Tuesday, 13 March – second CND day

Side events

Use of social marketing in promoting online interventions

The event offered by the Governments of Croatia and Finland, the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section.

Chair of the session was Elena Hedoux, Programme Manager of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe; opening remarks were given by Gilberto Gerra, Chief of Drug Prevention and Health Branch, UNODC and speakers were Mirka Vainikka, Executive Director of “Free from Drugs“, Thomas Kattau, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe and Marko Markus from the Office for Combating Drugs Abuse of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

Interesting points from the presentations include:

  • Gilberto Gerra: Instead of selling something, companies work on changing behaviour. It doesn’t end with companies speaking only to customers, but customers start speaking with each other. We need to explore how to reach psychonauts 2 (an upcoming platform video game being built on the success of a classic action/adventure platformer; it is an example of a crowdfunding campaign to create a sequel of the success of the initial game)
  • Thomas Kattau: If you invest in on-line tools, you need to invest in marketing these tools. Companies have much more money to invest into (social) marketing than public institutions (not to talk about civil society – our comment).
  • Marko Markus: presented the work of the Office using a Facebook webpage and a special page drughelp.eu. He underlined that 90% of people who are in need never asked for help!

All presentations of the event are available following this link. More about the event is already available from a special web page prepared by the Office.

Drugs and the darknet

The Government of Bulgaria and the European Union hosted the event to discuss connection between drugs and darknet, a largely anonymous platform for trading a range of illicit goods and service. Chair of the event Svetoslav Spassov, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the UN introduced the issue reminding participants that it is estimated that around 2/3 of the offers on darknet are drug related. The accessibility and quick adaptability of on-line markets pose a growing threat.

Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA Director presented facts from the recent report which shows extreme growth of criminal actions on Internet and darknet especially. EMCDDA discovered in several cases that what was sold was what was promoted. There is a good system of rating the products and sellers. Most of the traffic are done in Germany, UK and The Netherlands. Most of the products are non-cocaine stimulants and new psychoactive substances. Alphabay grew very fast since creation in December 2014 and in two years traffic there was twice bigger than the one of the pioneer Silk Road (which was closed by law enforcement in 2017). Due to anonymity, there is no wholesale at darknet because of the risk connected.

Liamonas Vasiliauskas from the Operations Directorate, Europol confirmed that many vendors offer a variety of drugs. Monthly revenue of 8 major criminal groups on darknet is 10 – 12 million Euro. What Europol don’t know are drug sources, chemicals and equipment, money flows, role of organised crime, etc. Due to darknet, regular post package services grew significantly in recent years. Most of the EU countries don’t have a specific darknet investigation team – Europol designed a model of establishing one. FBI, DEA and Dutch Police closed two networks in operations Bayonet (Silk Road) and GraveSac (Hansa). Europol don’t have information if this seizure of networks caused decrease of traffic or the market quickly recovered.

Peter Mihoc from the European Commission added that one of the main issues is the knowledge gap. Another is lack of equipment needed for operations of law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement and sustainable drug use prevention

The event was chaired by John Redman, Society for the Advancement of Global Understanding, while panelists included commander Juan Antonio Cano Carrasco, representative of the Spanish Army, Angelo Lange, local law enforcement in Milano, Italy, Dr Christian Mirre, biologist, Foundation for a Drug Free Europe.

Interesting points from the presentations include:

  • John Redman: Spoke about a success of fighting meth problem in Southern California in cooperation between law enforcement and people from communities, including those from Mexico.
  • Juan Antonio Cano Carrasco: They operate as the part of society – and respond to the needs of it. Army is included in the national action plan against drugs. All three Army (VID) are involved: infantry, navy and air forces and coordination is typical army one. Most efforts invest in prevention, working towards a drug free world. Drug tests are performed when joining the army but also regularly, both to officer and all the military (all army is professional). They also have a program of informing their military. They invest in creating a favourable environment so that they don’t get interest to use drugs. One element of the programme is cooperation with communities, on all levels, which includes training, information sharing and free time activities of the military.
  • Angelo Lange: Drug is being sold by people of all different kinds. Milano experienced a dramatic increase of cocaine traffic in 2007. National Police created a special unit, who were not in uniforms to fight the problem in every possible environment. They made a success thanks to anonymous reports from citizens and trust they built with people, including drug users. On contrary they do prevention in a social context. He published a book “Life in dust: drogues, fuck you” in 2010 and a year earlier he recorded a movie “Sbiri” (Caps, in slang). In 2016, a mural was created through a competition of teams reflecting on his book. Also, a theatrical play was set on the basis of his and another author.
  • Christian Mirre: 1.117 US Police departments adopted a partnership program on drug prevention. The same happened in the Czech Republic, South Africa and several other countries. They prepared a curriculum package material translated already in 17 languages.

Other side events

Notes about some interesting side events are available:

 

Long way to make good changes in the Law

Ministry of Health of Serbia proposed changes to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances at the end of 2016. Very limited proposal and the public debate which was organised during 4 weeks of festive days caused serious concern among civil society organisations in Serbia. DPNSEE with two member organisations Prevent and Re Generacija, along with three other partner organisations, made large number of comments and proposals to improve the draft.

Unfortunately, there were no reply from the Ministry for more than 9 months. Finally, with the support of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, a meeting was organised on 4 October to discuss our contribution. Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Office for combating drug abuse and Ministry of Interior met with the aim to present civil society organisations comments and proposals and exchange about which of them should be incorporated into the next version of the draft.

Although we were prepared for qualified discussion about our proposals, it turned out that the Working group in the Ministry of Health already prepared the next draft and that some of our proposals were accepted. Despite the requests to specify which proposals were accepted and which not and why, the representatives of the Ministry remained on the position that it will be possible only when this new version will be sent for the next round of consultations.

The meeting had a limited success because we presented comprehensive and qualified approach to dealing with legislation and stayed on our positions regarding very important issues related to drugs: need to ensure involvement of civil society organisations in all issues related to drug use, wider set of services of the early warning system that is to be established (including field work and consulting), right to bring samples of substances for checking, wider distribution of naloxone around the country, use of language that will not stigmatise people who use drugs, respecting the right to information and protection of sensitive information, better coordination of all the stakeholders, especially reporting about drugs, etc. The proposed amendments to the Law still have to pass a few levels to come to the Parliament and we are ready to keep advocating for a better Law.

Learning about the good experiences and challenges in Croatia

Representatives of the Drug Policy Network in South East Europe (DPNSEE) visited Croatia from 22 to 24 March 2017. This activity is part of a series of country visits within the framework of the project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public Health and human rights oriented Drug Policy in South East Europe” as described within the work plan for 2017 and it was undertaken by NGO “Diogenis Drug Policy Dialogue” – the lead organization of the project – in close cooperation with DPNSEE. The delegation – consisting of Nebojša Đurasović, Deputy Treasurer and DPNSEE Board member, Milutin Milošević, DPNSEE Executive director and Sofia Galinaki, Diogenis Advocacy Officer – visited local authorities, institutions and NGOs working in the field of drugs based in the capital Zagreb and the cities of Split and Rijeka.

With Nena from the NGO Help

The visit was part of the efforts for the enlargement of the Network as an essential prerequisite for making it a strong and reliable partner. The main aims of the visit were to: (a) present DPNSEE to the Croatian society, (b) build strong relationships, enhance contacts and improve drug policy dialogue with the relevant authorities, state institutions, policy makers and NGOs, (c) explore opportunities for partnerships and collaboration and (d) discuss possible applications of local civil society organizations for membership in DPNSEE. More specifically, the delegation came in contact, discussed and exchange important information and experiences with: representatives from the Office for Combating Drugs Abuse of the Republic of Croatia,  Mr. Ranko Ostojić  – recent vice Prime minister and Minister of Interior, currently Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Domestic Policy and National Security,  representatives from the NGOs ‘LET’ – based in Zagreb, ‘HELP’ – based in Split, ‘TERRA’, ‘VIDA’, and ‘OASA’ – based in Rijeka and representatives from the Educational Institute for Public Health of the Split – Dalmatia county.

Ilinka and Dejan hosted us in Terra

The most important observation the delegation gained was that the governmental institutions operate in a very effective way, using an interdisciplinary approach. There is a well-organized and structured system in place, which covers the entire range of needs related to drug use. The system is decentralised, so that each of the 21 counties (županije) has its own tasks and responsibilities. Further on, local authorities and institutions take their own part and that is usually very well coordinated at county level. Moreover, the strong and ongoing cooperation between the competent state agencies and local Civil Society organizations significantly contributes in the overall implementation of the Croatian drug policy in a consistent way.

More detailed information regarding the: programme and preparation of the visit, structure of the Croatian drug policy system, important projects implemented within the 10-year Croatian Drug Strategy (2007-2017), harm reduction field, drug law reform, role of civil society in the implementation of drug policy, areas of improvement and the potential of future cooperation can be found in the full report available on request from the DPNSEE Office.

A warm welcome in NGO Vida