By youth for youth

The safety of young people in the nightlife, a topic of extreme importance for most young people, is often neglected. NGO Re Generacija, which has been putting this topic in the focus of its projects and programs aimed at a systemic approach to this topic for many years, invites to the event to promote the report on the results of the research and the Handbook for participation in public policies for organizations working with youth involved in nightlife and marginalized youth.

The event will be held on 25 January 2024 at the premises of the Office of Combating drugs, Palata Srbija, starting at 10:00. The event is organized with project partners Terra from Croatia and HOPS from North Macedonia and with the support of DPNSEE.

More about the event is available (in Serbian) following this link>>>.

 

A very successful regional campaign

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE) coordinated the „Eliminate Violence Against Women Who Use Drugs – EVAWUD“ campaign in South East Europe, together with its 25 member organisations from 11 countries of the region. The campaign lasted from 25 November and lasted until 10 December 2023.

The campaign started in early November with informing the member organisations and inviting them to participate. The press release, originally prepared by the Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) and adjusted by DPNSEE, was translated into local languages of the region and distributes to media and institutions >>>. DPNSEE also prepared and distributed a document with key facts related to women and drug use.

From more than 30 social networks accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) of partners in the region, 70+ posts, stories and photos were shared. They reached arounf half a million users who interacted seeing reacting, commenting and reposting. Most of these posts were at the DPNSEE Instagram account.

DPNSEE organised a meeting dedicated to eliminating violence against women who use drugs on Friday 8 December 2023 in the Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, with the support from the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia. It was the opportunty to share thoughts and experiences in working on this important issue.

Participants came from several intitutions, including ministries on human and minority rights and social dialogue and health, the Institute for Public Health and UNODC representatives for South East Europe, and civil society organisations.

The meeting was very well covered by the media in Serbia (N1 >>>, Beta >>>, Danas >>>, Radio 021 >>>, NasloviNet >>>).

Other media from the region also reported about the issue of women who use drugs: Vijesti (MNE) >>>, TRN (RNM) >>>, Telma (RNM) >>> , SMK (RNM) >>>, CIN (MNE) >>>, IMA (RNM) >>>.

Thanks to media and social networks, we estimate that we reached out to more than half a million people. We regret that we didn’t have funds to pay te adverts at the social networks. With them, we should have had 10 times wider reach.

Eliminate Violence Against Women Who Use Drugs

The Drug Policy Network Southe East Europe organised a meeting dedicated to eliminating violence against women who use drugs on Friday 8 December 2023 in the Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, with the support from the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia. It was the opportunty to share thoughts and experiences in working on this important issue.

Participants came from several intitutions, including ministries on human and minority rights and social dialogue and health, the Institute for Public Health and UNODC representatives for South East Europe, and civil society organisations.

Ivana Joksimović, the Assistant Minister for human rights and social dialogue spoke about human rights of marginalised and discriminated communities. Milutin Milošević, the DPNSEE Executive Director presented the EVAWUD campaign to eliminate violence against women and gender diverse people who use drugs and presented some results from recent surveys published by DPNSEE.

Irena Molnar from ReGeneration shared about their program on improving the competencies of employees in social protection through examples of activities aimed at working with women who have survived violence and are drug users and young people at risk. Nebojša Djurasović from Prevent, the DPNSEE President, presented their experiences in working with the shelter for sex workers in Novi Sad.

The discussion showed a shared determination to continue fostering and protecting human rights of women and gender diverse people who use drugs in Serbia.

Harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally

The Alliance for Public Health organises webinar “Introducing harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally in EECA and the Balkans”, with the support from ReGeneration and DPNSEE.

Recreational drug use is on the rise, but at the same time young people who engage in it are not properly targeted by harm reduction services and don’t receive the necessary support, information and commodities they need to prevent them from turning to problematic use and all the relevant consequences.

On this webinar international experience on planning and implementing harm reduction programs specifically for this target population will be shared. Also, the draft guide that on this topic will be presented.

The Agenda includes topics:

  • Introducing the key principles and the justification behind the need to advocate for, develop and offer HR services for people who use recreationally.
  • Promoting Safety, Health, and Well-being: The need for Systematic implementation of Harm Reduction Strategies in Southeastern European Festivals.
  • Ukrainian experience on harm reduction services for people who use drugs recreationally.
  • #SafeParty – good practice example of multi-sectoral approach in nightlife harm reduction and recreation settings.
  • Q&A and Discussion.

This webinar will be useful for program managers, advocates, policy makers and communities from across the region to help them inform their decisions and actions.

The webinar will be held via Zoom platform on Tuesday 25 July, from 11:00 to 12:30 CET. Translations will be available in English, Russian, BHCS and Albanian.

Please register to participate following this link>>>.

 

EU – Western Balkans Expert Meeting on Drugs

The EU-Western Balkans Expert Meeting on Drugs was held on 25 May 2023 in Brussels, within the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The aim of the meeting was to exchange information on the state of drug policies in the Western Balkans, discuss current trends and contemporary challenges in this area, as well as areas that need and can be improved when it comes to cooperation between EU and Western Balkan institutions in this field.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the state authorities responsible for the creation, monitoring and implementation of drug policies in the Western Balkans, as well as representatives of EU member states, and representatives of the Council of the EU, the European Commission, the EMCDDA and EUROPOL.

The representative of the delegation of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Jože Hren, in his presentation referred to the importance of civil society organizations and civil sector initiatives in the area of drug policy creation in the Western Balkans region. In his presentation, Mr. Hren highlighted the work of DPNSEE with special reference to the Regional round table: Community-led consultati ve process on the importance of human rights and evidence-based national drug strategies in HIV response.

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs of the European Union (CSFD), an expert group at the European Commission consisting of 45 civil society organizations from all over Europe, representing a variety of fields of drug policy, and a variety of stances within those fields, prepared the document with information, views and recommendations of civil society. Several civil society organizations from the region participated in its preparation. DPNSEE, as a CSFD member organization, coordinated the collection of their contributions.

A chapter on drugs in the PrEUgovor Alarm Report

The Coalition prEUgovor, consisting of seven civil society organizations from Serbia with expertise in various policies under chapters 23 and 24 of the European Union accession negotiations, held a conference on 22 May 2023 to celebrate 10 years of their work. Mission of the prEUgovor is to oversee the implementation of policies in the field of judiciary and fundamental rights (Chapter 23) and Justice, freedom and security (Chapter 24) and propose measures to improve the reforms, using the process of EU integration to achieve substantial progress in the further democratization of Serbia.

PrEUgovor published their jubilee 20th Alarm Report. For the first time, it includes section on drugs. This chapter was prepared by DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević.

To Alarm Report is available in English following this link>>> and in Serbian following this link>>>.

EU – Western Balkans Dialogue on Drugs

The Dialogue between the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans on drugs will be held on 25 May 2023 in Brussels. The European side is coordinated by the Swedish Presidency of the European Union. Representatives of the national drug agencies of the EU countries who cooperate within the Horizontal Drug Group (HDG), the body of the Council of the European Union responsible for leading and managing the work of the Council and the European Union on policy, will participate. The embassies of the countries of the Western Balkans to the European Union are invited to the Dialogue.

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs of the European Union (CSFD), an expert group at the European Commission consisting of 45 civil society organizations from all over Europe, representing a variety of fields of drug policy, and a variety of stances within those fields, prepared the document with information, views and recommendations of civil society. Several civil society organizations from the region participated in its preparation. DPNSEE, as a CSFD member organization, coordinated the collection of their contributions. The document has been sent to the Swedish EU Presidency and will be distributed to HDG members and embassies.

The CSFD document is available following this link>>>.

We hope that it will have an impact and contribute to better and coordinated partnerships and support to the region.

Information materials for refugees printed and ready for dissemination

The information of relevance about health services and drugs for the refugees from Ukraine and displaced persons from Russia which DPNSEE prepred have been printed and are now ready for dissemination.

All important stakeholders participated in commenting on the draft and provided information from their field of work: ministries of health and interior, commissariat for refugees, institute for public health, office for combating drugs, UNHCR and a civil society organisations working with refugees. This was very important because it would have ensured that the information was accepted and later distributed by all.

Two clear, reliable, and trustworthy information documents are prepared:

  • General information for refugees and displaced persons in the Republic of Serbia, including information about Refugees in the Republic of Serbia, Temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia, and Where else to get more information and support?
  • Information for people living with HIV and populations at increased risk of HIV, including General information about the health care of refugees and displaced persons, Information for people living with HIV, Information for people who use drugs, Information for people from the LGBTI+ population, Information for sex workers, Groceries, other daily necessities and other available services and contacts of the civil society organizations in Serbia that provide support

The documents are published in four languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian and English.

In addition to the information, published already on the DPNSEE website at the following address http://dpnsee.org/informacije/, we prepared a small posted with the QR code that easily leads those interested to this web page.

The Ministry of Interior took responsibility for sharing them with border police stations and their offices dealing with asylum-seeking and registration of foreigners. The Commissariat for Refugees distributes the documents to their officers and refugee centres throughout the country. The Office for Combating Drugs will distribute the information to four cilnics for addictions and their network of multi-sectorial teams in local communities, and they also shared the documents at events where they had information stands. With the support of the Institute for Public Health, DPNSEE sent the documents to their 25 local branches around the country. Our colleagues from the four organisations providing services took the document to share among those who requested support. Documents were also shared with other civil society organisations that work with refugees.

 

Visit to the Duga Checkpoint centre

Representatives of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Ms Fariba Soltani, Chief, HIV/AIDS Section and Global Coordinator for HIV/AIDS, Ms. Gorica Popović, Specialist, Law Enforcement and HIV and Ms Žana Glavendekić, the Regional Project Officer for Drug Demand Reduction visited the Duga Checkpoint centre in Belgrade and met with community-led organizations working on HIV and harm reduction services for key populations.

It was an opportunity to share about services which Prevent, TOC, Duga and ReGeneration provide and to discuss operational issues related to implementation of the UNODC-led project “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries”.

A dialogue on national drug strategies

Following the previous South East Europe government – civil society dialogues on drugs, held in 2018 and 2020, the Drug Policy Network South East Europe organised a very successful Regional round table focused on community-led consultative process on the importance of human rights and evidence-based national drug strategies in HIV response.

The Round table was held in scope of the UNODC-led project for implementation of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries.” The primary objectives of the project are to ensure the continuity of the HIV prevention, treatment and care (including OAT and ARV) services for people who use drugs/live with HIV, especially community-based care and support for people who use drugs, people living with HIV and other key populations.

The aim of the event was mobilising civil society, service providers, policymakers and other national stakeholders from the Western Balkan region to ensure wide and all-involving drug strategy development process, with the focus on evidence and human rights-based drug strategies which prioritise health-related needs and resources.

The Regional round table was held on 21 February 2023 in Belgrade. The Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia supported the event ensuring that it is held in the Palace of Serbia.

A record 58 participants came from across of the region, including civil society, service providers, policymakers and other national stakeholders. Representatives of UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), European Drug Agency (EMCDDA) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria joined.

The agenda of the event included presentations of the UNODC project and work around key populations at the global level, the ongoing refugee situation in Serbia and Montenegro, as well as national responses to humanitarian refugee crisis and changing drug situation in countries of the region. In addition, the Round table offered a platform for discussion on with the focus on identifying needs of different stakeholders, especially key affected populations, analysing the national HIV/harm reduction response, key challenges and priorities, the role of the civil society, funding, monitoring, evaluation and impacts assessment.

Presentations from the Regional round table are available following this link>>>.

Bellow is the recording of the Regional round table.