The COVID-19 Conference

In recognition of the urgent need to analyse research, review policy and exchange frontline experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International AIDS Society (IAS) will host a special one-day COVID-19 Conference with breaking COVID-19 research, policy analysis and frontline experience. The virtual COVID-19 Conference will feature a free-of-charge, stand-alone programme of plenary, invited-speaker and abstract-driven sessions.

The conference will take place on 10 – 11 July 2020, concluding AIDS 2020: Virtual. Delegates already registered for AIDS 2020: Virtual are automatically registered to attend the COVID-19 Conference.

COVID-19 abstract submissions, including exploratory studies, are now open until Monday 25 May 2020. Abstracts for the special one-day COVID-19 Conference will be considered in one or more of five tracks.

Abstracts for the special one-day COVID-19 Conference will be considered in one of the following tracks:

  • Track A: Basic science, pathogenesis, virology, immunology, inflammation
  • Track B: Clinical science, testing (RT-PCR and serologic) and diagnoses, natural history, clinical care, ARDS care, therapeutics
  • Track C: Epidemiology, transmission dynamics, prevention, vaccines
  • Track D: Public health responses including physical distancing and community level efforts, programmes, policies, lifting restrictions, modelling
  • Track E: Social, economic, political, human rights impacts of the pandemic and the response Register today and submit your COVID-19 abstract to the world’s first abstract-led conference on COVID-19 as we come together to advance the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on the COVID-19 Conference can be found here.

For more information, visit this link>>>

 

Useful and fruitful Conference held

DPNSEE held today the on-line Conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe, with support of the Service for Combatting Drug Abuse at the Croatian Institute for Public Health and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC Programme Office in Serbia.

More than 60 representatives of civil society organisations, national drug agencies, international organisations and agencies and donor community participated.

We heard a lot of good stories about work done in the region on supporting vulnerable populations and several interesting ideas for actions to ensure that harm reduction services are sustainable during and after the COVID’19 epidemic.


DPNSEE prepared background documents for the Conference which are available at the recent news on our website>>>.

Here are updated documents, with some fresh information from countries, and the Minutes from the Conference.

  • Overview of the situation with coronavirus COVID-19 in SEE with two annexes (available here>>> with both annexes or here>>> as a separate document):
  • Annex 1 – Information received from countries of South East Europe during conference calls (available here>>>)
  • Annex 2 – DPNSEE activities during the coronavirus outbreak (available here>>>)

Minutes from the Conference are available here>>>.

Presentation from Mr Miloš Stojanović, Regional Project Manager at UNODC, Head of Programme Office in Serbia is available here>>>.

 

Conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe

Spread of the coronavirus and illness officially known as COVID-19 around the world, in Europe and in the region of South East Europe has a devastating effect on general population as well as on people who use drugs and other connected vulnerable populations (homeless people, sex workers, LGBTI, MSM, people living with HIV and many others).

DPNSEE reacted early on the information about possible outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe sending a Letter to member organisations inviting them to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak with brief instructions, publishing the Public appeal to protect vulnerable groups from coronavirus COVID-19, sharing and translating instructions and advice on coronavirus and keeping contacts with our member organisations and international partners. We regularly update news from South East Europe – they are available at the News section of our website.

We held conference calls with our member organisations by countries from South East Europe last weeks. We heard a lot of good stories about their work and ideas to share.

Analysing the situation and discussing potential developments during and after the outbreak, the DPNSEE Board decided to hold the on-line Conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe. The Conference will be held with support of the Service for Combatting Drug Abuse at the Croatian Institute for Public Health and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC Programme Office in Serbia.

The aim of the Conference is to contribute to ensuring the sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic. As stated in the UNODC document Suggestions about treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with drug use disorder in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic “it is important to ensure the continuity of adequate access to health and social services for people who use drugs and with drug use disorders and provide the continuum of care required as described in the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders (UNODC/WHO, 2020) to the best extent possible also in times of crisis”.

Besides our members and other civil society organisations from the region and wider, we invite to the Conference national drug agencies and health institutions, international organisations partners and donors.

The Conference will be held via Zoom at the following link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86072202401 on Thursday 23 April 2020 starting at 14:00 CET (15:00 EEST). The conference would last for a maximum of two hours.

The Agenda will include two items:

  1. Overview of situation with coronavirus among vulnerable populations in South East Europe.
  2. Proposed actions to ensure sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic.

The background documents for the Conference we plan to prepare and post here in the next few days include:

  • Overview of the situation with coronavirus COVID-19 in SEE with two annexes (available here>>> with both annexes or here>>> as a separate document):
  • Annex 1 – Information received from countries of South East Europe during conference calls (available here>>>)
  • Annex 2 – DPNSEE activities during the coronavirus outbreak (available here>>>)
  • Draft list of actions and measures to ensure sustainability of services for key populations during and after the coronavirus epidemic (in progress).

In preparations for the Conference, we shall also use and refer to the documents which are also produced and promoted internationally, including those from UNODC, UNAIDS, EMCDDA and other national and international intergovernmental and civil society organisations.

We sincerely hope that you shall join us in this effort to make sure that a truly inclusive universal health coverage grounded on rights-based laws, policies and procedures is achieved by prioritizing and protecting vulnerable groups.

 

Regional conference on youth at risk

The regional conference on youth at risk, the closing event of the project “At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment“, was held in Podgorica, Montenegro on 10 – 11 December 2019. The project was supported by the European Union and implemented by consortium of six organizations from six Western Balkan countries: Juventas (project coordinator, Montenegro), ARSIS (Albania), Association Margina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), NGO Labyrinth (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia).

The conference aimed to examine results of the implementing reforms as well as remaining challenges in the field of social policies focusing on youth at risk. Within the scope of this project, youth at risk category includes young people using drugs, young people in conflict with the law, youth without parental care, young Roma, youth with street experience, youth living in families with history of using drugs or/and conflict with the law.

The conference gathered policy officials, researchers, service providers, civil society activists and members of the academia from the region of Western Balkan and Europe to discuss current social position of different youth at risk categories and main obstacles for better social integration. Guests and speakers included Nikola Janović, Minister of Sports and Youth, Government of Montenegro and representatives of the ministries of Health, Education, Justice and Labour and Social Welfare, Fiona McCluney, resident coordinator, UN system Montenegro, Michaela Bauer, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative for Montenegro and Ana Margarida Tome De Freitas Mariguesa, European Delegation to Montenegro, among others.

One of the main topics was related to the social services in terms of their quality, regional availability, process of monitoring and evaluation. Also, the conference was the opportunity to explore current state of the cooperation between public administration and civil society in the process of service provision. Different modes of cooperation were discussed including examples of good practice with the aim to identifying cooperation models that can have best possible results. The sustainability of the social services was one of the topics.

A very emotional moment of the conference was screening of the movie “Where is the home?” which was produced with the support from the project. The movie presents personal stories of two young man who grew up in a home for children and youth without parental care.

Representatives of the DPNSEE member organisations were active throughout the conference. Board members Nebojša Đurasović and Denis Dedajić were panellists, while Executive Director Milutin Milošević moderated one of the panels.

A conference on addiction prevention

Challenges and perspectives in the field of addiction prevention – the first expert conference about contemporary approaches and models of work with children and youth in Bosnia Herzegovina was held on 26 and 27 of June 2019 in Sarajevo. Association for addiction prevention NARKO-NE within the RIPPO network organised the conference with the support of the Ministry of civil affairs, Ministry of human rights and refugees and Ministry of security.

The conference aimed to focus on the importance of an inter-sectorial approach, to sensitize the general public to problems of addictive and risky behaviours and to contribute to the professionalization and multidisciplinary development of the respective field in Bosnia Herzegovina.

The main conclusion of the Conference is that a joint work, as the society, is needed to create a safe environment, but that there are too much organisations and institutions that work on the issues of prevention and that they are not equally distributed.

Besides plenary inputs and discussions, 18 workshops were offered to participants. Among them, the DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević run one on Models of addiction prevention on environmental (structural) level. During the workshop, DPNSEE and its member organisations activities on strategies and action plans development and improving legislation on drug policy in countries of South East Europe were presented.

More information about the Conference are available on the website konferencija.prevencija.ba – including all the presentations which will be posted by the end of July.

Milutin with Aleksandra and Milena from “Čovekoljublje”

Serbia celebrated the International day against drugs

The Office for combating drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia organised a conference in occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Belgrade on 26 June 2019. Representatives of international organisations, governmental institutions, civil society and media joined to hear about latest experiences and successful stories in fighting drug abuse and support to the people who use drugs.

After the welcome and introductory speech from the Director of the Office Milan Pekić, presentation followed:

  • A comparative analysis of the statistic data about drug seizures in 2018 – Radomir Popović, Office for combating drugs
  • Modern approach to treatment and curing drug addiction – Dr Diana Raketić, Special hospital for addictions
  • Psycho-social interventions and re-integration process of people with drug disorder in Serbia – Milka Kalaba, The Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy
  • Misuse of drugs in adolescence – Dr Svetislav Mitrović, Institute for mental health
  • New psychoactive substances and new trends in drug use – Dr Jelena Janković, Ministry of Health
  • Treatment of addiction of people in prisons – Dr Maja Paunović, Special prison hospital
  • Role of media in drug prevention and fighting stigma of ex-drug addicts – Mladen Mijatović, Member of the Committee for fighting narcomania in schools

The civil society had an important role too with Aleksandar Žugić from the Association Izlazak presenting Evaluation of multi-sectorial meetings they held in local communities, while Irena Molnar from NGO Re Generacija spoke about the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign. She also presented the results of the research on “Discrimination of people who use drugs” prepared by DPNSEE.

The conclusion of the conference is that cooperation between different stakeholders is very much needed, as well as education of people from different professions (health workers, police, teachers and others, including civil society activists) on drug addiction and human rights.

United Nations & world leaders condemned for failure on drug policy, health and human rights

329 NGOs call for global leadership to halt global public health emergency and to end egregious human rights violations against people who use drugs.

As the 26th International Harm Reduction Conference comes to a close, hundreds of health professionals, academics, drug policy and human rights experts, frontline workers and people who use drugs released a statement calling on world leaders to urgently address the health and human rights crisis among people who use drugs.

Signatory NGOs shed light on the alarming public health emergency faced by people who use drugs. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of drug-related deaths rose by a worrying 60%. In 2015 alone, this culminated in a total of 450,000 deaths – an estimated 50 deaths every hour. The target to halve the incidence of HIV among people who inject drugs by 2015, set eight years ago, was spectacularly missed by 80%, and HIV prevalence increased by one third among people who inject drugs over the same period. Furthermore, globally, six in ten people who use drugs are living with hepatitis C, while 168,000 people who use drugs were reported to have died of an overdose in 2015 alone.

These health harms are preventable. The evidence, presented at the Conference this week, shows that harm reduction and human rights-centred drug policies can save lives, prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and promote the dignity and empowerment of people who use drugs. But this requires leadership from both governments and the UN.

Naomi Burke-Shyne, Executive Director of Harm Reduction International (HRI), said: ‘The evidence for harm reduction is indisputable. It is nothing short of disgraceful that governments continue to fail to support and invest in health services for some of the most marginalised people’.

The joint NGO statement also expresses serious concerns over the ability of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to adequately lead the UN response on this issue. By its very mandate and construction, the UNODC remains more attuned to the law enforcement response to drugs. As a result, UNODC leadership has consistently failed to unequivocally champion harm reduction, human rights and decriminalisation, and has lost further creditability with repeated silence in face of egregious human rights violations. Today, people who use drugs continue to be victims of incarceration, compulsory detention, denial of access to healthcare, corporal punishment, institutionalised violence, stigma and discriminations, and – in the most extreme cases – extrajudicial killings.

In response to the vacuum of political leadership, NGOs conveying in Porto have called for global leadership to protect the human rights of a ‘population under attack’ and demanded that these unacceptable human rights abuses to come to an end.

Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), stated: ‘just over ten years left for countries to meet their global commitment to champion health, reduce inequalities, and provide access to justice for all, as enshrined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, there has never been a more urgent need to strengthen political leadership at all levels. Faced with the current crisis, complacency can no longer be tolerated’.

Porto welcomes the 26th Harm Reduction International Conference

The 26th Harm Reduction International Conference (HR19) will be held in Porto, Portugal from 28 April to 1 May 2019. The Conference is organised by the Harm Reduction International and Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento (APDES) – a Portuguese non-profit association promoting sustainable development.

 

 

 

 

 

Held once every two years in a different country around the world, the Harm Reduction International Conference is the only global meeting for knowledge-sharing, networking, and discussion of best practices in the field of harm reduction. The last conference in Montreal in 2017 was attended by more than 1000 delegates from over 70 countries, including medical and policy experts, harm reduction practitioners, campaigners, and people who use drugs.

On Tuesday 30 April, at the Concurrent 16: Lost in Transition: Harm Reduction in Central and Eastern Europe, our Yuliya Georgieva from the Center for Humane Policy will speak about, Lost in Transition-Bulgaria struggling to ensure harm reduction activities after Global Fund withdraw while Nebojša Đurasović will present The only one harm reduction program that survived in Serbia – Experience of the Association Prevent.

Those who shall participate in the Conference are very much welcome to join this session.

The programme of the Conference is available following this link>>>

Conference: Challenges and perspectives in the field of addiction prevention

Association for addiction prevention NARKO-NE, within the RIPPO network and in cooperation with the Ministry of civil affairs BiH, Ministry of human rights and refugees BiH and Ministry of security BiH, organises the first expert conference in the field of addiction prevention on 26 and 27 June 2019 in Sarajevo.

The conference wants to focus on the importance of an inter-sectoral approach, to sensitize the general public to problems of addictive and risky behaviours and to contribute to the professionalization and multidisciplinary development of the respective field in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Participants of the conference will have the opportunity to learn about different approaches of addiction prevention in Europe, to exchange good practices, and to learn about mechanisms which ensure the efficiency and quality of interventions themselves.

All information about this event including the process of participant’s registration is available on the website konferencija.prevencija.ba

Registration deadline is 31 May 2019.

Conference on nightlife, substance use and related health issues

Club health Amsterdam 2019 is the 11th international conference on nightlife, substance use and related health issues, to be held in Amsterdam, 15 – 17 May 2019.

The event marks 20 years of international club health conferences. The 1st International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues was held in Amsterdam in 1999. Club Health conferences have since been held bi-annually in Australia, North America and throughout Europe. The 11th International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues returns to Amsterdam in May 2019. By hosting Club Health Amsterdam 2019, the partners which organise it JellinekGGD Amsterdam and the City of Amsterdam want to demonstrate how partnerships and cooperation between stakeholders can be both productive and rewarding.

The objectives of Club Health Amsterdam 2019 include:

  • To develop understanding of the impacts of nightlife activity and the necessity for creating and maintaining safe and healthy nightlife environments
  • To facilitate the implementation of effective, evidence-based policies, interventions and approaches in nightlife environments that can reduce potential harms
  • To improve knowledge and expertise about how nightlife environments and settings can be developed, managed and sustained effectively
  • To promote multi-agency partnerships and networks at local, national, European and international levels

Club Health brings together experts and stakeholders from a wide range of fields to present, meet and exchange experiences, evidence and views on the latest research, policy and practice relating to protecting and promoting health in urban night-time settings. Previous conferences have developed and/or enhanced a powerful inter-disciplinary international network of academics and practitioners, resulting in European and international research and practice collaborations.

Club Health Amsterdam 2019 will be relevant and of interest to municipal and state policy makers, public health planners, medical and nursing practitioners, drug and alcohol service providers, criminologists, local authorities, transport sector and government agencies, representatives of the various nightlife industries and citizens and customers using or affected by the night-time economy.

To get more information about the Conference, follow this link>>>