Reducing the problems of the dependency

The annual Press Conference “Activities on the field of reducing the problems of the dependency” was held on 20 December 2018 in the EU info Centre in Belgrade. Speakers at the Conference were Nebojša Đurasović, President of the Association Prevent, Milan Pekić, Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Milutin Milošević, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe. Representatives of the institutions and organisations with whom Prevent and DPNSEE cooperate participated in the Conference.

Nebojša Đurasović presented activities which Association Prevent conducted in scope of the project “At Risk Youth Social Empowerment” and other projects realised in 2018. For a good work, Prevent deserved the award “Responsible attitude and work with vulnerable young people” offered by the city of Novi Sad. Đurasović also spoke about extending the programme of needle exchange to Belgrade and draw attention to the issues of drugs in Serbia including raising number of overdose deaths in young population.

Milan Pekić presented the co-operation between the Office for Combating Drugs and civil society organisations in Serbia as an example of good practice, especially in the process of designing the new Action Plan for implementation of the Strategy for drug prevention.

Milutin Milošević presented a situation in the region of South East Europe, activities in 2018 and plans of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe for the future. His comments on new psychoactive substances and change of culture of drug use raised a special attention.

Representatives of institutions and organisations that co-operate with Prevent and Drug Policy Network SEE were attended the Conference and took discussion on several topics, especially about discrimination.

The open discussion that followed was mainly focused on the issue of discrimination of drug users.

Two news publications were presented at the Conference: Prevent published the one on “Empowering against the discrimination of youth at risk“, while DPNSEE prepared the Serbian version of their Glossary of terms used in drug policy with the support of the Office for combating drugs.

Videos from the Conference are available in following this link >>>

Strong “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign in Macedonia

In the period from June 22 to July 07, as part of the “Support Don’t Punish” campaign, Healthy Options Project Skopje – HOPS has implemented activities in Macedonia.

Along with the Sustainability Platform for HIV Awareness Programs, on 22 June 2017, HOPS held a press conference for the need of providing financial resources and continuation of HIV prevention and harm reduction programs in the Republic of Macedonia. Dr. Arben Tarawari, new Minister of Health, also attended to the press conference and stated that the Ministry will support the programs.

The press conference with Dr. Arben Tarawari, Minister of Health

On June 16th 2017, a public call for the best journalistic article was published on the topic: „Sustainability and the need of harm reduction programs in the Republic of Macedonia”. Up to the deadline, 6 articles of journalism (5 texts and 1 video) were reported to the call. The articles evaluation committee has selected the two best articles, followed by a 300$ prize for the first place, and 200$ for second place. The winners are publicly announced on the HOPS website.

Logo of the campaign

With „Save Lives“ logo, an online petition was published to support harm reduction and HIV prevention programs in Republic of Macedonia. So far, 659 persons have signed the on-line petition. Additionally, on June 27th 2017, a stand for collecting signatures for support a petition was set on the city square in Skopje. In total, 980 signatures are collected. The petition will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

Greek organisations united around the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign

For one more year, the global campaign “Support.Don’t Punish” has been successfully implemented in Greece. In 2017, 6 different civil society organizations – that constitute the Greek NGO Platform for Psychoactive Substances, an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances – joined forces and cooperated in order to effectively spread the message of the campaign, sensitize the public, raise awareness regarding the harms being caused by the criminalization of people who use drugs and promote the need for human rights and public health oriented drug policy and drug law reform.

The organizations that supported the implementation of the campaign were:

  • CENTRE FOR LIFE” for the support of people living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
  • DIOGENIS”- Drug Policy Dialogue [IDPC partner member & DPNSEE partner member]
  • PeNUPS”- Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances
  • POSITIVE VOICE”- Association of People living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
  • PROMETHEUS” – Hellenic Liver Patient Association [DPNSEE member]
  • PRAKSIS” [IDPC network member]

For the achievement of the aforementioned goals, two main activities were implemented:

  1. A press interview (June 27th, 12.00-14.00h, at Romantso, 3-5 Anaksagora Street, Omonia, Athens)
  2. A street event (June 27th, 19.00h at SIN Athina, Athens)

Furthermore, before the 27th of June, representatives of these organizations took the initiative to spread the message of the campaign during several official events, that were organized by state authorities by asking officials, journalists, scientists, decision-makers and other high-ranking representatives of governmental organizations to take a photograph with the logo of “Support.Don’t Punish” (e.g. Mrs. Teta Papoutsopoulou-Diamantopoulou, the National Drug Coordinator; Mr. Evaggelos Kavetzopoulos, President of the Hellenic Organization against Drugs- OKANA; Mr. Nikolaos Manios, Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Social Affairs; Μr. Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, MP and former Minister of Justice).

The press interview given by representatives of PeNUPS

The press interview was given by representatives of PeNUPS (Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances), Mr. Christos Anastasiou and Mr. John Kissas, promoting in that way peer involvement which is one of the basic principles of Harm Reduction.

The remaining organizations actively supported the needs for the preparation and successful implementation of this activity. It was the first time that people coming from the community of PWUD had the floor in a press interview, which attracted 30 participants and was coordinated by the journalist Mrs. Ioanna Sotirchou.

During the afternoon of the 27th of June, a street event also took place in the center of Athens. The goals of this activity were to make the campaign more visible, celebrate the message of “Support.Don’tPunish”, provide informational material and offer some services both to the general population and vulnerable groups (including PWUD) in the area.


The street event in the center of Athens

Volunteers from the coordinating organizations actively contributed in the implementation. T-shirts, bags, stickers with the logo of “Support. Don’t Punish” and flyers with the basic principles of Harm Reduction were distributed. In addition, NGO Praksis offered free, anonymous and voluntary rapid testing for HIV, HBV and HCV with its mobile unit. Moreover, of outmost importance was the contribution of the initiative “STEPS” that helped in the preparation of food and beverages and offered music. This event gathered and united around a hundred people.

For the needs of campaign’s promotion a facebook page was created under the title: Support.Don’t Punish -Greece- where you can have access to more detailed information, videos and photographs. Facebook advert was used attract more people to the page, resulted in 300 likes within a week.

2 facebook events were also created for the promotion of the two activities:

Group photo from the street event

Press conference to presentation and promotion of the activities of the project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human right oriented drug policy in South East Europe“

The Members of DPNSEE will have a press conference in EU info center in Belgrade, on Thursday 1st September, regarding presentation and promotion of the activities of the project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human right oriented drug policy in South East Europe”.
The speakers on the conference will be Mr Thanasis Apostolou president of DPNSEE, Mr Nebojša Djurasović director on Prevent organisation, member of the DPNSEE and executive director of the DPNSEE  Mr Milutin Milošević.
More detailed agenda on the conference you can find in the link below