This August ECAD launches a 12 months-long Prevention Training Programme for our member cities in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries.

The aim is to promote health and positive development of the youth through the effective evidence-based prevention of substance use in the cities of the BSR and to broaden the cooperation in the region.

SI loggaThe project is supported by the Swedish Development Agency, the Swedish Institute.

The Programme is grounded in the evidence-based Icelandic Model. Since 1998,  the primary prevention program on Iceland has successfully reduced adolescent substance use levels in Reykjavik from the highest level in Europe to the lowest. Public safety has improved as well. The Icelandic model was fairly highlighted (click here to read) in the media and has a more than 20 years exerience to apply in practice for this Prevention Training programme.

This project is initiated as a response to the interest in the communities to strengthen their capacity to uphold primary prevention measures when working with the young.
Project partners are 6 cities in the countries of the Baltic Sea region:
Tallinn in Estonia, Kaunas, Lithuania, Jurmala and Dobele in Latvia, Odessa, Ukraine, Minsk, Belarus and the city of Eskilstuna will host the fist project activity in Sweden on September 4-5.

Venue: Eskilstuna City Hall, Kommunfullmäktige salen  (picture below)

Workshop agenda (PDF)

Eskilstuna conference venueEskilstuna torg
Welcome to Eskilstuna!

Sustainable, healthy and safe communities - how to design a modern and ambitious drug control system

The world drug problem is solved locally. In every city, in every school and in every home.

On July 16-17th ECAD was presenting its findings to delegates at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at the conference titled Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors, Vienna. ECAD spoke about the organsations work to counteract the European drug problem by drug demand reduction efforts aimed at environmental and primary prevention as well as the promotion of full recovery from addiction. 

Drugs have been used for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes since dawn of men. But yesterday’s use shares little resemblance to today’s global drug markets. Commercialization and advances in chemistry and communications have profoundly altered the toxicity and speed with which drugs traverse our globe during the last century.

The global drug control system is being strained but is our best hope to counteract the devasting impact from illicit drugs. Regulations of legal drugs are not successful examples to follow. Community-based and scientifically grounded actions and interventions at local level that targets the causes for substance use as well as vulnerabilities to organized crime can make the world drug problem significantly smaller.

ECAD´s point of departure for its work are the following assumptions:

- Drugs are the most harmful when made legal and commercially promoted

- Levels of drugs use can be addressed

- Drug addiction is in most cases a recoverable condition

- Adress vulnerabilities to organized crime to mitigate harms from the drug trade

The message of our presentation was that countries should adhere to the international principles to which they have already signed, i.e defend the integrity of the drug control conventions. Countries (Canada) that unilaterally breaches the international treaties they have signed on for and on which the rest of the worlds drug control system is reliant upon, should think twice before they legalize drugs.

If countries want to achieve a serious and long term reduction in drug demand they would do wise to study the true success story of the world - Iceland. An evidence based mapping of local risk and protective factors and subsequent long term and holistic change of the local environment in which youngsters are brought up can bring about a population level reduction in their willingness to take drugs.

To fully make people recover from drug addiction underlying issues that preceded drug need to be adressed. Drug treatment need to take into account and solve more problems than those posed by the drugs and equip persons with tools to adress challenges in life without drugs. A sustainable recovery takes time and need to be supported years after intitial treatment and stabilisation to increase likelihood of success.

To mitigate the harms posed by traffickers and criminals operating on drug money law enforcement would do well to cooperate with treatment and social service and act as an engine for the recovery of addicts with a criminal background. The presence of (large scale) organized crime in a society can be understood as a weakness in governance. The criminals need to be combatted and persecuted but to be sustainable, the governance weakness also need to be adressed.

In July, ECAD was present during the Swedish Annual polician week on the island of Gotland situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea.

We organised seminars and hearings on drugs, public safety and health during the week. Policians from all parties in the parliament came to our tent to share their view on how to make Sweden safer and their stance on drugs.

For the fourth consecutive year ECAD has been organizing seminars talks and events with partners Criminals Return into Society and Association for Drug Free Sweden at the annual politician week in Gotland Sweden. This year was an election year and every political party wanted to participate in our tent and give their view on how the society could be made safer. Down below we have listed the headlines of our sessions:

A safe society - the role of NGO´s

Per Johansson, generalsekreterare, RNS
Erik Leijonmarck, generalsekreterare, ECAD
Ali Reunanen, förbundssekreterare, KRIS

The left party (V) on drugs and crime

Linda Snecker, Vänsterpartiet

The liberal party (L) on drugs and crime

Roger Haddad, riksdagsledamot, Liberalerna

True and false on cannabis - state of the art of research on health harms

 Peter Allebeck, forskare
 Pelle Olsson, författare, journalist

The conservative party (M) on drugs and crime

Beatrice Ask, riksdagsledamot, Moderaterna

What does a social and liberal drug policy look like?

Johan Pehrson, riksdagskandidat Liberalerna
Niels Paarup-Petersen, riksdagskandidat Centerpartiet
Lars Ströman, ledarskribent Nerikes Allehanda
Gabriel Romanus, fd socialminister Liberalerna

The centre party (C) on drugs and crime

Johan Hedin, Centerpartiet

Shootings, open drug trade and marginalized communitites - what are the relationships?

Manne Gerell, forskare

Schools free from drugs

Staffan Hübinette , lärare och föreläsare

The green party (MP) on drugs and crime

Annika Hirvonen, riksdagsledamot, Miljöpartiet

The role of the customs service in adressing drug supply

Jessica Vikberg, tullinspektör och förbundsordförande RNS
Johan Lindgren, förbundsordförande TULL-KUST

The Social Democratic party (S) on drugs and crime

Morgan Johansson, justitieminister, Socialdemokraterna
Annika Strandhäll, socialminster, Socialdemokraterna

Life style coordinator

Ali Reunanen, KRIS

The prohibiton of drugs - a tool for early intervention

 Lennart Karlsson, ordförande Svenska Narkotikapolisföreningen 
 Sven-Olov Carlsson, projektledare, Prevent Don't Promote

The nationalist party (SD) on drugs and crime

Adam Marttinen, riksdagsledamot, Sverigedemokraterna

Never go back - Recovery from drug addiction and being a mother

Sara Woldu, ledare mammagruppen KRIS

The christian democratic party (KD) on drugs and crime

Andreas Carlsson, riksdagsledamot, Kristdemokraterna

Apart from our own hosted talks and seminars the Secretary General also participated in a discussion on cannabis from a medical and societal viewpoint organized by Uppsala University.

Read more: Celebrate 40 years of successful recovery experience with San Patrignano this autumn

On October 10-11, 2018, ECAD organize a study visit to European biggest Recovery Community, San Patrignano, in close proximity to Riccione, Italy.

This year it will be the most festive occasion to participate in the WeFree days there since the Community will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Use this opportunity to find out more about San Patrignano`s successfull model for recovery and social reinsertion and talk to the members of the Community during ECAD special session of Questions and Answers.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.WeFree/Study Visit Programme here (PDF)

ECAD have negotitated a favourable hotel rates for you and blocked a number of rooms at Hotel Feldberg (Via Fucini 10, Riccione, ph. +39 0541641942) in advance.
Fill in the Booking form and send it back to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before August 31, to get the agreed hotel rates.

On October 10, a scientific conference on the elimination of viral Hepatitis by the International Liver Foundation, will take place at San Patrignano. ECAD have arranged for your free participation in this conference if you are interested.
Download the Conference Programme "HCV elimination in people who inject drugs. A roadmap for elimination in Italy: treating the infections and predisposing causes" (PDF)

On June 25, 2018, a press conference dedicated to the International Day against Drug Abuse was held at the Moscow Government House. The conference was attended by Evgeniy Brun, chief freelance specialist and narcologist of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and at Moscow Department of Health, Svetlana Brown, president of the Moscow Scientific and Practical Center for Addictions and Head of the Public Relations Department of the Moscow Department of Health as well as Erik Leijonmarck Secretary General of ECAD.

On June 26, 2018 the Moscow city scientific-practical conference with international participation "Combating Drugs - Global Problems" took place, timed to coincide with the International Day against Drug Abuse. This day symbolizes the determination of the world community to strengthen international cooperation in creating a society free from drug addiction, contributes to a serious understanding in society of one of the main problems of our time — the problem of drug addiction. The event was attended by: a leading international organization advocating a drug-free Europe and representing millions of European citizens - European cities against drugs (European Cities Against Drugs - 249 cities in 30 countries around the world, also take initiatives and carry out various anti-drug activities in support of UN conventions - against the legalization of drugs and for a reasonable anti-drug policy); Health leaders and organizers; medical prevention specialists, general practitioners, general practitioners who provide primary health care and specialists of medical organizations of the Moscow state healthcare system of the stationary type, as well as employees of government departments and agencies, representatives of scientific institutions, public and other organizations

Read more: ECAD in Moscow on international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking


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.

28th Mayor's Conference - Invitation - May 11th and 12th, 2023 - Malta
On May 11th and 12th, the 28th ECADs Mayor's Conference will take place at Dolmen Hotel in Qwara, Malta. We warmly invite you to join us and expand your knowledge on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. The conference will highlight best practices and research in the field. It will offer the opportunity to network with other ECAD members, representatives from local authorities, and non-governmental organisations. Registration is free for the first person attending from your organisation!

Additionally, the conference allows for a unique experience as it includes a full day of field visits on May 12th. All participants are invited to Komunita’ Santa Marija, which will be sharing information on their services, and their experiences, and will engage in discussions.

The Agenda has now been published! The deadline to register is April 22nd

Day 1

11/05/2023 | 09:00 – 17:30 | The Oracle Conference Centre - Dolmen Hotel Qawra, St. Paul's Bay
08:30hrs – 09:00hrs| Registrations
09:00hrs – 09:05hrs| Welcome Address by the President of Local Councils’ Association - Mr Mario Fava
09:05hrs – 09:15hrs| Welcome Address by ECADs Chairman of the Board from Kristiansand, Norway - Mr Viggo Lütcherath
09:15hrs – 09:20hrs| Welcome Address by the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government - Hon. Alison Zerafa Civelli
09:20hrs – 09:40hrs| Inspirational speech – “Push yourself to do it because no one else is going to do it for you” by the President Northern Regional Council & LCA Executive Member - Mr. Clifford Galea Vella Maslennikov
09:40hrs – 10:30hrs| Panel Discussion and Presentation – Discussing the Local Context

The prevention team within Sedqa would like to present the following studies.

Study 1: The Role of a Workplace Policy in Addressing Employees’ Substance Misuse Difficulties.
Aim: To explore the probability of an employee seeking support for a substance misuse difficulty elicited by the workplace ethic fostered by management. Through this paper, we seek to determine a possible correlation between the implementation of a substance misuse policy at the workplace, and employees’ probability to seek guidance and support from their employers for a substance misuse-related difficulty.
Study 2: A Substance Misuse Policy in the Workplace: Senior Leadership Teams’ Attitudes
Aim: To explore how senior leadership teams’ (SLTs) attitudes inform the drafting of a substance misuse policy and how those attitudes inform job retention procedures in the case of an employee disclosing a substance misuse difficulty. Uncovering SLTs’ attitudes toward addiction is essential to understand how these beliefs inform workplace policy aims and actions on substance misuse.

Keynote speakers representing Sedqa Prevention team:

Mr Jareth Grima – Social Worker
Ms Sheryl Spiteri – Prevention Team
Ms Stephanie Mizzi Cascun – Prevention Professional.

10:30hrs – 11:00hrs| Coffee Break

11:00hrs – 11:45hrs| Mr Jon Sigfússon Planet Youth – Evidence-based drug prevention.
Mr Sigfússon is the international programme director for the evidence-based Planet Youth Guidance primary community-based health promotion intervention. Over the course of 20 years, Mr Sigfússon directed the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA).

11:45hrs – 12:30hrs| Mr Matej Košir - Strategies and tactics to prevent cannabis legalisation in Slovenia - The power of prevention science and advocacy.

Mr Matej Košir has been working in prevention and advocacy in the field of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs for around 25 years. Since 2006, he has been involved in more than 30 European projects in the fields of health, justice, education, youth and research as a project or work package leader.

12:00hrs – 14:00hrs| Seated Buffet Lunch

14:00hrs – 14:45hrs| Profs. Christian Thurstone, MD - The impact of legalisation in Colorado, USA – challenges faced by [local] authorities and communities.
Profs. Thurstone is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and a child psychiatrist who specialises in addiction treatment. He published some of the first papers on the potential effects of marijuana legalisation on youth and has devoted his professional life to preventing and treating adolescent substance misuse.

14:45hrs - 15:30hrs| Ms Mulka Nisic - Recovery Cities - Creating sustainable connections and networks in cities.
Ms Mulka Nisic has been involved as a Regional Project Manager and International Relations Officer at the NGO Celebrate Recovery, and Secretary General of the Recovered Users Network-RUN.

15:30hrs - 16:00hrs| Conclusive Remarks
16:00hrs – 17:30hrs| ECAD Plenary for ECAD Members only
19:30hrs – 23:00hrs| Welcome Dinner at The Pavilion Suite, Westin Dragonara St Julian’s - Separate Registration is required in the application form.

Day 2
12/05/2023 | 09:15 – 19:00
09:15hrs – 09:30hrs| Transport leaves from Dolmen Hotel & Salini Resort to Komunita Santa Marija
09:30hrs – 09:45hrs| Registration and Welcome Coffee
09:45hrs – 10:15hrs| Introduction to the services offered by Komunita’ Santa Marija.
10:15hrs – 11:00hrs| Sharing of good practices and discussion
11:00hrs – 11:30hrs| Tour around Komunita’ Sanata Marija premises
11:30hrs – 12:00hrs| Transport to Ħagar Qim in Qrendi
12:00hrs – 13:15hrs| Ħagar Qim Visit
13:15hrs – 13:30hrs| Transport to Xgħajra
13:30hrs – 16:00hrs| Lunch (you will have time for a short stroll by the seaside)
16:00hrs – 18:00hrs| Cultural Visit in Mdina – Visiting the National Museum of National History
18:00hrs – 19:30hrs| Visiting Dingli Cliffs
19:30hrs - 15:30hrs| Transport to Salini Resort and Dolmen Hotel

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27th Mayors Conference - Gothenburg and online 2022

The 27th Mayors' Conference and 8th World Forum took place in Gothenburg and online 13-14th June 2022.

The World Forum and Mayor’s Conference is a meeting place for people from all continents who are working to prevent drug abuse, ensure evidence-based and gender-sensitive practices, increase access to treatment, and to promote recovery and reintegration services. This global forum is one of its kind where NGOs, self-help groups, treatment centres, scholars, local, regional, and national authorities, politicians and other decision-makers, and others from around the world will meet to share evidence and best practice experiences. This year’s World Forum will include three main tracks: Prevention, Treatment/Recovery, and Advocacy, which will stretch over 1,5 days followed by the WFAD Congress and ECAD Mayors plenary session. 

We are proud to announce that the Forum was inaugurated by UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and will be joined by experts from around the world.

Read more on the website: and access the full report here
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26th Mayors Conference - Cork 2019



and 6th World Forum Against Drugs

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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)


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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


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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.