Is every seventh young person in Serbia involved in drug trafficking?

Our Executive Director Milutin Milošević was guest at the morning programme of the K1 TV together with Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia Milan Pekić and psychologist Ms Vesna Tomić.

The trigger for the talk was result of a survey presented recently which shows that 17,7% of secondary school pupils use drugs while 14,1% of them is involved in drug trafficking.

The guests estimated that the target of the survey were sport fans, which are deeply involved in drug trafficking, and that resulted in so high number. Still they agreed that situation is not good.

Milutin presented official data collected by the Institute for Public Heath using the ESPAD methodology which are significantly lower. He also emphasised the need for multi-stakeholder, systematic, long-term approach to the issue of drugs.

The recording of the talk is available in Serbian.

On the spot check meeting

Today we held the On the spot check meeting with our colleagues from the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. The aim of the meeting was to get the feedback on the narrative and financial interim of the report of the No risk, no borders for young people in South East Europe project.

These meetings focus mainly on the financial part of the project implementation, with the purpose of grant monitoring as well as mentoring on how to submit a sound financial report within the framework of the grant contract, with the financial support of RYCO and co-financed by the European Commission.

The colleagues from RYCO and external expert proved that the reports are done in an appropriate way and gave us some useful comments for minor corrections.

COVID Technical Assistance Directory

Known as C19RM, the COVID-19 Response Mechanism supports countries to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on programs to fight HIV, TB and malaria, and initiates urgent improvements in health and community systems.

All countries, including regional/multi-country recipients, that are currently receiving funding from the Global Fund, are eligible to receive C19RM funding.

More about the COVID-19 Response Mechanism is available following this link>>>.

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), being the host of the EECA Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), has collected information concerning the availability of HIV, TB and COVID-related technical support (TS) for non-governmental (NGOs) an community-based (CBOs) organizations in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

Information presented in this document was provided, and confirmed, by the organizations included and collected between February and April 2021.

To read this technical assistance directory, follow this link>>>.


Third program check in meeting

The DPNSEE Staff and RYCO Local Branch Office Belgrade had a regular update on the implementation of the “No risk, no borders for young people” on 13 July 2021.

We informed our RYCO colleagues on the Follow up activities after the Workshop 1 where young people from the region have the opportunity to travel and experience work in drop-in centres abroad. We also presented preparations for the Workshop 2 scheduled for 26 – 29 August in Velipojë, Albania.

Finally, we discussed the Curriculum that will be the outcome of the No Risk, No Borders project and potential future projects and programs in the area of youth risky behaviour.

Monitoring Report 2020 Executive Summary

A civil society-led monitoring of harm reduction can play an essential role in improving service delivery and contribute to the generation of crucial data for advocacy purposes. Civil society organisations (CSO’s) work directly for, and with, people who use drugs (PWUD) and have a good understanding of their daily needs. Their inside knowledge is critical in developing adequate drug policies and practices.

To complement the work of other monitoring agencies, and to bring insight into how the implementation of harm reduction occurs, Correlation -European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN) has published a report on Civil Society Monitoring of Harm Reduction in Europe since 2019. It gathers data on the experiences of harm reduction service providers and service users at ground level, building on a network of national Focal Points (FPs) in Europe. For the 2020 monitoring, C-EHRN includes 35 FPs in 34 countries, as shown in the map below. To get insight at the implementation level, and to profit from the experiences and expertise of FPs, the 2020 monitoring focuses mostly on cities rather than countries.

To read the Executive Summary, available also in several languages, follow this link>>>.


DPNSEE invited to Civil Society Forum on Drugs

The Drug Policy Network Youth East Europe was today formally informed that we have been selected as a member of the European Commission Expert Group – Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) 2021-2023.

In February, the European Commission had opened the Call for applications for members of its expert group to completely renew membership for 2021-2023 mandate. We have applied as the network that gathers civil society organisations from all 11 countries of this region of Europe.

The Forum membership comprises 45 civil society organisations coming from across Europe and representing a variety of fields of drug policy, and a variety of stances within those fields.  Its purpose is to provide a broad platform for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the European civil society which supports drug policy formulation and implementation through practical advice.

We fell that this is a great acknowledgement of the work we did in the last 5 years and a promising opportunity to represent the region in this important EU body.


Cannabis Quick Tests and synthetic cannabinoids

Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network has published a factsheet on “Cannabis Quick Tests and synthetic cannabinoids“.

This factsheet aims to provide information to reduce the risk of unintentionally consuming synthetic cannabinoids by users of illegal cannabis containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) where they are unable to take advantage of drug checking services; if available, so-called Cannabidiol (CBD) Quick Tests can be used. Since the beginning of 2020, legal CBD cannabis has increasingly been mixed with synthetic cannabinoids and sold as illegal THC cannabis in Switzerland.

You can read the factsheet, available also in French and Italian, as well as many other factsheets Correlation produced, following this link>>>.


Survey on diagnostics for self-testing in Europe

The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) has launched a survey to map out the pricing and availability of self-test kits for HIV and HCV in the WHO European region.

The aim of this survey is to address the lack of knowledge/awareness of the current pricing and availability of self-test kits for HIV and HCV in the WHO European region. In addition, data collected through this survey will be reported on and disseminated to community members in the autumn of 2021.

The results will also be used to inform key informant interviews in the autumn 2021 to further investigate regulatory, policy context and practical challenges and solutions from a community perspective.

EATG is a patient-led NGO that advocates for the rights and interests of people living with or affected by HIV/ AIDS and related co-infections within the WHO Europe region.

The survey data collection will close on 10 September 2021.

The survey is available following this link>>>.

Arbitrary detention and drug policies

A virtual parallel event to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council took place on Friday 2 July, 13:30 CET, under the title: ‘Strengthening the role of the UN human rights system in drug policies: The case of arbitrary detention’.

The aim of this event was to present the important new study on arbitrary detention and drug policies by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and to discuss its implementation, as well as how to strengthen the role of the UN human rights system in drug policies

The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 42/22, requested “the Working Group to prepare, as suggested by the Working Group in its report submitted to the Human Rights Council at its thirtieth session, in close consultation with Member States, civil society, relevant international and regional organizations, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, particularly the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in full respect of the mandates of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and of the Working Group, and with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a study on arbitrary detention relating to drug policies to ensure that upholding the prohibition thereon is included as part of an effective criminal justice response to drug-related crimes, in accordance with international law, and that such a response also encompasses legal guarantees and due process safeguards, in accordance with the recommendation on this issue contained in the outcome document adopted by the General Assembly on 19 April 2016 at its special session, and to submit a report thereon to the Council at its forty-seventh session, and to bring the report to the attention of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as the policymaking body of the United Nations with prime responsibility for drug-control matters“.

Following a public call for input, submissions were received by 15 June 2020 and are available in the Study.

In it, the Working Group examines how drug policies may result in human rights violations relating to arbitrary detention and makes recommendations. It draws on the Working Group’s own jurisprudence, positions taken by other human rights mechanisms and United Nations entities and contributions submitted by States and other stakeholders.

To read the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Study on arbitrary detention relating to drug policies, follow this link>>>.


Second European Symposium on Drug consumption Rooms

Drug consumption rooms – special facilities that provide safe and hygienic environments for supervised drug use, protecting users from risk – are a useful element in increasing public health and safety and promoting safer drug use patterns, an expert symposium heard today.

Organised by the Council of Europe’s anti-drug Pompidou Group as part of its 50th anniversary programme and bringing together around 300 participants from 15 European countries, the symposium assessed existing support for drug consumption rooms with a view to developing similar risk-reduction mechanisms throughout Europe.

In his opening speech Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge stressed how the system put human rights at the core of drug policy. “These rooms put people first. But reaching and helping highly marginalized groups also depends upon experience and the myriad of complicating factors that exist on the ground,” he said.

Mr Berge also stressed that “The concept of human rights rests on the idea that every individual matters equally, that those rights are inalienable, and that there exists an obligation to uphold them. It seems to me that supervised drug-consumption rooms are designed to put that theory into practice”.

The Symposium gathered experts, European authorities, ministers from France and Ireland, national drug coordinators, mayors of dozens of cities which presented positive results of the DCRs they host (Brussels, Copenhagen, Strasbourg, Paris, Lille, Marseille, Liege, Lyon, Nantes, Montpellier…) and representatives from the community and civil society organisations from around Europe.

Speaking as the Project Manager at Positive Voice at the Workshop on opportunities and challenges of opening a DCR from the community and professionals’ perspective, the DPNSEE Board member Marios Atzemis said that “Every overdose death is a policy failure. Every overdose death is preventable. ” He also shared that “There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel in #Greece through the collaboration between the community of people who use drugs and Greek Government”.

At the closing of the Symposium, the participants discuss creating a European support network for Drug Consumption Rooms that would extend good practices and sustain the achieved results.