Chem-Sex and the City

On the occasion of the Global Day of Action of the “Support.” Don’t Punish” campaign and within the Pride Month, NGO Re Generation with the support of the Belgrade Pride Info Centre, in cooperation with the regional ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association, organized the premiere of the movie: “Chem-Sex and the city“. This short documentary was produced with the support of the Right Reporter Foundation and firstly presented at the Harm Reduction International 2019 conference in Portugal this April.

The movie is part of the activities Re Generation has related to public advocacy for awareness raising about problems related to psychoactive substances. The event marked the launch of an open dialogue about chemsex which will include mapping the needs to design appropriate services.

After the movie, Stefan Pejić from NGO Re Generation spoke on “ChemSex and what stands behind this phenomenon”, Zoran Milosavljević, independent researcher on “ChemSex in Serbia – Strategic (in) visibility of practice and its implications” and Amarillo Fecanji from ERA on “Regional perspectives and initial steps in mapping respond to the appearance of ChemSex”.

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.

The Support. Don’t Punish campaign launched in South East Europe

For the launch of the Global Day of Action, DPNSEE organised a “Kick-off event” to start the campaign in South East Europe. The event was held in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, Kralja Milana 7, on 19 June 2019.

Besides journalists, representatives of colleague civil society organisations, UN agencies, Office for combating drugs and political parties were present.

Representatives of the Network presented the key findings from baseline research on “Documenting Drug Related Cases of Discrimination”. This small scale research aims on raising awareness on existing discrimination in different areas of everyday life, map the situation and make a base for the further advocacy actions in decreasing stigma and discrimination towards people who use drugs.

DPNSEE also presented the proposal for decriminalisation of drug use and possession made to the Working group on changes to the Criminal Law in Serbia. The proposal was submitted to the Working Group for amendments to the Criminal Law but unfortunately was not supported.

DPNSEE member organisation Prevent presented results of the regional project “Budget Advocacy Monitoring in South East Europe” in Serbia. That included analysis of the national budgets for 4 last years with a specific focus on health and harm reduction, execution of the budget and excises, and the Declaration for sustainable national response to HIV.

Re Generation presented the results of their research “How the closing of the needle exchange programs affected the access to harm reduction services in two cities – Belgrade and Budapest“.

Finally, DPNSEE representatives presented the activities in the region in scope of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign.

To find out what is planned in your city or country, follow this link>>>

To see more about the campaign worldwide, follow this link>>>

Training for a safe night environment

DPNSEE member organizations Re Generation and Udruga Terra joined in two days training activity, held in Rijeka, Croatia on 11 and 12 April 2019. The training “New psychoactive substances and outreach for a safe night environment” was held by Irena Molnar i Bojan Arsenijević from Serbian NGO Re Generation.

The purpose of the training was raising the capacity of young people and work with their peers in order to have a safer night environment. Re Generacija’s Training of peer educators for volunteering in nightlife setting and on festivals includes following topics:

  • Drugs – tradition – illness or crime
  • Harm Reduction Programs. Nightlife outreach and peer education (may include good examples of practice around the globe)
  • Prevention of the final negative outcome (overdose) and basic First AID for nightlife setting
  • New psychoactive substances (may include different examples of drug checking services)

Young activists of the Association Terra team, employees and volunteers, engaged in harm reduction program, visited the clubs of youth gathering in Rijeka with Re Generation representatives, evaluated the information and reports from training in practice.

How have closing of services affected drug users?

DPNSEE member organisation Re Generacija implemented the survey “Access to services of ex-users of the needle and syringe programme closed in Belgrade and Budapest” with the support of the Rights Reporter Foundation. Aim of the survey, implemented in 2018, was to analyse the consequences of closing the services and the effects that it has on risks and daily life of injecting drug users. Objectives included to reach out to the service users and learning about their current use of substances, mapping their access to services, sterile injecting equipment and analysing their perception of the closure of services and most important currently missing service. The conference was also an opportunity to discuss the current situation with recently established outreach programmes, as well as opioid substitution therapy and early warning system for new psychoactive substances.

The results of the survey were presented today at the conference organised together with the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Republic of Serbia. The conference was held in the Palace of Serbia, with participants coming from both governmental and civil society sectors.

Two major groups of users were approached by the survey: drug users which were using the services for a long time and Roma people. A typical drug user both in Belgrade and Budapest is male, in mid-forties, with low education and income. In Budapest, users mainly use new psychoactive substances (synthetic cathinones), while in Belgrade they mainly use opioids (heroine). One of the main conclusion from the survey is that closing the services caused even more difficulties to reach out to drug users who are usually very suspicious.

To get more information and results of the survey, please contact Re Generacija following this link>>>>.

Consultations in the Office for Combating Drugs

The Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia held a meeting with civil society organisations on 25 February 2019. Besides 11 organisations which signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Office in 2018 (including DPNSEE and 3 of its member organisations), 4 new organisations which established formal cooperation with the Office also joined the meeting.

Most of the meeting was dedicated to the proposals for amendments to the Criminal Law related to drug-related offenses. DPNSEE sent a formal proposal to the Ministry of Justice, the Working group for changes of the Criminal Law it created, The Office for Combating Drugs and the Office for support to the civil society organisations proposing decriminalisation of drug use and possession for personal use and protection of civil society organisations providing services to drug users. The proposal is available in Serbian following this link>>>.

The proposal was appraised as a very good, clear, concise and evidence based, but concerns were expressed that it may not be supported due to current situation in the country and increased conservatism in relation to the drug use. The participants emphasized the need to establish a system of accreditation of civil society organisations services. It should include all elements of their work, from prevention, harm reduction, treatment to social services and rehabilitation.

The Office will, through their representative, present civil society proposals to the Working group for changes of the Criminal Law.

The participation of civil society organisations representatives in the Working group to prepare the new Action plan for implementing the National Drug Strategy was appraised as a very good example of partnership. The Office will propose full involvement of the civil society in designing the new Strategy.

The participants at the meeting also got acquainted with the current activities of the Office on Drugs Policy, exchanged experiences on the previous cooperation defined in the Memorandum and made suggestions for improving it.

ReGeneration’s activities in the Support. Don’t Punish campaign

On Tuesday, 26th July 2018, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the NGO ReGeneration, in cooperation with the Belgrade night club Drugstore, organized an event as part of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign. The event, starting at 8 PM, was held in the Drugstore night club in Belgrade; the stand was placed in the lobby, next to the door leading to the main area, and opposite it, in front of the coat check, was displayed new informative material on the most common psychoactive substances and acute health issues the consumption there of could result in. A large poster of the campaign, in front of which visitors could, if they so wished, be photographed by members of ReGeneration’s with the Support. Don’t Punish logo as an act of support, was also placed in the lobby. Also, those who wished to could complete a short questionnaire regarding the usage of (new) psychoactive substances prepared by our team.

The visitors could then enter the main club area, where our guest Marko Milosavljević was the DJ support. To the backdrop of Marko’s music, the rest of the event passed in informal socialization and discussion. In casual conversation, the guests and visitors from various countries and of various educational profiles – anthropologists, healthcare professionals, psychologists, artist, etc. – touched upon many issues regarding the consumption of PAS and NPAS among the youth not just in Serbia and the region but globally as well, such as legislature, public policy, harm reduction strategies and public and media discourse on (N)PAS consumption. ReGeneration is determined to continue the tradition of organizing different events on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the goal of raising awareness and informing the general public.

Support Don’t Punish objectives were also promoted on the Pride Parade in Belgrade, by the Re Generation and YODA members. As Pride Parade had the topic of HIV prevention, we though it is important to support members of other vulnerable populations in fight against discrimination and stigmatization of all of us.

Before and after the event NGO Re Generation representatives were also present in media presented the goals of the Support Don’t Punish Global campaign to general public in addition to campaign that was recent initiated, as an answer to death of three young persons, related to the use of psychoactive substances, that inspired Re Generation to even more and bit aggressive advocate for the harm reduction programs in the recreational settings. #DAZNAMŠTARADIM is the campaign aiming to support and push for the implementation of nightlife outreach programs as a necessity.

Links to media coverage:
Re Genration blog: https://regeneracija.blogspot.com/2018/06/daznamstaradim.html?m=1
TV N1 Morning show: http://rs.n1info.com/Comment/StandardComment/789181/Vesti/Gosce- N1-Kultura-u-Srbiji-danas-podrzava-koriscenje-droga.html
TV Prva: http://www.prva.rs/web-tv/info/exploziv/41632/exploziv—25062018.html

Long list of activities in the Support. Don’t Punish campaign in South East Europe

On the occasion of the 26 June, The United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Global Day of Action of the Support. Don’t Punish Campaign is organised in more than 150 cities in the world. The Drug Policy Network South East Europe this year again coordinates activities of the campaign in South East Europe, where 10 of our member organizations are pushing actions in 9 countries and 11 cities.

To the launch the campaign, DPNSEE will organise “Kick-off event” in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, Kralja Milana 7, on 21 June 2018 at 12:00. Representatives of the Network will present the current situation in the countries of South East Europe. To contribute to the campaign, DPNSEE will also present the baseline research on “Documenting Drug Related Cases of Discrimination”, an activity within the project “Strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations in South-East Europe and promote drug policy based on respect for human rights and public health”. Our guests will be Danilo Ćurčić from the A11 – Initiative for economic and social rights and Dr Hajrija Mujović, Vice -chair of the Association of Lawyers for Medical and Health Law of Serbia – SUPRAM.

Representatives of the Network will as well present the activities of the Network members in the countries of the region.

In Albania, on the 26th of June, Aksion Plus will organize awareness activities in two cities, Tirana and Durres. The activities will include sharing leaflets and information especially toyoung people. In their Opioid Substitution Therapy centres, they will organize small group discussions, outreach information, leaflets distribution, one to one conversations and counselling to raise their awareness on how to better protect their rights, as well as to provide referrals to other institutions in case they face violations from police, courts and law enforcement agencies. During campaign clients will be strongly encouraged and supported to fight for their rights and report to the organisation or to the People’s Advocate when they face violence or stigma, and messages of the campaign will be also communicated to the Government officials.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, organization Margina will organize events in city of Tuzla. That will include promotional activities, starting the campaign on 11th of June by screening documentary film “I want to wake up” with aim to point out the problem of education of young people and reducing stigma and discrimination against drug users. Other activities planned are Public Debate and Press Conference “CANTONAL INSTITUTION FOR DISEASES” – Why do we not have it? as introductory event to the entire day of action on 26th of June, that will also be presented through street action in city of Tuzla. In this event, following documents will be presented: Bosnia and Herzegovina National Drug Strategy 2018 – 2023, Policy to reduce drug use damage in the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina, Decisions of the Government and the Tuzla Canton Assembly on the establishment of the “Institute for Addiction of the Tuzla Canton”. The Association Margina is dedicating this day, as well as other days of the year, to people who have adopted this “lifestyle” with the aim of bringing the wider community closer to the addicted population and so additionally contribute to the reduction of stigma and discrimination.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action:  https://www.facebook.com/events/407051669794756/

In Bulgaria, organization Initiative for Health Foundation will write and promote article, telling the story about the campaign worldwide and its implementation in Bulgaria in the last years. The article will be written by a professional journalist and popularized mostly in NGO platforms and other online channels. The organization will also develop a frame for a Facebook profile image and dissemination on social media consecutive counting of dissemination

To activate your facebook frame in the Bulgarian language go HERE

In Croatia, Organisation Terra will organise the Forum theatre performance on the problems of a former addict who is hindering discrimination due to his past. The play will be organised on the 26th of June, to mark the International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The theatre will be played in the city of Rijeka, Croatia.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2087957514813170/

 

In Greece, in Athens, the action will be implemented by the NGOs Platform for Psychoactive Substances. This platform is an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances, currently consisting of the following organizations: Centre for Life, Diogenis, Peers Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances, Positive Voice, Praksis, Prometheus and Steps. This year the Greek NGO Platform for psychoactive substances will undertake the organization and implementation of the campaign in Greece.

They are organising an event on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 7 pm, at the Athens Municipal Cellular Market (42, Fokionos Negris str) as an open dialogue regarding: current public health and drug policies applied in addressing the issue of psychoactive substances, the way users are being treated by the state and society, the issue of combating crime that accompanies drug use by law enforcement, and finally the removal of unjustified social stereotypes at the expense of PWUD, the
importance for the provision of substantial support, as well as the need for equal, meaningful and substantial participation of users community in procedures totally concerning them.
The event will be followed by participation of Mrs. Katerina Konidari, psychologist, social researcher, and writer, who will talk about the representation of addiction treatment on art; Mr. Michalis Lolis, Police Lieutenant of the A’ (First) Police Department for Combating Racist Violence, who will communicate his experience on human rights’ issues and the protection of people with different identities and Mr. Yannis Kissas, representative of the Peer Network of Users  psychoactive Substances, who will specifically refer to the Network’s proposals for supportive policies rather than the punishment of drug users. The discussion will be co-chaired and coordinated by Mr. Christos Anastasiou, member of the Peer Network of Users Psychoactive Substances.

You can find the full press release in English HERE  or on Greek HERE

To get involved:

Like their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/supportdontpunishGreece/

Join their facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/179003616107047/

Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/support.dont.punish_greece_/

In Macedonia, organisation HOPS will to focus on recreational drug use, harm reduction and human rights. The central event will be organized in Skopje, as a public debate/panel on the health and legal aspects of recreational drug use and harm reduction. Activists, experts, decisions and opinion makers will take part in the debate, which will also be streamed online. In addition, IEC materials will be produced containing information on practices for reducing harms from recreational drug use, as well as personal rights. The 3 different leaflets will be promoted during the public debate and will be later distributed during the field activities at music events. All activities will be supported by a social media campaign aimed to inform a wider audience on harm reduction practices and raise public awareness about human rights.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/1632706273514505/

 

In Montenegro, organisations Juventas and Link will organize several activities such as Street movie projection nights, on the 26th of June and screen a documentary by Drugreporter that would be premiered during the campaign. The documentary is following the work of our two NGOs, talking about the implementation of the Harm Reduction Program in Montenegro, most of all covering the story of the work and struggles of the Drop in centres for people who use drug and sex workers and our outreach work. Documentary is also talking about the challenges that NGO Juventas and NGO Link face in daily work with clients and in the partnering institutions. In addition to this documentary, other documentary films of the NGO’s that are conducting Harm Reduction program in the region are planned to be screened, as well as some cult films that correspond to the topic.

During the campaign the project team will set up an information stand at one of the University of Montenegro’s Faculty in order to influence on young people, share with them message of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign, as well as information about the harm reduction program itself and the services provided by NGOs Juventas and Link. NGOs will distribute information to media and ensure national media coverage.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/251897252232425/

 

In Romania, this year Romanian Harm Reduction Network alongside with other two member organisations of DPNSEE,  ARAS and ALIAT will organize a series of activities to mark the Global Day of Action and participate in the campaign. They vary from online consultations with people who use drugs on changes to be made to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, using iterative-designed videos online to presents law 143/2000 and others laws on drugs in Europe. They will also organize a consultation meeting with representatives of NGOs providing services (prevention, harm reduction, treatment) for people who use drugs on the changes to be made to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, organize a “lawkathon” (working session) with lawyers from LGBT, human rights, Roma, education, feminist and/or housing NGOs to formulate the amendments to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, according to the proposals made by people who use drugs and NGOs providing services during the consultations, organize a round-table/meeting with representatives from various ministries on the proposal to amend the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use. Last but not least there will be organized flashmob/short event at the Parliament building to raise awareness on the proposal to amend the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use.

In addition to the activities listed above, they are planning on connecting a series of other events financed through private sources to raise awareness on stigma associated with substance use and addiction, under the same harm reduction / Support. Don’t Punish umbrella.

The facebook event to join the action is: https://www.facebook.com/events/179830952686479/

 

In Serbia, NGO Prevent will implement action Support. Don’t Punish for the fourth time in Novi Sad. Campaign will start on 20th June when the media were informed about the action. Prevent will spread information through social networks and during campaign reach over 30 thousand people in this way. Prevent also announced the competition for the best short video on the topic Support. Don’t. Punish which will be the official promo video of their Association for participation in a global campaign marking International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 26th of June.

To follow up their camapaign and street action find more information on their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/preventns/

 

NGO Re Generation, together with Drugstore Belgrade, announcing the Global Day of action within the campaign Support. Don’t Punish, are organizing an event that will start the cooperation of this club and this organization in order to create safer nightlife, which is the first of this kind in Serbia. After recent events in Europe that have been linked to drug policy and nightlife, NGO Re Generation and Drugstore decided to launch higher-level cooperation within the framework of the Global Day of Action, in order to influence the change of awareness and the change in drug policies in general. Joining the campaign, Re Generation and Drugstore want to express sincere concern and start the program, present the activities within the cooperation with which they start their own struggle for safer, better quality and better night environment that we are all part of!

Join their event and support the healthy nightlife settings:  https://www.facebook.com/events/278127766064145/

 

Youth of SEE on YODA Workshops 2018

Within Youth Organisations for Drug Action in Europe, the network of European organisations that have a specific scope of activities devoted to young people at risk, youth representatives from DPNSEE member organisations Aksion Plus, HOPS, Juventas and Re Generation spent two weeks  in Eastern Europe, cities of Warsaw and Kiev, on a study visit within the capacity building workshops. On this set of workshops, YODA network members from 8 European countries participated, those that work on the ground offering harm reduction and health services to those who need it, often the most marginalised and stigmatised youth in our societies.

The study visit consisted of different classroom workshops, including the variety of site visits, all covering topics such as cross-substance use, LGBT health, drug checking, problematic use and harm reduction related to young people.

Džoli Ulićević from our member organisation Juventas said for the YODA blog that the opportunity to attend YODA training in Warsaw was very valuable to him, especially in the terms of getting insight into the practical part of work of PREKURSOR Drop in Centre and Foundation for Social Education mobile unit (Warsaw Mobile Units, video).  He said also that the exchange of experience and knowledge with more experienced activists in harm reduction programs improved his skills in harm reduction and provided him with many ideas which can be implemented in Montenegro regarding harm reduction for young people using drugs, specially within some vulnerable groups, such as young LGBTIQ people, sex workers or people who are members of ethnic minorities.

The site visits in Warsaw included also ES-SIN after party project and discussion on harm reduction in young people using drugs problematically), FES mobile HIV/AIDS/HEP C/STI testing point.

In Kiev the group visited Club Eney, self-help group and drop-in centre, LGBT community, testing centre and Convictus centre.

 

Vladana Stepanović, former DPNSEE volunteer and Re Generation member, said that in addition to organisations group visited in Ukraine, we heard that there more organizations which are in some way dealing with the issues related to drug use and support to drug users. That shows serious understanding of the problems regarding public health and human rights situation.

“What we have seen and learned there we should advocate to our countries, more specifically Western Balkans and Serbia, emphasizing that even Ukraine, in the complicated political situation, can find way to support harm reduction services as one of the key answers to prevention of Hep C and HIV. At the same time, in Serbia and specifically Belgrade with approx. 10.000 injecting drug users, we don’t have any organization offering any kind of harm reduction services.”

The third session of the workshops will start on 11 May 2018 in Podgorica, Montenegro, hosted by our member organisation Juventas. Over three days, the workshop will tackle homeless youth and focus more on organizational and ethical aspects of working with young homeless people and protection of human and social rights of young homeless people who use drugs.

Civil and public sector partnership in the area of drugs

The Office for combating drugs of the Government of Serbia signed on 10 January 2018 Memorandum of Understanding with 11 civil society organisations from Serbia, confirming the importance of civil society organizations and the need for their active involvement in the implementation of drug policy and promoting a new concept of cooperation between state bodies and civil society organizations. Civil society organizations now have the opportunity to join together with state authorities in establishing a broad social platform needed for creating an effective, global standards based and comprehensive drug policy.

The Memorandum was designed in partnership with the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of Government of Serbia and civil society organisations. Organisations were invited to apply through a public call.

Drug Policy Network South East Europe was one of 11 organisations with whom the Memorandum of Understanding was signed: Nova Plus, Izlazak, Re Generation, Prevent, Duga, Timočki omladinski centar, Jazas Pozarevac, as well as from Novi Sad, Kokoro and Zemlja živih.

The Acting director of the Office for combating drugs of the Government of Serbia Milan Pekić underlined that civil society organisations are significantly contributing to implementation of the Strategy for combating drugs. He also stressed that CSOs have direct access to people using drugs. They have an important role in implementing plans and organising activities, from prevention to treatment and harm reduction.

Civil society representatives emphasized that cooperation with the Office for combating drugs is a huge step forward, significant recognition of their work and an opportunity for working together.