A month of Support. Don’t Punish activities in Albania

Our Albanian colleagues from the organisation Aksion Plus organised a sensitization campaign in the cities of Durres and Tirana in May and June 2019 as their contribution to the Support. Don’t Punish campaign.

On 9 May, a workshop was organized with the students of “5 October” High School. This workshop consisted in informing young people about drug use based on Aksion Plus’s many years of experience in providing services, awareness campaigns focusing on drug use as well as publishing of informative materials. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement. Additionally, a presentation by some of the school youth about their knowledge of the phenomenon of drug use was presented.

The focus of the meeting held on 16 May in the University of New York was the discussion with prospective professionals on issues that affect the reality of drug users, HIV / AIDS, giving special importance to prevention and damage reduction policies. These realities are already noticeably tangible in every part of society. Also discussed about the “Support, Don’t Punish” campaign.

This workshop in the High school “Charles Telford Erickson” held on 23 May consisted in informing students about drug use based on Aksion Plus’s many years of experience in providing services: Methadone Maintenance Therapy, Psychological Counselling, HIV Testing, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hep B, Hep C and awareness campaigns. It was presented a video. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement.

This workshop in the High school “Gramoz Palushi”, including 4 representatives of Caritas Albania, was held on 14 June. A video was presented. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement. The goal was to involve all students in an interactive way. At the end of the workshop, some space was left for their questions, comments about what was discussed, and what suggestions they had about future workshops.

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>>>

“Support. Don’t Punish“ activities organized by Association Prevent

Association Prevent held action „Support. Don’t Punish“ for the third time in Novi Sad and for the first time in Kragujevac. In Novi Sad target group were students and in Kragujevac visitors of the music festival Arsenal fest. With these two actions few thousand people were reached directly.

Campaign started on 20 June when the media were informed about the action. Prevent also spread information through social networks and during campaign reached over 30 thousand people in this way.

Campaign continued with action in Kragujevac during music festival Arsenal fest in period from 22 to 24 June. Members of Prevent were there, talked to the visitors and photographed them with the slogan of the campaign.

On 26th June action was held in front of the student’s dormitory in Novi Sad. Photo booth (photo cabin for selfies) raised special attention of the visitors. They made a lot of photographs and in the same time they supported this campaign. Location was selected because young people are the key agents of change in society and that they could understand message the best.

Beside photo boot visitors of the action had a chance to talk with Prevent members and to read about the campaign from printed material.

Photos from the activity are available HERE.

Action in Novi Sad was visited by three the biggest TV stations (Radio and television of Vojvodina – public service, Novosadian television and Chanel 9) and two journalists from newspaper (Dnevnik and Magyar Szó). Information about the action was published on 12 internet portals. Few days after the activity, Chanel 9 organized 45 minutes long TV show dedicated to this issue. Guest in this show was president of the Association Prevent, Mr. Nebojša Đurasović.

Strong “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign in Macedonia

In the period from June 22 to July 07, as part of the “Support Don’t Punish” campaign, Healthy Options Project Skopje – HOPS has implemented activities in Macedonia.

Along with the Sustainability Platform for HIV Awareness Programs, on 22 June 2017, HOPS held a press conference for the need of providing financial resources and continuation of HIV prevention and harm reduction programs in the Republic of Macedonia. Dr. Arben Tarawari, new Minister of Health, also attended to the press conference and stated that the Ministry will support the programs.

The press conference with Dr. Arben Tarawari, Minister of Health

On June 16th 2017, a public call for the best journalistic article was published on the topic: „Sustainability and the need of harm reduction programs in the Republic of Macedonia”. Up to the deadline, 6 articles of journalism (5 texts and 1 video) were reported to the call. The articles evaluation committee has selected the two best articles, followed by a 300$ prize for the first place, and 200$ for second place. The winners are publicly announced on the HOPS website.

Logo of the campaign

With „Save Lives“ logo, an online petition was published to support harm reduction and HIV prevention programs in Republic of Macedonia. So far, 659 persons have signed the on-line petition. Additionally, on June 27th 2017, a stand for collecting signatures for support a petition was set on the city square in Skopje. In total, 980 signatures are collected. The petition will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

Street event in Bucharest

The Romanian Harm Reduction Network has organized on the 26th of July 2017 a public event in the old town part of Bucharest, as part of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign. There were participants from the Anti-AIDS Romanian Association (ARAS), the Alliance to Fight Alcoholism and Addictions (ALIAT), the Parada Foundation and Totem Association, that distributed flyers and stickers with SDP logo, “The Decriminalisation saves lives!” message, with harm reduction and health centered messages for 7 hours. The Forbidden comics and condoms were distributed.

Street event in the old town part of Bucharest

Organisers posted 3 roll-ups with information on drug use, health and decriminalisation needs. The Totem association was present with their drums, inviting people to sit down, join the singing and find out about the campaign. The street children trained at Parada Foundation joined with Totem in providing a joint circus/drums show.

Geplaatst door Dragos Petru Rosca op Dinsdag 27 juni 2017

Greek organisations united around the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign

For one more year, the global campaign “Support.Don’t Punish” has been successfully implemented in Greece. In 2017, 6 different civil society organizations – that constitute the Greek NGO Platform for Psychoactive Substances, an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances – joined forces and cooperated in order to effectively spread the message of the campaign, sensitize the public, raise awareness regarding the harms being caused by the criminalization of people who use drugs and promote the need for human rights and public health oriented drug policy and drug law reform.

The organizations that supported the implementation of the campaign were:

  • CENTRE FOR LIFE” for the support of people living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
  • DIOGENIS”- Drug Policy Dialogue [IDPC partner member & DPNSEE partner member]
  • PeNUPS”- Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances
  • POSITIVE VOICE”- Association of People living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
  • PROMETHEUS” – Hellenic Liver Patient Association [DPNSEE member]
  • PRAKSIS” [IDPC network member]

For the achievement of the aforementioned goals, two main activities were implemented:

  1. A press interview (June 27th, 12.00-14.00h, at Romantso, 3-5 Anaksagora Street, Omonia, Athens)
  2. A street event (June 27th, 19.00h at SIN Athina, Athens)

Furthermore, before the 27th of June, representatives of these organizations took the initiative to spread the message of the campaign during several official events, that were organized by state authorities by asking officials, journalists, scientists, decision-makers and other high-ranking representatives of governmental organizations to take a photograph with the logo of “Support.Don’t Punish” (e.g. Mrs. Teta Papoutsopoulou-Diamantopoulou, the National Drug Coordinator; Mr. Evaggelos Kavetzopoulos, President of the Hellenic Organization against Drugs- OKANA; Mr. Nikolaos Manios, Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Social Affairs; Μr. Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, MP and former Minister of Justice).

The press interview given by representatives of PeNUPS

The press interview was given by representatives of PeNUPS (Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances), Mr. Christos Anastasiou and Mr. John Kissas, promoting in that way peer involvement which is one of the basic principles of Harm Reduction.

The remaining organizations actively supported the needs for the preparation and successful implementation of this activity. It was the first time that people coming from the community of PWUD had the floor in a press interview, which attracted 30 participants and was coordinated by the journalist Mrs. Ioanna Sotirchou.

During the afternoon of the 27th of June, a street event also took place in the center of Athens. The goals of this activity were to make the campaign more visible, celebrate the message of “Support.Don’tPunish”, provide informational material and offer some services both to the general population and vulnerable groups (including PWUD) in the area.

 

The street event in the center of Athens

Volunteers from the coordinating organizations actively contributed in the implementation. T-shirts, bags, stickers with the logo of “Support. Don’t Punish” and flyers with the basic principles of Harm Reduction were distributed. In addition, NGO Praksis offered free, anonymous and voluntary rapid testing for HIV, HBV and HCV with its mobile unit. Moreover, of outmost importance was the contribution of the initiative “STEPS” that helped in the preparation of food and beverages and offered music. This event gathered and united around a hundred people.

For the needs of campaign’s promotion a facebook page was created under the title: Support.Don’t Punish -Greece- where you can have access to more detailed information, videos and photographs. Facebook advert was used attract more people to the page, resulted in 300 likes within a week.

2 facebook events were also created for the promotion of the two activities:

https://www.facebook.com/events/203865003471040

https://www.facebook.com/events/321069778316468

Group photo from the street event

Margina goes on!

As in previous years, Association Margina from Bosnia Herzegovina organized several activities within the campaign “Support. Don’t Punish”, this year on two locations: Tuzla and Zenica. During this year’s campaign, their goal was to focus on young people as target population through two aspects: scientific -through public debates at two universities in Tuzla and Zenica, as well as support for contemporary music events for young people – Sound of Nature Festival.

Activities had solid media coverage and the main goal was achieved. The messages were transferred and taken very seriously. Margina’s management was invited and held two meetings with the creators and decision-makers in these two regions, as well as the extraordinary hosting of the two most visited TV companies upon campaign completion. What they are most pleased with are the 50 new volunteers of the organization, with whom the coordinator has already begun preparations for new activities.

Support. Don’t Punish publlic debate

Chronologically the activities happened in this sequence:

25 June – Support to the Sound of Nature festival – 1300 participants, 800 leaflets and 4000 condoms distributed

26 June – The press release, with all details of the campaign, goals, history and data for Bosnia and Herzegovina on drug use, human rights violations and evidence base approach in creating a public health approach to drug users and their families

27 June – Public debate at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zenica, with participation of 90 participants

30 June – A public debate at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation, University of Tuzla, where a press conference was held, followed by a debate with students with a total of 60 participants

01 July – Margina President participated in the thematic show for half an hour

Generally, Margina is satisfied with these activities, especially with participation of the young ones, under the advice and support of the senior staff of our organization. They are especially pleased to have new members joining their volunteer team, which is preparing for the new activities and new challenges set by the organization.

Support. Don’t Punish 3D graffiti

Support. Don’t Punish Kick-off event

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe announced activities in scope of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign at the Kick-off event held on 20 June in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, Serbia. This global campaign that will in 2017 be held in 178 cities in 85 countries promotes drug policies based on human rights and public health approaches. The campaign is a voice against ruinous War Against Drugs which has in 46 years brought numerous negative consequences including overdose deaths, HIV and hepatitis C infections among people who use drugs, prison over-crowding, extra-judicial killings, the use of the death penalty, and an exacerbation of stigma, marginalisation, violence and corruption.

The Network coordinates activities of the campaign in South East Europe around the Global Day of Actions 26 June – which is also the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Promotion of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign ion SEE

During the event, the Network representatives emphasized numerous problems organisations that provide services are facing and growing trends in the region and Serbia specifically. Dr Maja Vučković Krčmar, representing the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia presented the European Drug Report 2017, prepared by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions, underlining dilemmas around cannabis decriminalisation, emerging of new psychoactive substances and increased availability of cocaine. Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Republic of Serbia Milan Pekić reminded that Serbia is at the main Balkan drug route and called for coordinated work of all governmental structures and civil society organisations in preparing and implementing holistic answer to the problem.

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe presented the Glossary of terms used in drug policy and relevant related matters and the Resource Centre which will be of service to all those who need information and other kinds of support.

For more information about the activities in South East Europe, please visit http://www.dpnsee.org/support-dont-punish-see-country-activities/. Follow the development at Facebook or Twitter.

For information about the campaign worldwide, please visit http://supportdontpunish.org/2017-global-day-of-action/ or follow the Facebook event or Twitter account.

Governmental, civil society , international organisations and media in public

Support. Don’t Punish – SEE Country activities

Albania

In the frame of the 26th of June and the world campaign Support. Don’t Punish, Aksion Plus will organize awareness activities in two cities, Tirana and Durrës, distributing leaflets and sharing information especially to young people. In parallel, they launched an online blog inviting young people, their beneficiaries and partners such as Y-peer, YMCA, Youth Voice network to write “What would you do about drug user’s rights, if you were a Prime minister” related to the drug policy reforms, treatment, and other related actions.

Other activities also involve their clients at opioid substitution therapy centres (OST) where they organise 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. The most vulnerable groups among their clients (i.e. street users, sex workers who use drugs, LGBT members) are strongly encouraged and supported to fight for their rights and report to Aksion Plus or to People’s Advocate when they face violence or marked stigma. Their six OST centres will be very active to convey the message of this campaign. Aksion Plus will also try to extend the activities with decision makers and politicians though it will be difficult as the general elections will take place on 25 of June. They have presented their ideas on drug policy and interventions during the Democratic Party election campaign.

Contact: gencaxionp@albmail.com


Bosnia and Herzegovina

To mark the day of 26th of June Association Margina planned a series of activities:
1. Public debate “Addiction and drug addicts in the legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”
The public debate on this subject will be held on 26 June, in cooperation and partnership with the University of Tuzla. Professors and students of several universities (Law, Medicine, Education and Rehabilitation, Philosophy and Pharmaceutical) will participate. The goal is that academia provides guidelines on the suggestions of experts and NGOs that Bosnia and Herzegovina need Lex specialis “Law on Drugs” that would encompass all aspects of this phenomenon and its application in the society like the one in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2. Marking the global campaign “Support. Don’t Punish”
The evening of 26 of June will be dedicated to outdoor activities and promotion campaign supported by local DJs and socially engaged bands. During activities, a documentary film “I want to wake up,” will be shown, which gives a complete picture of the life of five drug users in different stages of their life.

3. Press conference and promotion of strategic documents
This event will be the introductory full-day program aimed to the media and partners that want information about these important documents and the developments regarding the Global Campaign to reach to the largest possible number of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At this event Margina will promote the following documents:
• National Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Drugs 2017-2022
• The policy for reducing harm from drug use in the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina
• EU Action Plan 2017-2020

Contact: berinabahic@gmail.com


Greece

A group of civil society organisations from Greece will participate in the campaign:
• “CENTRE FOR LIFE” – for the support of people living with HIV/AIDS
• “DIOGENIS”- Drug Policy Dialogue
• “PeNUPS”- Peers’ Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances
• “POSITIVE VOICE”- Association of People living with HIV/AIDS
• “PROMETHEUS” -Hellenic Liver Patient Association
• “PRAKSIS”

These organizations constitute the “Greek Platform for Psychoactive Substances”, an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances. This year all these organizations are supporting the campaign and are responsible for its implementation in Athens, Greece. You can find more at https://www.facebook.com/supportdontpunishGreece/

Activities in Greece will include:
1. Press conference by “PeNUPS” supported by all the aforementioned organizations on 27 June from 12:00 to 14:00 at  Romantso, 3-5 Anaksagora Street, Omonia, Athens with aim to promote the campaign, highlight the actual needs of people who use drugs by giving floor directly to people who are the most affected by problematic drug policies. The challenges in the national drug policy will also be presented and the need for drug law reform and peer involvement will be promoted as one of the basic principles of harm reduction. The discussion will be coordinated by the journalist Mrs. Sotirchou Ioanna.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/203865003471040/

2. Street event (all the aforementioned organizations) with aim to make the campaign more visible to the general population and to offer some services to people who use drugs (e.g. food, mobile washing machine service, shower bus, rapid tests for HIV/HBV, HCV) Date: to be announced Location: SIN Athina, Athens at 19.00 pm, at Varvakeios square
Facebook event:https://www.facebook.com/events/321069778316468 

Contact: sofia.galinaki@diogenis.info


Macedonia

HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje opened the newspaper articles contest on the topic: „Why harm reduction programs are needed in the Republic of Macedonia“. You can find the call for articles here http://hops.org.mk/mk/content/povik-za-izbor-na-najdobra-novinarska-statija-na-tema-odrzhlivosta-i-potrebata-na-programite.

Subsequently, organization announced on-line petition for support on harm reduction programs in the Republic of Macedonia. You can find it at following link: https://www.change.org/p/ministry-of-health-and-the-government-of-the-republic-of-macedonia-a-petition-for-supporting-harm-reduction-programs-and-hiv-prevention-in-of-macedonia

On 25 and 26 June, HOPS will collect signatures for the petition in the main square in the city of Skopje while on 30 June they plan to submit the petition to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and announce the winner article.

Contact: vlatkod@hops.org.mk


Montenegro

Our Member organization Juventas with other civil society organisations and community-based organisations, including youth organisations organises campaign in capitol Podgorica, but with national coverage on several activities. One of them is media launch of the questionnaire for young people living in Montenegro. NGO Juventas and the Montenegrin Union of high school students as a main aim of the survey will try to obtain information from young people about young people. They will be used to continue creating activities aimed at young people in Montenegro, in the area of drug use. The questionnaire is completely anonymous. Survey among Youth on drug use you is available here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Juventas

In 2017, the campaign is planned to cover 3 topics: 1) Harm Reduction, 2) Non-existing treatment for underage people who use drugs, 3) Young people and drug use.  Special attention will be given to topic of young people and drug use, which will be a part of youth debate that we will organize around Action Day.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/799566700220674/ 

Contact: tijanap@gmail.com


Serbia

Belgrade

Within the “Support. Don’t Punish” Global Day of Action NGO Re Generation is planning to organize a movie screening night that will aim to address the main obstacles and main problems regarding current drug policies in Serbia and wider. The event will be organised in Kvaka 22, on the 26 June, and the details of the event you can find on the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/312618992520893

The three movies that will be screened will represent different sides of public health and human right issues related to drug use, including three different aspects of use such as recreational, problematic and medical and obstacles that exist when accessing information, services and other relevant programs.
Movies to be screened are:

  1. “Clubbing and youth health” – Harm reduction programs in recreational setting
  2. “Medical cannabis legalisation in Serbia” – Medical cannabis is legal in places as diverse as Canada, Uruguay, Israel and Jamaica. How would legalisation of medical cannabis look in Serbia?
  3. “Without shift” – What happened to NSP programs in Serbia after the Global Fund discontinued funding in Serbia.

Participant of the debate are:
Galeb Nikačević – VICE Srbija
Bojan Arsenijević – Re Generation
Teodora Jovanović – KSEA,
Ognjen Martinović – Re Generation

Contact: ngo.re.generation@gmail.com

Novi Sad

The Association Prevent will organise street action on 26 June from 10AM to 13AM in front of „Slobodan Bajić“ student home. The public event will include wearing t-shirts with „Support. Don`t Punish“ message and photograšhing people in the street who will be holding boards with the same slogan. Free t-shirts will be given away to people who want to support the campaign.

Contact: djnebojsa84@yahoo.com


Romania

RHRN with their partners will have the street activity around 2-3 open-air tents that will be installed in the centre of Bucharest, close to the University, to distribute information, the comic book on drugs, some banners on legalization and the campaign, presentations of the NGOs activities and distribution of some drug testing kits (LSD, ecstasy).

Contact: drosca@rhrn.ro

Glossary of terms used in drug policy promoted!

DPNSEE presented today the glossary of terms related to the problem of drugs, aiming to contribute to better understanding the drug problem in more emphatic manner. Glossary is an alphabetical list of terms used in a domain of drug policy, with the definitions for those terms. It contains explanations of concepts and terms related to the field of drugs and relevant related matters.

The glossary should serve firstly to member organisations in a way that will help in process of harmonization of opinions and attitudes. This material will also serve a wider range of groups of people including policy makers, stakeholders, activists, the media, police, judiciary and others.

The Glossary is currently in English only, but we plan to produce versions in various languages of South East Europe. We are also open to work on versions in other languages. Those interested in joining us in this effort should contact the DPNSEE Staff at office(a)dpnsee.org.

The Glossary was promoted at the Kick-off event of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign held at the EU Info Centre in Belgrade.

The latest version of the Glossary (December 2018) and versions in other languages are available for download following this link.

 

Kick-off event of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign