Project coordination meeting

Partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project held a coordination meeting with the representative of the UNODC Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe which supports the project. It was an opportunity to present information of the activities implemented since the start of the project in mid-December and additionally clarify some issues related to reporting.

Meeting with the UN agencies

DPNSEE and partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countriesproject in Serbia held an online meeting with the representatives of he UN agencies in the country. The aim of the meeting was to present the project and to ensure that it is connected with the work of the agencies.

We expect that the support of the UN system will contribute to establishing good relations and eliminate potential challenges in implementation of the project.

A project for refugee key populations from Ukraine

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe and its member organisations from Serbia (Prevent, Timočki omladinski centar, Duga, Re Generacija) and Montenegro (Juventas, Cazas) implement the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project with the support from the UNODC Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe.

Primary objectives of the project are:

  • Ensuring the continuity of the HIV prevention, treatment and care (including OAT and ARV) services for people who use drugs/living with HIV
  • Community-based care and support for people who use drugs, people living with HIV, people in prisons
  • Provision of essential requirements, including food and medicines and shelters, in coordination with the penitentiary service/local CSOs

Our organisations will implement the following activities:

  • Provide access to information about health services and drugs and ensure clear, reliable and trustworthy health information reaches refugees
  • Support in accessing health care in host country
  • Rapid provision/purchasing of basic products for existing key populations/refugee shelters/centers
  • Provision of HIV harm reduction services for key populations (including refugees)
  • HIV and harm reduction services for people who use drugs, including new psychoactive substances
  • 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
  • Increased awareness and understanding regarding comprehensive gender-sensitive HIV services for women who use drugs (WUD) among health care managers, service providers and decision-makers

This project will be conducted in UNODC partnership with the local CSOs and aims to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to address HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs (including those who use NPS/stimulants) internally displaced populations, refugees and prison populations.

Project findings will inform the development and implementation of evidence-based, gender-responsive and sustainable HIV and harm reduction services for people who used drugs/people in and released from prisons, and IDPs/refugees in Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro.

How to respond to drug-related problems among migrants, refugees and applicants for international protection in Europe

Migration has had an increasing impact on European policymaking over the past decade, in the wake of what has been called the ‘refugee migration peak’. In addition to an influx of refugees, European countries have experienced relatively new intra-European migration flows, while health and social disparities persist among populations with longer-established migration patterns.

This publication “Responding to drug-related problems among migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities in Europe”, produced by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), presents the available prevalence studies of illicit substance use among migrants and ethnic minorities and discusses their limitations, as well as looking at prevalence and risk factors for substance use among refugees.

Two subsections focus on specific issues among non-refugee third-country nationals and Roma. Section 2 of this paper summarises risk and protective factor mechanisms in an ecosocial framework, while sections 3 and 4 are the core of this paper, and focus on social responses targeting migrant and ethnic populations in prevention, treatment and harm reduction, as well as highlighting broader responses which support these interventions. Finally, sections 5 and 6 conclude the report with a discussion of major challenges in addressing drug-related problems among these populations and examine some possible implications for policy and practice.

You can download this document following this link>>>.

 

Support to Ukrainian refugees in Romania

The wave of refugees fleeing Ukraine after the start of the war came also to neighbouring Romania. So far, 500.000 of them entered Romania – most of them transiting to other destinations, while 50.000 stayed in the country.

Our member organisation ARAS from Romania immediately got organised to provide them help and continues to be with those who were forced to leave their families, homes and friends because of the war in Ukraine!

The ARAS apartment became a house, for a week, for 4 people: three women and a 9-year-old girl, followed another 4 ariving later. Company MODELiER provides a hot meal to the refugees accommodated by ARAS.

The ARAS team facilitated access to ARV treatment in Bucharest for a woman living with HIV from Ukraine. This was possible due to a joint effort of ARAS and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balş”, which responded promptly to the request, so that treatment is not interrupted. It was the first situation of this kind; ARAS are sure, unfortunately, that it is not the last. In 2020, according to UNAIDS estimates, 250.000 people were living with HIV in Ukraine.

In order to continue offering these services, ARAS invited for donations. The information about this is available on the ARAS website (https://arasnet.ro/donatie-paypal/) or directly in the bank accounts available at the image below with the mention UKRAINE.

Socio-political developments and drug policy in SEE

The annual drug policy Regional Conference in South East Europe, “Socio-political developments and drug policy in SEE” was organised from 7 to 9 June 2017 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The conference is part of the regional project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South East Europe”, supported financially by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundations. The organiser was Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue.

The conference aimed to bring together civil society organisations, policy makers, researchers and lawyers working on the drug issue in the region of South East Europe, but also people active in the field related to cultural change and young people. The meeting was organized in order to discuss drug policy developments and trends, exchange experiences and best practices in the region, Europe and the United Nations.

This year, topics covered recent emerging situations, reflecting the most important areas at the moment, including:

  • Refugees, migrants and Drugs, the policy of the competent authorities and the involvement of NGOs. How do the competent authorities address the issue? Which are problematic aspects and how NGOs can contribute to a fair and effective policy? Harm reduction services and Refugees and migrants in countries of South East Europe.
  • Youth culture, festivals, drug use and harm reduction in South East Europe: Policy implications for authorities, the festival and party organisers and harm reduction services. Difficulties and legal barriers to implementing harm reduction services. Suggestions for measures to prevent unintended risks. Policy aspects of Youth and festivals and Health protection.
  • The evaluation of the Political Declaration 2009 – 2019 and its relation to the UNGASS outcome document. Main issues of discussion and the contribution of NGOs.
  • The Follow up of the Harm reduction project in South East Europe. Latest data analysis from the research. Cost-effectiveness analysis of harm reduction services. Approaching local authorities and increase their engagement in the area of HR, including funding opportunities. Budget advocacy and monitoring for harm reduction. Accreditation of the services provided by the civil society organisations.
  • Information about Current topics of importance – the regional project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South Eastern Europe”, DPNSEE developments, activities of importance for drug policy in the region of SEE.

The general conclusion from the conference is that a new definition of harm reduction is needed to reflect the current situation and change in drug use, including type and the patterns of drug use.

Other conclusions were proposed on specific issues such as drug checking as potential integrated harm reduction measure in nightlife, which needs to be supported and systematically implemented from the side of the all stakeholders (as the Slovenian case showed its success), designing and implementing specific harm reduction services for immigrants and refugees, etc.