Thanks to support of the Office for Combating Drugs, the workshop was held in the Palace of Serbia. 16 representatives came from governmental institutions and civil society organisations. Trainers were Irena Molnar and Stefan Pejić from ReGeneration.
The workshop highlighted the unique reasons, risks, and effects of drug use among women, emphasizing the need for tailored approaches and non-punitive measures. The topics that were discussed at the workshop included:
Drug use. HIV and violence – the specificities of risk in women
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 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.
On 26 May, our member organisation Re Generacija organized the Closing Event of the project “LEt’s Talk about drugs – new MEthods of communication with youth” (LET ME) at the Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade.
The event was attended by representatives of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of ministries, civil society organizations, young people directly affected by drug education and policies and high school teachers.
The aim of the project was to support youth workers, educators (peer educators), street workers, harm reduction specialists working directly with youth who can potentially start using drugs or already use them with the innovative approaches and methods on drug education. The main target group of the project were youth workers, youth educators, peer educators and outreach workers who will be able to influence the young people who use drugs, directly within the outputs of the project.
According to the data of the research in which 124 young people participated in Serbia, they most often have a lecture on drugs at school (85.8%) in the form of a one-time formal lecture (83%), which was mostly focused on the effects and risks of use (89.36%) as well as drug treatment (43.62%). As many as 78% of the respondents who participated in this research believe that drug education should be conducted by specialised drug counselors, psychologists, youth workers, peer consultants and health experts. Respondents assessed the acquired formal education on drugs as unsatisfactory. They stated that they mostly turn to the Internet, friends and the media in search of information.
During the final event, the activities and results of the project, research results, as well as the Manual on “How to communicate with young people about drugs” were presented. The guide is divided into three modules, and is a comprehensive resource for all who work with young people. The first module is dedicated to basic concepts and policies towards drugs, harm reduction and prevention; while the second contains information on peer work, theoretical frameworks but also program planning as well as skills that educators need to develop. The third module is fully dedicated to the ways in which young people could be informed about the risks of drug use through the production of short and interesting video content and offered the necessary information in an easier and more understandable way.
The manuals in English and in the languages of the partner organizations can be found on the project website.
In addition to these project results, the film “Teach Me“, made during the project, was presented. Young people participated in preparing the film.
Our member organisation Re Generation hosted today the Round table on the occasion of the #BezbedanParty (SafeParty) project.
During the Round Table, the results of four months of this project were presented. Within the event, proposals for the amendments of local and national Action Plans were presented in order to increase the safety of young people in nightlife, created by the joint work of NGOs Re Generation and experts, based on data obtained through community research.
Every day we encounter various situations in the night life, in which young people who go out to nightclubs and attend festivals can potentially be exposed to dangers related to the use of psychoactive substances (drugs and alcohol), but also other health, social and legal risks. This is partly because the public is not familiar with harm reduction programs, and an honest and fact-based conversation about drugs remains taboo.
That is why the goal of this project was to initiate a dialogue on risk issues in the night life, and encourage and introduce the community to harm reduction programs in Belgrade, and educate those who work and those who work to survive clubbing more safely.
Activities of the project included:
Training for peer educators intended for young people who go out to nightclubs and visit festivals, but also to DJs, owners, managers, promoters and other figures in the clubbing industry. Upon completion of the training, participants will be introduced to harm reduction programs when consuming psychoactive substances.
Promotion of educational materials related to harm reduction programs, safer nightlife practices, as well as the distribution of party packs
Discussion with the competent authorities in order to amend the relevant National Strategies and Action Plans
The #SafeParty campaign, which will not only invite the target group to action, but will also be able to contribute, keep up to date with events, changes and news, but also to get involved in the advocacy action itself.
The #BezbedanParty project was implemented as part of the “Explore – Empower” public advocacy support program funded by the UK Government and implemented by the Trag Foundation. The implementation of this project was strategically supported by the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
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.
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.
In scope of the project Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South Eastern Europe, Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue, in co-operation with the Drug policy Network in SEE (DPNSEE) and the Office for Combating Drugs of Serbia, organised a meeting between representatives from the countries in the region of South East Europe and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The meeting was held on 10 May in Belgrade, at the representative governmental building Klub poslanika.
The aim of the meeting was to bring together representatives responsible for the coordination of drug policy in the countries of South East Europe and representatives from NGOs working in the field of drugs to discuss about the cooperation between authorities and NGOs at the national level. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange information and experiences of good practices and to reflect on possibilities of future cooperation on the national and regional level. Exchange of information, experiences and good practices leads to ideas of setting up co-operation structures, which can be profitable for both national authorities and NGOs.
At the first part of the meeting, participants discussed the current situation of cooperation, existing models and conditions that need to be fulfilled for good cooperation. The second part of the programme focused on areas of cooperation between National Authorities and NGOs in the field of drugs related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the recommendations of the UNGASS 2016.
The meeting showed that the relation between governmental and civil society sectors in the area of drug policy is improving. Ideas produced can bring better cooperation for a mutual benefit and, first of all, for the benefit of key affected populations and the societies as whole.