collection on NPS in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia

EHRAIn the framework of project “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and SerbiaEurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is seeking to engage technical consultants, one consultant per country, for conducting research on new psychoactive substances (hereinafter – NPS) use in the four countries. This research project is a collaboration between EHRA and the the School of Law, Swansea University, UK.

The assessment is aimed to analyze existing evidence and documents to overview the

  1. existing statistics/data on NPS use from various sources,
  2. researches of patterns of use and procurement of NPS (via clubs, darknet, etc),
  3. existing algorithms of ambulance and police actions, and
  4. availability of harm reduction services for NPS users, and how existing services needs to adapt to meet the needs created by NPS in four countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia. This research will be conducted using the same methodology as one, done already in Moldova and Belarus.

The potential candidates should:

  • collect national data sources (such as website links, documents (in word, pdf formats), presentations and other materials) on NPS (documents and research data on drug use, behavior and harm reduction services, existing laws on health and drug policy). If documents are in national language – to make summary of the document with main quotes and translate it into English or Russian;
    to organize the field data collection:
  • recruit respondents from community of people who use drugs for focus-groups;
  • arrange interviews with officials from law enforcement and health services, harm reduction services (list of needed interviewees will be agreed with EHRA);
  • according the collected national sources on NPS use, together with EHRA staff member to adjust questionnaire for interviews/ focus groups;
  • organize logistics for the interviews/ focus-groups (place, time, coffee breaks for focus-group participants);
  • make notes during interviews and focus-groups;
  • make transcripts of the focus group discussion and interviews (in Russian or English);
  • help EHRA staff member to validate data of the report prepared by EHRA with respondents.

Soft copies of all collected data and minutes of interviews should be shared with EHRA via DropBox or GoogleDrive. In case of using quotes from individuals, the consultant must have a signed informed consent from each interviewee.

The candidates are invited to submit their CV and letter of interest with suggested respondents list, and state the daily rate in EUR (should be provided in EHRA’s template) by e-mail referenced under title “Technical Consultant” to Eliza Kurcevic at eliza@harmreductioneurasia.org by 5th January 2020, 24:00 EET. Results will be announced by January 10th, 2020. Each candidate will be contacted individually.

For more information about the Association and specifics of the work follow this link.

 

Who is responsible for prosecuting cannabis in Slovenia?

There is still no official translation of the 1961 Convention, but the Ministry of Health is commissioning a study on other countries

In April, The National Assembly Health Committee called on the ministry to prepare the grounds for cannabis cultivation by the end of this year.

Where is the sticking point?

The Ministry of Health has announced a low-value study for analyzing the costs and benefits of regulating cannabis cultivation for medical purposes in Slovenia, while SD representative Bojana Muršič is asking Minister Minister Aleš Šabeder for the purpose, as all the explanations have been gathered in 2016. Members of Parliament have been misled for years.

The analysis should include an overview of cannabis cultivation regimes for medical purposes in the EU countries, identifying the varieties of cannabis that are most in demand on the market, as well as the presentation and dissemination of the results, which will take a year. It won’t be cheap; providers must prove they have completed at least two comparable health surveys worth at least € 25,000 in five years.

All these years, the officials of the ministry you lead ensure that the risks and costs outweigh the benefits that are minimal. In a public debate that has intensified in recent years, on a number of occasions from a number of different sources the ministry has been presented credible information, publicly and clearly, which they want to collect now through the public procurement and (re)use of public funds“, Muršič warns the minister and adds that in April, the National Assembly Health Committee called on the ministry to prepare the grounds for cannabis
cultivation by the end of this year.

cannabis
Photo: Voranc Vogel/Delo

The Convention does not classify hemp plants as illicit drugs; that is a Slovenian particularity that was added by an unofficial translation from ten years ago.

Confusion due to wrong translation

Even in the order, the ministry points out that the regulation on hemp use in our country is based on three UN conventions, first a single drug convention of 1961 and related protocols of 1972. “The basis for the classification of the cannabis plant as well as the resin in the illicit drug list is thus the Single Convention as well as the 1988 Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The Single Convention allows the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes under certain conditions”, the ministry writes.

But here’s the catch. The Convention does not classify hemp plants as llicit drugs; that is a Slovenian particularity that was added with an unofficial translation from ten years ago. Exactly three years ago, this translation of the convention was removed from the websites of all bodies, including the Ministry of Justice. Thus, Slovenia does not have an official translation of the convention, thus violating said convention. Even worse, this unofficial translation is still used by the courts and police in criminal proceedings.

cannabis
Photo: Roman Šipić/Delo

According to the Rules of Procedure, the Drugs Commission should operate in the Slovenian language, which is not easy when the Single convention is available in Serbian and French, since Slovenia succeeded it from Yugoslavia.

Who is responsible?

Responsibility for the professional preparation and coherence of the material, which appears everywhere from the government commission to the World Health Organization (WHO) regional organization, is in the Health promotion and control of chronic non-communicable diseases and conditions department of the Ministry of Health.

Author: Borut Tavčar, Delo

 

New EMCDDA manual and training courses for professionalising drug prevention

Source: EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has launched European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC), the manual for decision – makers, opinion – makers and policy-makers in science based prevention on substance use, designed to train professionals who are involved in shaping prevention decisions, opinions and policies in Europe in the science-based prevention of substance use (1).

There has been much progress over the past 20 years, both in Europe and internationally, in developing responsible and evidence-based interventions in substance use prevention. Yet, prevention practices for which there is little, or no, evidence of effectiveness are still being implemented in school and community settings today. In the worst cases, poorly designed interventions may even cause harm.

The new handbook represents an important step towards achieving the agency’s goal, outlined in EMCDDA Strategy 2025, to support interventions to prevent drug use which are based on evidence. It provides practical overviews of a variety of topics (e.g. aetiology, epidemiology, monitoring and evaluation) as well as prevention in diverse settings (e.g. family, school, workplace, community, media and the broader environment).

emcdda

The aim of the EUPC initiative is to implement a standardised prevention training curriculum in Europe and improve the overall effectiveness of prevention. Adapted from the Universal Prevention Curriculum by the EU-funded UPC-Adapt group, the handbook is based on international standards but with a European slant (2).

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel said: ‘I believe that Europe will greatly benefit from a professional prevention workforce that values prevention science, has the support of public institutions and is trained in, and knowledgeable about, approaches that are empirically tested and likely to yield results. The EUPC manual and training series aim to reduce the health, social and economic problems associated with substance use by strengthening the expertise of those who influence the development of prevention systems, cultures and activities in their regions.

European Master Trainers – cascading knowledge on evidence-based prevention

This week, the EMCDDA joins forces with the EU-funded project ASAP training for quality in prevention to deliver the first EUPC ‘training of trainers’ course in Lisbon (3). Following two three-day training courses of this kind and a final exam, successful participants will gain the status of European Master Trainers.

The qualification will allow the trainers to cascade evidence-based prevention knowledge through courses in their own country and language. The new handbook forms the main reference material for EUPC training courses, which can be delivered in three forms: online introductory training; training for local or regional decision-, opinion- and policymakers (DOPs); and training in academic settings (future DOPs).

This week 29 participants from 11 countries will take part in the training, including two participants from Georgia and the Lebanon funded through the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project, launched by the EMCDDA earlier this year.

It is hoped that the EUPC manual and training courses will boost the application and spread of effective modern prevention approaches at local and regional level in Europe and facilitate well-informed choices about funding and implementation priorities.


First World atopic eczema day held in Serbia

National association Allergy and me

September 14 marks the 2nd European Atopic Eczema Awareness Day aimed to raise awareness and understanding of the disease and its impact on the people living with it. For the first time in Serbia, World atopic eczema day was held, in the city central park in Belgrade, organized by National association Allergy and me.

Host of the meeting was our colleague Snežana Šundić Vardić who leads the association.

During the event, free dermatologist examinations, educational and creative workshops for kids were conducted. This is a good example of developing an awareness of the health problems that are marginalized.

Atopic Eczema is a demanding disease and much tougher on patients than people understand. Intense and persistent itching is one of its most debilitating symptoms, leading to long-lasting pain. It nearly always restricts quality of life, impacts mental health and leads to the development of other diseases.

Each day, people living with atopic eczema experience how the disease impacts their lives beyond their skin. The new EFA Atopical Lives online photo exhibition introduces people living with atopic eczema and shows how the disease influences their daily activities and quality of life: eczema patients need to constantly adapt their daily lives to avoid additional skin irritation. They carefully choose ordinary activities such as cooking, playing sports, enjoying leisure-time or hobbies because their atopic skin requires preparation not to have symptoms worsen. Common consumer goods such as cosmetic and hygiene products, bedding or clothes are also part of their prevention strategies, leading to considerable extra-spending. The cost to get the care they need is too high: European severe atopic eczema patients spend on average 927, 12 € a year.

Atopic eczema often develops in childhood, but it can also appear in adulthood. It almost never comes alone but instead is linked to other atopic diseases: almost half of all eczema patients live with allergy to pollen, around a third have allergies to either house dust mites, animals or certain foods, and many life with asthma. The majority of mild atopic eczema patients can have their symptoms reduced thanks to moisturisers or corticosteroids. However, their recurring symptom cycles are not treated.

Snežana with visitors at the event

Members of the European Parliament recommended: Take medical use of cannabis seriously

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) proposed the ways to address research gaps on medical cannabis and call on member states to seize the potential of cannabis-based medicines.

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday 11 September, MEPs call on the Commission and national authorities to draw a clear distinction between medical cannabis and other uses of cannabis. The resolution urges the Commission and member states to address regulatory, financial and cultural barriers which burden scientific research and invites them to properly fund research. The EU should embark on more research and stimulate innovation with regard to medicinal cannabis projects.

MEPs call on member states to allow doctors to use their professional judgement in prescribing cannabis-based medicines. When effective, these medicines are to be covered by health insurance schemes in the same way as other types of medicine, they say.

European Parliament

The regulation of cannabis-based medicines would translate into additional revenue for public authorities, would limit the black market and ensure quality and accurate labelling. It would also limit minors’ access to this substance, they say.

MEPs say that there is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids may be effective in increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. Medical cannabis may also help to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders such as psychosis or Tourette syndrome, and to alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy, as well as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma. They also help to reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes and ease menstrual pain.

Whilst the WHO has officially recommended that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) should not be classified as a controlled substance, legislation in member states differs widely on the subject of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The European Parliament is made up of 751 Members elected in the 28 Member States of the enlarged European Union. Since 1979 MEPs have been elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year period.

Pride Week in Belgrade started

Belgrade Pride Week 2019 has begun on Monday 9th and will end with the Belgrade Pride, which will be held on Sunday 15th September.

The opening ceremony was held at the City of Belgrade’s National Assembly. Jovanka Todorović, representing the Organizational board of Belgrade Pride, opened this year’s Pride Week and gave an overview of all the important events that will take place. Goran Miletić and Marko Mihailović, fellow members of the Organizational board, spoke about the political messages of the “I do not renounce” campaign, as well as Belgrade’s candidature to host EuroPride in 2022.

Pride Week: Grand Opening

During this week Belgrade Pride will organize workshops, open talks with the community, exhibitions, movies projections, performances as well as the first Belgrade Pride Theater Festival. This year the face of the Pride is singer Sara Jovanović.

Also, the Pride Info Center with our associate member association Duga (Rainbow), will provide free HIV testing, every day during Pride Week from 3pm to 6pm, in Kralja Milana 20 in Belgrade.

The Pride walk will begin on Sunday at 5 pm on Slavija Square.

The plan and program of events during the Pride Week 2019 and plan of  Pride Walk is available following link>>>

 

5th Cannabis International Seminar

Research Nature Institute organizes 5th seminar in the Demystifying Cannabis cycle, Cannabis Now International Conference on October the 4th and 5th in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The seminar has been organised since 2014 in Ljubljana, Belgrade, Skopje and Zagreb.

During the seminar, the Slovenian and international top-level experts on cannabis will introduce us to the most recent insights into the medical use of cannabis in different countries around the world (Israel, Canada, USA, the Czech Republic, Spain). After their lecture, they will respond to your questions in a debate. The attenders and speakers at the Conference are experts in field of medicine, psychiatry, pharmacy, chemistry and biology: Dr. Jonathan Grunfeld, Dr. Lumír Ondřej Hanuš, Prof. Dr. David Neubauer, Dr. Sue Sisley, Doc. dr. Tanja Bagar, Dr. Dorothy H. Bray, Dr. Guillermo Velasco Díez, Dr. Paul Hornby, Prof. Dr. Tamara Lah Turnšek, Mag. Dušan Nolimal, Dr. Ilya Reznik, Dr. Roman Štukelj.

Research Nature Institute

Research Nature Institute is institute for research, development and quality assurance of nature remedies, with the goal to research the efficacy and safety of natural remedies that are currently available or are of limited access to persons in need. By setting standards for quality control and standardization, providing accreditation programs, and taking part in clinical trials, their aim is to ensure natural remedies are clean (free of contaminants) and effective at known dosages to the user. Their basic work is to educate the public, medical professionals and legislators of our findings based on sound scientific methodologies and principles.

To read more details about this event follow this link>>>

A large European survey among men who have sex with men

The European Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men Internet Survey EMIS-2017 collected comparable data from 127.792 participants – men who have sex with men from 48 countries in Europe. It provides insights on their knowledge of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STI), sexual behaviour, prevention needs and testing habits.

EMIS-2017 was executed by Sigma Research (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) as part of European Surveys and Training to Improve MSM Community Health (ESTICOM). It was a three-year project (2016-2019) funded by the European Commission Health Programme 2014-2020 through a tender by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea).

The results show considerable differences across the countries reflecting Europe’s diversity with respect to sexual health and behaviour of MSM. The report describes both MSM behaviour and needs, alongside resulting morbidities, and the likely value of current services to address these.

The Executive Summary indicates that sex between men remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission in the EU/EEA countries, where the first signs of a decline in reported new cases resulted from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among MSM (2015-2017). Responses to a survey that focused on knowledge about HIV and sexually transmitted infections, sexual behaviour, access to care, HIV-related stigma and the use of services for HIV and sexual health is a strong indication that this group cares about HIV and sexual health issues. For example, every second (56%) respondent had received an HIV test result in the last 12 months and almost half (46%) had tested for other STI during the same period.

To read full Report, follow this link>>>