Read more: New Psychoactive Substances - a challenge for the Baltic Region
Picture: EMCDDA

98 new synthetic cannabinoids came to surface and were registered in 2015. European monitoring agency for drugs and drug addiction (EMCDDA) sees no decline in the availability of new drugs on the internet market.

A growing number of NPS in Europe puts a significant pressure on the capacities of the forensic laboratories in the countries affected. Synthetic cannabinoids and opioids are also considered to be more toxic, having caused mass poisonings and deaths.

In addition to that, NPS – producers target a rather vulnerable sector of non-controlled synthetic opioids, fentanyls and suchlike, raising concerns on the medicines diverted from therapeutic providers and synthetic opioid products used for substitution treatment in some countries, according to the European Drug Report 2016.

ECAD is organizing the 3rd  project conference Synthetic opioids and cannabinoids – a growing challenge for the region on Thursday, November 3. The conference will be angling Swedish specifics in the field of synthetic opioids. The plan is also to look closer at Latvian and Estonian drug markets in regards to synthetic opioids and to finalize our project findings.

Download the details in our Conference Announcement here (PDF).

To register for the Conference, you need to fill in and send back the Booking form (Word) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before October 28.

Read more: Rehabilitation for Recovery and Reintegration

ECAD have been involved in the Triple R project work this summer. On Monday of June 27, all Triple R project organizations came together in San Patrignano Recovery Community for 4 days, after past meetings around Europe, for the conclusion of the first phase of the project work.

"After discussions on the merits of the project we focused on the writing of three "R-manuals", - explains Sara Carrena, the project coordinator. "A handbook on Rehabilitation will be compiled in close cooperation by all project partners, another project book will focus on Reintegration and the third handbook will be on alternative measures to incarceration. In addition to this, we will be making a video on the involved recovery organization work, all aimed at promoting the best practices in recovery. At a later date we will complete a feasibility study in the hopes of opening a new pilot project in Croatia".

8 communities and organizations took part in the working group: Dianova (Spain), Popov GGZ (Belgium), ECAD (Sweden), Basta (Sweden), Stjerna (Croatia), Udruga Institut Pula (Croatia), Udruga San Patrignano Association Parents Split (Croatia)and Ceis in Rome.

Read more: Rehabilitation for Recovery and Reintegration

Meet the new Chairman of ECAD, (MD) Viggo Lütcherath. 

Read more: ECADs New Chairman of the Board from Kristiansand, Norway

Hi. My name is Viggo Lütcherath and I am a 54 year old man and new chairman of the board for ECAD. I am married and have four children. I have known ECAD for some years during my political work in the Board of Health and Social Services in my hometown Kristiansand in Norway, where I represent the Christian Democratic Party.

My interest in drug policy comes from my professional work as a medical doctor specialised in Paediatrics at the public hospital in Kristiansand where I also work as a Senior Consultant.  For many years I have seen new born babies suffering from abstinence due to their mother’s drug abuse. These babies inspire me to be part of the work to build drug-free societies. There are many ways to do that and the road is long. But it is important, just like in traffic, to set a zero vision of no one killed or suffering from drug abuse. It is an ambitious and important vision.

The fact that the legal "drug industry" is using a lot of money and manpower to legalise and enlarge drug markets further convinces me that governments, cities and communities must unite to address their drug problems. One of the most pressing challenges for our European Cities is to counteract the legalization of cannabis. More and more new knowledge about the dangers of cannabis is available. ECAD can be a channel to spread this knowledge.

It is our imperative to continuously prevent young people from start using drugs, to counteract legalization and to spread knowledge on the health consequences of using illicit drugs. I hope even more cities will find the ECAD network useable as a platform. If we work together, we can be more powerful and inspire each other to make good decisions based on solid knowledge. ECAD is, and will continue to be, a network of European towns that stand together and inspire each other to continuously fight drug abuse and build drug free societies.

I look forward to be in charge of ECAD and look forward to work together with all the good people in ECAD.

Plan for a visit to San Patrignano Recovery Community and WeFree Days, October 11-12, near Rimini in Italy.
The main topic this year is Drugs and Violence.

WeFree Day is an annual high-level forum for international and Italian political bodies, media, artists, and relevant international associations to increase awareness about harms to health, society and the environment caused by drugs, trafficking and production of illegal narcotic substances. 

ECAD arranges a seminar on October 12th.

Register to participate using our Booking Form here (Word). Send it back to ECAD : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download Programme Outline (PDF)

Read more: Invitation to WeFree Days in SanPatrignano

San Patrignano Community

At the end of May ECAD held the second Baltic Spice Alert project conference in Tallinn. It was titled
"Why do most drug related deaths occur in the Baltic Sea Region?".

The conference was preceded by a study visit to the Estonian Forensic Science Institute and discussions on fentanyl fatalities -  the main cause ot Estonian highest drug-related mortality rates in the EU (EMCDDA Drug Report 2016, trends and developments).
This time the project gathered the most qualified researchers working with the drug overdose mortality rates in Estonia, Latvia and Sweden to explain the negative statistics reflected in the recent European drug reports. Police representatives, forensic specialists, youth coordinators working at schools, Tallinn and Riga City social policy officers amounted to 35 conference delegates from all 3 project countries.Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference

As the discussions progressed, some light was shed on the very different specifics of the highest overdose mortality rates in the region.Fentanyls and its fake analogues bother mostly Estonian partners, while Latvian and Swedish colleagues mention
the new psychoactive substances often mixed with benzodiazepines as the main factor contributing to the high mortality rates.

Both synthetic cannabinoids (that caused a number of deaths in Latvia and Sweden in 2014) and synthetic opioids (troubling Swedish law enforcement and forensic specialists at the moment) have become a critical challenge to detect and identify in seizures and in biological specimines. Synthetic cannabinoids and their chemical components are also under constant modifications that place them under an ambiguous legal status in national legislations. Detecting and identifying these new substances is in fact a precondition for excelling an effective prevention and treatment policy, and all the project partners already employ the EMCDDA Early Warning system to do so.

Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference

The project partners also identified effective risk communication as the main prevention tool. Raising public awareness on the risks of the NPS, in addiction to the legislative measures to control the incoming NPS seemed extremely important. In addition to that, sharing expertise on national health experience seemed a valuable experience within this project, which is why Baltic Spice Alert is building up a network.

ECAD presented a new project, an efficient prevention tool in tackling the spread of the synthetic mixes in the Southern Sweden recently. The project "Film for Real" proved to be a success in reaching for the younger generation by involving them in research on drug effects and in actual film production. It run in 3 Swedish cities : Ystad, Simrishamn and Staffanstorp and is about to be launched in the cities of ECAD. Please contact ECAD Office if you are interested to know more.

Three project network partners will meet again this autumn in Stockholm. ECAD will report on the progress of the conference and study visit plans during the summer.

Tallinn Conference materials (still keep coming):

Overview of Estonia`s Drug Policy, Anna-Liisa Pääsukene, Ministry of Social Affiars, Estonia

Drug Overdose Mortality in Estonia, Gleb Denissov, Head of the Estonian Causes of Death Registry, Estonian National Institute for Health Development

Lethal outcomes and drug overdoses in Estonia. Statistical overview. Mailis Tönisson, forensic toxicologist, Estonian Forensic Science Institute

Latvian Police on Drug Fatalities, Jānis Berzkalns, Deputy Chief, Edgars Bukšs, Chief Inspector, Riga Municipal Police Department, Latvia

An innovative Prevention project and Spice-related deaths in Southern Sweden

Drug-induced deaths in Latvia,
Diana Vanaga, researcher, Reitox National Focal Point, Latvia

Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference


ECAD's activities from year to year culminate in the annual ECAD Mayors Conference, hosted by a distinct ECAD member city every summer. Councillors and other politicians and policymakers convene with academics and civil society organizations to participate in seminars and study visits, discussing the latest developments in drug prevention efforts throughout Europe.


and 6th World Forum Against Drugs

Register to

Conference materials

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)


Register to
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.

 WFAD logo jpg  Logo Gothenburg


Kaunas logotypeRegister to

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

Key-note speakers:

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)

a wall of participants



 Conference Booking Form

@ Rokas Tenys, the Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle
Picture: @Rokas Tenys

Warm welcome to Kaunas, Lithuania!

Archives of ECAD's mailed newsletters from 2003 until 2013. To subscribe to ECAD's new email-based newsletter, click here.
Official ECAD mission statements in six different European languages.
The ECAD Resolution, crafted at a conference to increase cooperation between cities, provides inspiration and hope for areas with particularly difficult drug problems. The signatories to the resolution will affirm their decision to fight against the spread of drugs.