DPNSEE Quarterly published

We published first issue of our newsletter in 2019 – DPNSEE Quarterly. It newsletter present the news from the Network, the news from the region and around the world in the field of drug policy.

In the DPNSEE Quarterly January – March issue, you can read about:

  • The meeting of the Board of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe, held from 25 to 27 February 2019 in DPNSEE Office in Belgrade, Serbia
  • The 62 Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held in March 2019
  • The multi-country project ‘Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region’
  • The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) – an annual report by the US Department of State to Congress
  • News from the member organisations of the Network
  • And find about upcoming events

Read or download the DPNSEE Quarterly following this link>>>

CND Wrap-up

The 62 Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs ended on Friday 22 March. It was a large event, with 2.400 participants, more than 130 Member States and representatives of over 90 civil society organisations and over 20 intergovernmental organisations. The CND 2019 was chaired by Ambassador Mirghani Abbaker Altayeb Bakhet of Sudan.

The meeting began with a ministerial segment on 14 and 15 March aimed at taking stock of the implementation of the commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem.

The regular segment, which lasted for the full working week, agreed on 8 resolutions on various topics including strengthening forensic detection capability for synthetic drugs, promoting alternative development and measures to prevent transmission of HIV for women who use drugs.

Yury Fedotov, the UNODC Executive Director, underlined that “We need to enhance our efforts to bridge the gaps in addressing the persistent and emerging trends and challenges through the implementation of balanced, integrated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary and scientific evidence-based responses to the world drug problem.

The civil society was not so happy with the event. Even though it was clear and based on evidence that the target to “eliminate or significantly reduce” drug use and trafficking in 10 years is far from achieving, the declaration adopted at the ministerial segment doesn’t include a significant shift and genuine re-orientation of drug policies which is so much needed. The civil society strongly recommend ending punitive approaches towards vulnerable groups and individuals. Ann Fordham, the Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, speaking in the name of a global network of more than 180 NGOs including DPNSEE and several our member organisations, emphasized that “Ending punitive approaches towards those most vulnerable will require that global drug control going forward puts people and communities at the centre, and seeks to improve their living conditions, address their situations of vulnerability and protect their human rights, in line with the SDG vision of ‘leaving no one behind’.

Ann Fordham addressing the Ministerial segment of the 62 CND

The World Health Organisation proposal to reschedule cannabis from schedule IV (same class as heroin, with high abuse potential and no recognised medical value) to schedule I was not discussed with the explanation that it would “allow more time for Member States’ delegations to consider such a potentially radical decision”. But, it is clear that there is no consensus to adopt it and most probably it won’t be reached in a near future.

At the regular meeting, countries mainly glorify their results in fighting drug problem, and civil society organisations mainly appear only on side events so we started discussing if our presence there has a significant effect. As Péter Sárosi, Editor in Chief of the Drugreporter, well noted “Several member states still consider NGOs hostile forces who disturb the business-as-usual operation of the UN“. So, “Tons of expertise and knowledge is channelled to the sometimes rather dull conversations.

Two DPNSEE Board members, the Executive Director and a few representatives of member organisations participated in both segments the CND. It was a good opportunity to exchange with our partners, make new and build new contacts, present our work and learn about new developments. Most of the benefit was achieved at the side events and in informal contacts.

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The side events held on 21 March you may be interested to hear about:

Our recent news on 62 CND:

 

Two member organisations joined DPNSEE

At the DPNSEE General Assembly, held on 10th December 2018, in The Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, Serbia, two new member organizations were accepted into the DPNSEE Network: Timok Youth Center (TOC) from Serbia and Center of Human Policy, from Bulgaria.

Both organizations were accepted by a unanimous decision of all present member organisations representatives.

Timok Youth Center (TOC) is a non-profit organization registered in Zaječar 2004. and operating on the territory of Zaječar, Timok region and the South -East Serbia. TOC agrees with the mission and vision of the DPNSEE and wants to actively promote the objective and open debate on the effectiveness, direction and maintenance of national, regional and international political drugs, and to promote constructive policy recommendations that lead to the adoption of human and effective drug policies in SEE.

Timočki Omladinski Centar

TOC is ready to actively engage with the creators of political and decision-making bodies in Serbia and in the region of Southeast Europe.

Timok Youth Center is an organization that is recognized at the local as well as at the national level when it comes to the fight against addiction, and above all the fight against drug abuse. Preventive programs that are implemented, and which concern addiction diseases, are mostly oriented towards young people, especially with youth at risk. TOC think that the young people from 15 to 30, as a sensitive category of the population, are especially affected by the problem of drug abuse. The research that we have conducted on the territory of Zaječar district, in the last few years has shown that young people in most of these years most often try one of the drugs. Also, in the period from 2007 to 2014, TOC is an organization that worked within the Global Fund for Reducing HIV/AIDS in South East Serbia and developed a volunteer program dealing with this issue. They believe that intersectoral and partner cooperation in prevention programs and harm reduction programs are very important and we have good cooperation with local municipalities and ministries. TOC’s work has been recognized by the The Office against drugs of Republic Serbia, with which we have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.

Center for Humane Policy was created in 2016 by leading experts in drug addictions and drug policy field in Bulgaria. The main goals of the organization are to promote, facilitate and support development of effective, evidence based methods and policies in the field of public health, social care and education.

The organization is a member of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) and the chair of the Center is also co-chair of the Steering committee of the network. Center for Human Policy is very good in understanding the importance of working together with organizations from different countries to improve the drug policy situation in the region.

During the last year the organization focused their efforts on the implementation of “Preventure” in the country. It is a school-based intervention aimed at reducing adolescent drug and alcohol use in high-risk teenagers.

Nowadays Center for Humane policy relies on two experts, trained in Canada by the inventor of the Preventure methodology – Patricia J Conrod from the University of Montreal. Also the organization has personal support of professor Conrod to implement the intervention system in the country.

Center for Humane policy also builds networks with the authorities to ensure the sustainability for fereb=nt implementation of good practices, and they have the support of the Secretary of National Council on Narcotic Substances and the Vice-Minister of Ministry of Health.

Together with these activities, the organization prepares statements, reports and analyses regarding the efficiency of Harm reduction, Opioid Substitution therapy, HIV and drug treatment policies.

Documenting drug related cases of discrimination in South East Europe

The basic human rights of marginalised groups in South East Europe are violated and they are marginalised and discriminated. Stigmatisation in the society is strong and incorporated in cultural patterns. DPNSEE, with the support of its member organisations, is launching a survey to document cases of discrimination of drug users and connected vulnerable and marginalised groups and produce an analysis of the findings. The survey shall indicate different forms of discrimination and will serve as basis for additional actions on safeguarding human rights of affected groups.

The most frequent cases of discrimination are related to stigmatization in various respects, the relationship between the police and the judicial system (including the right to information in criminal proceedings), the protection of personal data, basic and specific health care, social protection, the right to education, employment and many other areas of life which should be available to every person.

The questionnaire is not intended to be filled by beneficiaries, but by organisation’s activists, preferably those who already have established relation with persons from key populations. Before filling in the document by interviewing people, their task is to explain them the aim, process and content of the document, give them the information about the research and approve their participation. Only then, they should go through the questionnaire with the key population member.

For the country contexts, you are free to adjust it to your own country, as we are just mapping the situation. The questionnaire should serve more like a guideline to you, as we repeat that it is not research per se, but rather initial mapping.

DPNSEE would very much appreciate if an organisation would join this effort and help us to document the case of discrimination. Please, use the tool which is available for downloading following this link>>>

Should you need any help on this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us at office@dpnsee.org.

The deadline we set is 6 June 2018! Please, use the above-mentioned e-mail address.

We are growing – three new DPNSEE member organisations!

During the country visits to FYRO Macedonia (December 2016), Croatia (March 2017) and Bulgaria (2017), DPNSEE membership was promoted as the potential for exchange, partnerships and joint work. Following these promotions, application for membership came from:

  • Coalition ‘Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities’, Skopje, FYRO Macedonia
  • Terra, Rijeka, Croatia
  • Initiative for Health Foundation, Sofia, Bulgaria

In accordance with the Statutes, the DPNSEE Board supported the applications and called the Extraordinary Electronic General Assembly of the Network to vote about the applications.

The Assembly was held from 19 July at 14:00 to 20 July 2017 at 14:00. 12 out of 19 member organisations participated in the extraordinary General Assembly, all voting in favour of the proposals. The three organisations are now ordinary members of the Network which now has 22 member organisations in 11 countries.

The Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” promotes protection and respect of the fundamental human rights of marginalized communities, with focus on LGBTI persons, drug users, people living with HIV, sex workers and marginalized women. The Coalition focuses on advocacy, research and analysis, inclusion of the marginalized communities in the creation and implementation of the policies, education of all the relevant actors, promotion of the cultural practices of the marginalized communities, as well as networking and building alliances with the civil society.

Terra association is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1998. on the initiative of a group of experts (medical doctors, pedagogue, psychologist, social workers) involved in work of several local institutions (Red cross, Clinic Hospital Centre in Rijeka) and foreign organizations (IFRC, UNHCR). At the end of 2000, the association initiated “Reduction of the health and social effect of drug abuse Program”) with the great emphasis on proactive education, field work and including different target groups, wider population and community on account of omnipresent problem of drug abuse. The program has been launched as an answer to the growing epidemic of addiction and a real threat of spreading HIV/AIDS among the addicts, that comes as a result of sharing used needles and cookers, and accordingly, by sexual intercourse, on wider population.

Initiative for Health Foundation is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, registered under the Bulgarian law. The mission of the foundation is to improve public health by supporting people in health and social risk to be better informed, more responsible and independent. Our goal is to prevent the spread of HIV through the development of evidence-based social and health services. We aim to be an autonomic, stable and recognizable organization with a highly competent team. We work for legislation change and for public and political support of our cause.