Czech drug policy model preserved

A week ago, we posted a news with an urgent call to support the Open letter to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic to preserve its successful drug policy model, as our colleagues from the Czech Republic informed the international community that the Prime Minister is intending to move the Secretariat of the Council for Drug Coordination and its monitoring centre from the Office of the Government to the Ministry of Health.

DPNSEE was among 407 signatures to support the Open letter. And it worked!!!

As a result of expert pressure, the Czech government decided to desist from the intended move which we all feared would threaten the interdisciplinary model of Czech drug policy and endanger the funding of harm reduction and social services.

The support from international as well as domestic experts and professionals has been overwhelming and, apparently, has (once again) helped to preserve the Czech drug policy model.

For more details, please see a press release of the Czech government announcing that they desist from the move. The English translation is below:

4. 7. 2019 16:43

Regarding the fact that according to the Competence Act, the Office of Government should perform tasks related to the expert, organisational and technical aspects of the work done by the Government of the Czech Republic and its bodies, it has been considered that as a part of making the Office of Government more effective, the Secretariat of the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination would be moved under the Ministry of Health with the prime minister continuing to preside the Council.

This wasn’t an isolated step. During the last year, the Governmental Council for Coordination of the Fight Against Corruption was moved under the Ministry of Justice and the agenda of social inclusion will move under the Ministry of Regional Development. In line with this, moving the drug agenda was being considered.

Due to the expert opinion that the move could diminish the importance of the drug agenda and that the discussion about moving was still undergoing, the Office of Government has decided to desist from this step. Secretariat of the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination, currently lead by the National Drug Coordinator, will stay under the Office of Government.

Join an open letter to the Czech Prime Minister to preserve its drug policy

Our colleagues from the Czech Republic informed the international community that the Prime Minister is intending to move the Secretariat of the Council for Drug Coordination and its monitoring centre from the Office of the Government to the Ministry of Health.

As explained in the Open letter to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic to preserve its successful drug policy model, this would have a negative effect on the interdisciplinary nature of drug policy in the Czech Republic and lead to restricted funding for social and harm reduction programmes in the future.

We have had a good communication with the Czech Secretariat and its National Monitoring Centre and learned a lot from their successful drug policy model. For this reason, DPNSEE supported the petition.

If you want to read and supported the petition follow this link>>>

Facebook: Allow For Life-saving Harm Reduction “Instructions for Non-Medical Drugs”

Facebook banned harm reduction information, in an effort to mitigate drug profiteering hurting educators and self-help communities. Banned are “instructions for use of non-medical drugs” and talk about “use of non-medical drugs unless posted in a recovery context”, which constitute the foundation of a pragmatic life-saving approach called harm reduction, designed for people who have not reached recovery but want to improve their safety already.

Polish-based network of research groups at universities Społeczna Inicjatywa Narkopolityki (Social Drug Policy Initiative – SIN), which brings together young people, students and academic staff of universities, who want to change the functioning in Poland and the world drug policy based on prohibition, launched a petition inviting Facebook to restore the removed content and secure valuable harm reduction profiles from the mercy of algorithms by changing the Community Standards and ensuring harm reduction will never be censored again. Their Facebook page is one of those banned.

DPNSEE and several our member organisations and partners have signed the petition which you can find here>>>>

At the moment when we posted this news, 936 have signed the petition. We hope it is already over 1.000!

Petition of the Greek NGO PLATFORM for psychoactive substances

The member-organizations of the NGO PLATFORM for psychoactive substances filed a petition that was followed by a related memorandum to the Greek Minister of Health, Mr. A. Xantho requesting for a robust, fair, substantial, accredited and legally established participation of the civil society, including members of the community of people who used drugs, in the process of planning, implementing and evaluating the national drug policy. Despite the multitude of relevant European and international recommendations, that practice is not always deemed obvious or essential.

The Platform requests to participate in the work-process of national drug policy-making within the national planning and coordinating commission with one regular member and one alternate. They believe that their long-standing experience, the high level of our expertise and comprehensive engagement in the fields of drug policy and psychoactive substances justify such a decision.

The petition is available following this link>>>
The original Greek version is available following this link>>>

A petition for supporting Harm Reduction Programs and HIV prevention in Republic of Macedonia

Further survival of harm reduction programs and HIV prevention in the Republic of Macedonia is uncertain. The current financial support from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ends in June 2017. This will result with leaving over 10,000 people who use drugs as well as their family members without proper social and health care.

Thanks to harm reduction programs, only two new HIV cases have been recorded in Macedonia in the last ten years as a result of drugs injecting and less than 5% of 315 registered cases of HIV were people who inject drugs. These figures are far smaller than in the neighbouring countries. Macedonia can boast with the lowest HIV rate in Southeast Europe, but if these programs are not implemented, there is a risk of HIV epidemics as a result of interaction with the epidemics in neighbouring countries and the possibility of increasing risk behaviours.

There are 17 harm reduction programs in Macedonia (4 in Skopje and 13 in different other cities). These programs are efficient and financially worthwhile. According to the research analyses, the cost for one client in harm reduction programs is approximately 155 € per year. In contrast, the cost only for medicines for a patient with hepatitis C is up to 13.194 €, and the untimely and inappropriate treatment of hepatitis C causes cirrhosis and liver cancer, whose treatment costs more than 30.000 € per patient. Additionally, the costs of treating HIV and hepatitis C financially exhaust the families of people in need of treatment, thereby further multiplying undesirable costs and disrupting overall social well-being.

Therefore, a petition was initiated to request the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia to:

  • Adopt an urgent solution for using funds from the HIV program and the remaining funds from the Global Fund for key programs across the country, which will ensure continued assistance to citizens and the prevention of HIV.
  • Establish cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the civil society and other stakeholders for adoption of appropriate laws or by-laws and measures that will guarantee transparency, adequate expertise and long-term sustainability and development of HIV prevention programs.

Sign up the petition here!

Healthy Options Project Skopje produced advocacy movie in cooperation with Drugreporter to support the campaign and save underfunded harm reduction programmes which are a huge success in the region. Watch the video produced and learn more!