- Category: News
On November 7th ECAD was invited by Public Policy Exchange to Brussels to comment upon the new
European Union Action Plan on drugs 2017-2020. The EU Drug Strategy 2013-2020
consists of overarching objectives concretised into two sets of action plans
from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.
ECAD Secretary General remarked that the action plan represents a solid and diverse sets of actions
with which to address drug use and addiction but it could be better balanced to
emphasize evidence based primary prevention and the ambition to fully recover
drug addicts from their addiction.
It is the experience of ECAD that there exists a genuine distrust in the ability to prevent drug use
more than at the margin, among EU policy makers. The distrust could be
summarized in the following way.
The younger generation is not receptive to an adult message of don't use drugs. Many interventions and
programs to prevent drug use have proved insufficient and/or counterproductive
and is therefore a waste of time and resources. Further, drug use has not
decreased in the EU as a whole while drug related deaths are on the rise,
partially related to the use of NPS such as fentanyl.
While there is some truth to this assessment, EU policy makers would be wise to carefully
scrutinize the European country that has consistently managed to reduce use of
substances for more than 20 years – Iceland. On Iceland, evidence based primary
prevention is revolutionizing our understanding of how drug use and other
problematic behaviour of adolescents can be prevented.
Evidence based primary prevention is not about making young people receptive to a message of non-drug
use or changing their attitudes. It is about engineering the environment in
which young people grow up to strengthen protective factors and weaken risk
factors. All should be based on consistent research and monitoring and a
dialogue between researchers, policy makers and those implementing the changes.
The Icelandic model is not magic, it is not a fancy new program or sets of
actions that will immediately change the situation but a slow and consistent
progress aimed at changing the behaviour of youth. It is also well researched
by more than 100 scientific articles.
ECAD Secretary General also expressed his views on the importance of having belief on the ability of
recovery from drug addiction in clients in need of treatment services. ECAD is
a part of a two year long EU project on recovery from drug addiction with
partners from across Europe. The key findings are that drug use are in many
cases a recoverable condition if given the right tools.
The problem some of our member cities face is how to combine and connect health and harm reduction
services with psychosocial interventions and long term support, including after
care for those in recovery. How do we enable an environment that is receptive
to the needs of the recovered users and support or maintain the recovery
process without them falling off track and relapsing?
The EU action plan has the right sets of tools in place for the promotion of recovery across union
member states. However, the action plan is geared towards risk and harm
reduction services which are easy to implement and monitor and have clear
indicators of success. Being in treatment or in a needle exchange program is
easy to assess and measure. Those recovering on the their own or with the
support of family and friends is harder to follow up on.
The Secretary General opened up for a discussion on a new set of indicators of success for people
with drug use problems that could be applicable to both risk and harm reduction
services as well as treatment services. Self-reported quality of life, payment
of tax, ability to hold a job, engagement with volunteerism etc could be
discussed as measures of success of drug addicts in treatment and recovery.
- Category: News
Triple R Project partners from Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Croatia will be sharing expertise on addiction and discussing rehabilitation, recovery, justice interventions and alternatives to incarceration. The aim of the project final stage i Croatia is fostering treatment instead of punishment and promoting social reintegration for recovered drug addicts.
The Triple R project is a 2-year long European project based on the exchange of the best practices in the field of recovery between EU member states that took place in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The Belgian Drug Courts Popov GGZ, the Italian San Patrignano and CeIS Rome, Dianova Spain, Basta and ECAD have been actively engaged in the project.
The second phase of the project Triple took place in Croatia implementing a research study on current needs of treatment services, therapeutic communities, social reinsertion programs, alternative sentencing interventions and piloting the Triple R guidelines with the involvement of Croatian partners NGO Stjiena, NGO Udruga San Patrignano and NGO Institute Pula and local stakeholders.
- Category: News
These early November days ECAD Secretary General attends the city of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, one of the most active ECAD cities in the Balkans.
Annual Award ceremonies in memory of Giovanni Falcone and Veronica Guerin were founded by the Municipality of Blagoevgrad with the assistance of the Italian Embassy in Bulgaria and a personal support of Professor Maria Falcone and The Giovanni and Francesca Falcone Foundation, Palermo.
The main goal of this celebration is to support the efforts of magistrates and police officers, and also journalists, who risk their lives to serve and protect our society and bring their profession to a higher level, to shed light on, reduce and eradicate the criminal activities, which are prolific on a global scale.
The AWARD Ceremony 2017 was held on November 1st, in memory of Giovanni Falcone - Cowards die every day, the brave – only once! - which honours magistrates and police officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect the citizens.
The 11th AWARD Ceremony of the contest IN MEMORY OF VERONICA GUERIN - Heart and speech against drugs, 2017 is held today, November 2, and ECAD is about to receive this award.
Here is the speech of ECAD Secretary General made at the Award Ceremony in Blagoevgrad (PDF)
The awards will be presented by the Ambassador of Ireland His Excellency Michael Forbes and Dr. Atanas Kambitov, Mayor of Municipality of Blagoevgrad.
- Category: News
Our group of 20 persons participated in the high level political Forum organized by the Community guests. This is also an opportunity for parents, schools and those affected by addiction to set the question on national and international agenda, involving foreign speakers and acting politicians, this time - Valeria Fedeli, Italian Minister of Education, University and Research, Gabriele Toccafondi, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, University Professors, School rectors, Italian movements of parents and international speakers, e.g. Julie Schauer, founder to Parents Opposed to Pot.
High-level political discussion was vital for ECAD group for accumulating international experience of dealing with addiction recovery, on local and national levels, as a parent and as a key figure in a local community. The topic of the Forum this year was Educating by leaving a positive sign, when teachers and parents together brought up the issue of addiction among the teenagers.
A dramatic change at shools was introduced at place with the involvement of the Minister of Education, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on prevention education at schools, thereby the educational system strives to make students aware of the implications of the substance use. For the first time in Italy, the need of support to schools provided by the national government was put in print in this document, placing prevention issue in the first place, said Valeria Fedeli, Italian Minister of Education.
Italian society is under a process of altering its attitude to the link between schools and families, updating its stance on gender issues in the cultural context, where girls are more vulnerable, having lower self-esteem and a tendency to use new drugs (synthetic cathinones, Ketamine, etc.). Mrs Roberta Potente from the Department of Epidemiology at the Italian CNR, informed that 40% of 15-19 year olds have tried gambling, allowed from the age of 18 onwards. Annual studies among school students were introduced and in 6 shools a pilot project informing on pathological gambling is running.
Every year the Community of San Patrignano gathers around 15 000 people, who become a part of the WeFree project. Apart from the High level forum, ECAD group spent two days visiting workshops, prefessional and training facilities, theatrical shows and had a private session with questions and answers to the Community guests and recovery specialists. The focus of this dialogue was on overcoming drug addiction in various cultural contexts, sharing experiences and becoming role models for the young people.
ECAD is grateful to SanPatrignano for exceptional hospitality, trust and a lot of insights in the topic, we are looking forward to visit the Community next year!
- Category: News
Picture: @ courtesy of San Patrignano Community
"WeFree Days" concept is a set of drug use prevention initiatives, focused on the "peer to peer" education. It also involves the members of the SanPatrignano community, who conceived and implemented the event and will represent the annual opening of the activity.
October 10th and 11th are the two days dedicated to the examination of issues in relation to drug addiction and common problems among the youth. The goal is to stimulate a constructive dialogue that proposes an alternative to dealing superficially with the contemporary drug issues.
A group of representatives for Swedish, Bulgarian and Maltese cities, as well as other international NGOs will join the ECAD group this year.
November 15-16 is the final Triple R project conference in Zagreb, Croatia.
The Triple R project is a 2-year long European project based on the exchange of the best practices in the field of recovery between EU member states that took place in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
The second phase of the project Triple took place in Croatia, implementing a research study on current needs of treatment services, therapeutic communities, social reinsertion programs, alternative sentencing interventions and piloting the Triple R guidelines with the involvement of Croatian partners.
You will find the Triple R project publications in our website top meny.
The Conference programme features international and Croatian high level speakers presenting the projects findings and exploring further the future cooperation in the field of drug treatment and recovery-oriented practices.
Please let us know if you intend to participate, and warm welcome!
25th MAYORS´ CONFERENCE
and 6th World Forum Against Drugs
Kevin Sabet, PhD, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida, President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), USA
Speech at the WFAD /ECAD 25th Mayors Conference, Gothenburg, May 15, 2018 (Video 5min.)
Supply reduction in Peril? A lot of the worlds`s drug supply emanates from a war-torn Columbia.
Dr. Michael Jonsson, FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency
Text to the slides (PDF)
In Columbia, a peace deal has been struck, which gives hope for a closure of insurgency and violence. (PDF)
Thomas Pietschmann, Dr, Drug Research Section, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs
The International drug control system, global/regional and national drug patterns and trends, and supply reduction efforts at the international level (PDF)
Photo: Götaplatsen @ Klas Eriksson
Annual Mayors` Conference and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs will take off on May 14-15 in Gothenburg this year.
This joint event will address a growing interest to the effective prevention practices, full recovery and alternatives to incarceration and to life-long dependency on drug treatment.
The conference will create a room for elaborating a practical guide to how a recovery city will look like, this will be grounded on the recent evidence-based research. Sheffield Hallam University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium) and the City of Gothenburg have already started working on this guide in practice.
In order to find out more and to register please visit a joint webpage here.
MAYORS` CONFERENCE 2017
ECAD 24th Mayors` Conference materials
On June 12-13, the city of Kaunas hosted ECAD 24th Annual Mayors`s Conference 2017
Safe Cities Without Drugs. Preventing, Protecting, Policing
David W. Spencer, Field intelligence Manager, Drug Enforcement Agency, European Region
Supply reduction and dismantling drug trafficking organizations: In what ways can local communities benefit (PDF)
Kim Nilvall, Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence section, Organized crime
Police work in socially disadvantaged areas in Sweden: Impact of drugs on urban crime (PDF)
Torsten Stodiek, Deputy Head, Strategic Police Matters Unit, Community Policing Advisor, Transnational Threats Department, OSCE
Preventing terrorism and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism:
A community and intelligence led policing approach (PDF)
Jon Sigfusson, Director for Icelandic Centre of Social Research and Analysis, Reykjavik University, ICSRA
Youth in Europe and Planet Youth (PDF)
Laimonas Vasiliauskas, Senior Specialist, Serious and Organized Crime Department, EUROPOL
European Illicit Drug Market (PDF)
Antonio Boscini, Health Director, San Patrignano Community, Rimini, Italy
Recovery and social reinsertion: San Patrignano Community model extended (PDF)
CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (PDF)
FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT (PDF)
Conference Booking Form
Picture: @Rokas Tenys
Warm welcome to Kaunas, Lithuania!