Our contribution to the CND Intersessional

The third round of the Thematic Discussions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was held from 19 to 21 October 2021. The meetings were held as a hybrid event with participants joining both online and in person. It included thematic sessions on the implementation of all international drug policy commitments:

  • Thematic session 1: Increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in persons, trafficking in firearms, cybercrime and money-laundering and, in some cases, terrorism, including money-laundering in connection with the financing of terrorism, are observed;
  • Thematic session 2: The value of confiscated proceeds of crime related to money-laundering arising from drug trafficking at the global level remains low(20 October 2021)
  • Thematic session 3: The criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug-related activities is increasing.

DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević was selected by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs to speak at the session as one of the civil society discussants. He highlighted the re-use of confiscated assets for social purposes and beneficial effect this practice has on strengthening community responses. He stressed the lack of transparency in the region of South East Europe.

Milutin’s intervention is available following this link>>>.

Statements of other civil society representatives at the session are available following this link>>>. A record of the discussions can be found on the CNDBlog.

First meeting of the new CSFD

The new Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) held its first meeting on 6 October2021. This was the first meeting of this important EU expert group where DPNSEE participated.

CSFD had an exchange with the representatives of DO Home and DG Sante. Discussion was mainly about lack of funding for full capacity of the Forum’s work.

CSFD agreed on the working group framework. As the results, four working groups are created

  • WG1: EU drug policy
  • WG2: International drug policy
  • WG3: National drug policy
  • WG4: Emerging drug policy issues and cross-cutting issues

Forum elected DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević as Chair of the Working group 4.

 

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.

Media coverage on cannabis regulation in Serbia

Statement of the Minister of Health Dr Zlatibor Lončar that Serbia will regulate cannabis in line with the decision of the UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs triggered a lot of attention in the country.

Our Executive Director Milutin Milošević was invited to comment speculations that legalisation of cannabis may benefit those accused in the famous case of production of marijuana in the organic food farm Jovanjica” at the Nova S TV station. The segment from their news is available (in Serbian) following this link>>>.

Milutin was then invited for a talk with Prof Dr Vladimir Kovčin at the cable channel K1 where most of the attention was given to medical benefit of marijuana and possibilities to regulate it in Serbia.

 

Cannabis – narcotic drug or/and medicine

As part of the Serbian Visions Multicongress, organised by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) from 1 to 5 February 2021, DPNSEE will hosted an online discussion “Cannabis – narcotic drug or/and medicine” on Friday 5 February.

Despite a very unfavourable time (Friday evening), 18 participants from Serbia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia joined. Most of them were from civil society organisations, but also we had those from the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia and the Institute for Public Health in Serbia.

List of speakers included:

  • Milutin Milošević, DPNSEE
  • Nebojša Đurasović, Prevent, Serbia
  • Vlatko Dekov, HOPS, North Macedonia
  • Tomaž Koren, konoplja.org, Slovenia

The discussion was led around three main topics: how to regulate cannabis, medical value of cannabis (in the light of the new decision of the UN Committee on Drugs and Narcotics) and the latest developments in the region. Participants actively contributed with their positions and questions.

Recording of the discussion is available at the Serbian Visions Youtube channel.

 

I think we did a good job

Talas – Serbia based media portal “about politics, economy and ideas” published an article about effects of the coronavirus on people who use drugs in Serbia. The article is based on information published by DPNSEE and interviews with Milutin Milošević, our Executive Director, and Irena Molnar, the Executive Director of our member organisation Re Generacija.

Milutin emphasized that the civil society organisations from the region have done a good job before and during the first period of the outbreak. The result is that we haven’t noticed any infection among users of our services.

Irena emphasized that people who are on treatment are in an additional risk because they have to travel, sometimes daily, to get the treatment or social care.

The article, in Serbia, is available here>>>

Visit to the Special Prison Hospital

Photo: Ministry of Justice of Serbia

DPNSEE Vice-President Nebojša Đurasović and Executive Director Milutin Milošević visited the Belgrade Special Prison Hospital for a meeting with the director Dr Dragoljub Paunović and Dr Olivera Matijašević.

The Special Prison Hospital houses and treats both convicts with illnesses and persons with an imposed mandatory measure of substance and alcohol abuse treatment. The hospital currently hosts 778 patients to whom a complete healthcare (except operations) and medicines are offered by 303 doctors and other staff. It is the only prison hospital supporting 28 prisons in the country.

Besides sharing about activities on both sides, we discussed opportunities for cooperation on a variety of issues including state of drug use and recovery, HIV and Hepatitis C, opioid substitution therapy, testing for blood borne diseases, support in the pre-release from prison process, training and information sharing with medical staff and prisoners, etc.

New issues for monitoring

Every year in autumn, The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) organises Reitox meeting – the European information network on drugs and drug addiction. The 8th Extended Reitox network meeting was held on 12 November in the EMCDDA premises in Lisbon, Portugal. It brought together representatives from circa 50 countries, including: the Heads of the 30 Reitox national focal points from the 28 EU Member States, Norway and Turkey; representatives from the 6 Western Balkan countries covered by the European Instrument for Pre-Accession Technical assistance project (IPA7) and representatives from 15 European Neighbouring Policy area countries.

This year’s meeting will be dedicated to the topic ‘New issues for monitoring’. The agenda included issues like Drug policy debates: how routine monitoring data used?, Introduction on new proposal of the UNODC Annual Reports Questionnaire (ARQ) and Cannabis: latest developments.

During the session on Prevention of infectious diseases, DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milošević presented Situation in the Western Balkan countries. Besides presenting the Network and briefly describing the type of data that are available to us, a detailed view on the situation in the Western Balkan countries was given including prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV among people who inject drugs, provision of harm reduction services and access to treatment, barriers and challenges and relevant policies in the region.

Participation in the Reitox meeting was an excellent opportunity to present the potential of the Network for partnership and discuss modalities for further cooperation with EMCDDA and national drug agencies