The need for an organized system for drug policy in Montenegro

Within the framework of the project ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment), funded by the European Union through the European Commission, NGO Juventas organised the round table „Young people who use drugs in Montenegro“ on 12 November 2018 in Podgorica. The hosts emphasised that there is no systematic commitment in solving the problem of dependence on psychoactive substances in Montenegro and that clarifying the government responsibility is very important. Improving support programs, developing preventive work, in order to help young people who use drugs, must be in coordination with many institutions.

The speakers at the round table were: Marija Milić, Coordinator of the Programme of direct assistance for people who use drugs, NVO Juventas, Milutin Milošević, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe, Ivana Vujović, Executive Director of NGO Juventas, Nebojša Kavarić, Director of the Health Centre in Podgorica, Dr Ljiljana Golubović, the Public Health Institute representative and psychologist, Dijana Milošević, representative of the Institution for Resocialization and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts Kakaricka gora.

The representatives of local communities from Nikšić, Podgorica, Budva, Bijelo polje, Tivat and Kolašin also took part in the discussion.

It was pointed out that cooperation with official institutions is at an unsatisfactory level. Also, the discussion conclude that there is no systematic plan for dependence on psychoactive substances problem.

The Executive Director of DPNSEE Milutin Milošević gave introductory presentation about models and standards of prevention of psychoactive substances use in Europe and presented concrete examples of drug policy approaches in Croatia, Spain, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and Turkey.

ARYSE project also includes the partner organizations: ARSIS (Albania), Association Margina (Bosnia Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), Labirint (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia) and Foundation SHL (Germany).
At-Risk Youth Social Emprovement open table

Early Warning System on new psychoactive substances

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) organised a seminar for representatives of partner institutions and agencies on 27 and 28 October in order to establish operational Early Warning System on new psychoactive substances.

The aim of this seminar was to introduce European rules and standards for early warning on new psychoactive substances, as well as the establishment of this system in the Republic of Serbia. This is one of the obligations requested for in the EU accession process.

The representatives from CSOs were invited to participate in the part of the agenda concerning “Possibilities for development of regional network of early warning systems”. Among issues discussed was a research on benefits of developing mechanisms of local early warning systems, responsibilities of the participants in the system, coordination of regional early warning systems and communication with the National Early Warning System, cooperation and protocols on exchange of information, requests for training, and more.

In the fruitful discussion at the meeting, DPNSEE Staff alongside with NGO Re Generation expressed clear and direct concerns regarding early warning system due to a lack of nightlife outreach and harm reduction programs in recreational setting. Drug testing was once more mentioned, in the context of the legal framework, with suggestion for signing the protocol that will allow CSOs to collect certain amount of NPS for further research and testing.

Since NGOs are listed as the one of the crucial partners in the early warning system, because of their outreach activities and closer connection to the users groups, in the close communication with the Cécile Martel, Coordinator external partners and Ilze Jekabsone, Capacity development officer of the Reitox and international cooperation (RTX) unit EMCDDA, DPNSEE Stuff was asked to collect data available from their Member Organisations.

Data collected will be sent to EMCDDA representatives and presented at the EMCDDA, Extended Reitox network meeting in Lisbon, in November 2016. The topic of the meeting will be “Drugs and recreational settings / open air music festivals”.