Pompidou Group - Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs

2015 News
Those who are interested in writing a chapter for the book are kindly requested to submit an outline no later than Friday, December 18, 2015 to Marije Wouters at m.wouters1@uva.nl (or reply to this message)
See attached document for more information.

Tender: Models of alternatives for imprisonment for drug dependent offenders feasible in Georgia

Aiming at identifying opportunities for reducing the population of drug users in Georgian prisons, the Pompidou Group and the Georgian Ministry of Justice set a research tender.
The research is part of the regional project “Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners” within the Council of Europe/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF) regional initiative.
The bid must be submitted in English language by email to Ms Almana Mukabenova: almana.mukabenova@coe.int not later than 12:00 hrs on 2 November 2015.

Read the Tender Notice HERE
The Georgian version is HERE  

Call for tenders

The Pompidou Group is searching for consultants able to provide high-level expertise on drug treatment systems in prisons.
Since 2010 the Pompidou Group conducted several projects focused on improving the overall situation of injecting drug users going through criminal systems in Eastern Europe. The main objective of the “Improving Drug Treatment Systems in Prisons” project planned for 2016- 2017 is to further improve health in penitentiaries with respect for human rights. The project aims at developing strategies of drug treatment and social re-insertion of drug using detainees in order to reduce recidivism. The project comprises a strong element of regional cooperation. The beneficiaries of the Project are penitentiary administrations and institutions in Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Armenia and Georgia.

Find HERE more information on this tender
The Pompidou Group in Mexico Addiction Congress

“We need a public health approach to drug dependence that embraces life and gives choices to drug dependent persons” said Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg, President of the Pompidou Group and State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Health, at the opening session of the 17th International Congress on Addiction in Mexico City, 4 November 2015. She stressed that future drug polices need to focus on preventing drug overdose, abolishing death penalty for drug trafficking and providing coherent drug treatment services. Carmen Fernandes Carceres, Director General of the Mexican treatment and recovery organisation Centros de Integración Juvenil (CIJ), thanked Norway and the Pompidou Group for the successful cooperation. In the Panel on Prevention and Treatment in the Justice System, Robert Teltzrow, Principal Project Consultant for the Pompidou Group, addressed the drug situation in European prisons. He spoke out in favour of developing coherent drug treatment systems in prisons that are in line with European and international human rights standards. The international congress, that aims to further drug treatment and prevention research in Mexico, hosts more than 3000 experts, researchers and policy makers from Mexico, other Latin American countries and from all over the world. Mexico is an observer state to the Pompidou Group since January 2014.
The First Technical Meeting of the Cooperation Group of South East European Airports.

A new regional initiative - the Cooperation Group of South East European Airports, launched in April 2015, held its first technical meeting on 10-11 November 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia. It brought together 33 participants from 12 countries of South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey). Technical meetings of the Cooperation Group are foreseen as platforms to support operational work of airport law enforcement agencies on daily bases through practical cooperation, consultations and capacity building. During the technical meeting in Zagreb, participants had an opportunity to discuss specific issues arising from the risk assessment management of passengers in air traffic, in the field of drug enforcement. In addition, results deriving from the first six months of the Cooperation Group activities were presented as well as the latest developments in working methods of participating law enforcement agencies at airports. Networking opportunities within the Cooperation Group and its close interaction with the Pompidou Group’s Airports Group were given a special emphasis during the discussion. Second day of the meeting took place at the Zagreb Airport “Pleso”, where a practical exercise Interception of drug smugglers using Passenger Name Record was conducted. In the future technical meetings, participants will focus on passenger data transfer and data protection, new trends on drug markets (with the special accent on drug-related cybercrime and novel psychoactive substances), and possible joint operations of SEE airports.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.   
Health and justice in the spotlight

Jan Malinowski, Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, took part in the Annual Health and Justice Conference organised in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 28-29 October 2015 by the World Health Organisation - Europe Office, Health in Prison Project (WHO-HIPP), together with Public Health England and the Kyrgyz authorities. The Conference that was preceded by a visit to two prison establishments, respectively for tuberculosis and women prisoners, focused on managing substance use disorders, harm reduction and treating communicable diseases in prison. At the conference, Jan addressed the subject of “prison health care and human rights” with an emphasis on treatment of substance use disorders in custodial settings.  
Advanced: Therapeutic Communities in Moldovan Prisons

Have you ever lived in a Therapeutic Community (TC)? The participants of the ‘Training for Integrated Care for Drug-using Inmates II’ took up this challenging experience during role-play games and interactive discussions. The training course which took place in Chisinau, 6-9 October 2015 prepared prison staff to manage Therapeutic Communities for drug dependent prisoners. The training course was conducted by Norwegian and Romanian trainers under the framework of the Pompidou Group’s regional project ‘Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners’ within the CoE/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF). The Norwegian NGO Phoenix Haga contributed to the success of this training by providing expertise and guidance.
Alcohol, tobacco and drug use among adolescents in the Mediterranean region: a first glance.

The Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD) committee produced a report concerning the situation in the Mediterranean region in relation to the prevalence of substance use among adolescents covering data from nine countries: Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Malta, Portugal and Tunisia. This is a first step and first attempt to present data from Europe and Northern Africa and the Middle East together. This Committee is supported by the South Programme II funded by the EU and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Read the report HERE  

Brainstorming meeting with expert consultations on internet-based drug demand reduction interventions in the South East Europe

Drug Policy Cooperation in South East Europe continues to further explore opportunities to expand constructive dialogue and mutual exchanges through diverse activities. Brainstorming meeting with expert consultations on internet-based drug demand reduction interventions in the South East Europe, held in Belgrade from 28-29 September 2015, gave a brand new dimension to this regional initiative. It enabled an energetic discussion among participants from 10 SEE countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYROM, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Kosovo* as non-member state of the Council of Europe) which with the support of experts from Finland, Israel, Russian Federation and Slovenia, formulated a pilot project proposal on developing Internet-based interactive self-assessment tool for substance use related at user or risk target groups. In light of the results of this first project phase, a connected automated treatment and referral tool for personalized contact will be developed in the course of 2017.
That was the second regional meeting hosted by the Serbian Ministry of Health in the frame of the Drug Policy Cooperation in South East Europe. Mr Thomas Kattau, Deputy Executive Secretary, and Mr Vladimir Djukić, Deputy Minister of Health underlined in their opening statements importance of adapting drug policies to new trends and social features of new generations.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

Acknowledging and exploring the Pompidou Group activities

During their 76th meeting (27-28 May 2015), the Pompidou Group’s Permanent Correspondents welcomed the first vigorous steps in the implementation of the work programme adopted by the Group’s November 2014 Ministerial Conference, and decided to hold a symposium on the latest developments and trends in drug policy later this year. The Permanent Correspondents explored possible contributions to the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem that will be held in April 2016, which should revolve around human rights aspects of drug policy, harm reduction and health care, and cooperation with civil society. They welcomed the numerous activities within the MedNet project (involving Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian National Authority) and cooperation in Ukraine and South East Europe, particularly addressing treatment for substance use disorders in prison, and were apprised of the upcoming law enforcement supply reduction events, in particular the longstanding Airports Group that will hold its 30th annual meeting in June 2015. The ongoing review of the European Drug Prevention Prize revealed that it is considered valuable and prestigious. The Permanent Correspondents discussed the Pompidou Group’s next steps in respect of drug policies’ cost-effect analysis, gender and drugs, and possible work on gambling-drug co-morbidity. They also heard about drugs in the workplace as a burden for employers but also an opportunity for treatment and a possible occupational disease.

First European Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies Conference

Mr Jan Malinowski, the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group chaired one of the sessions of the first European Conference on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies organised by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in Lisbon on 23-25 September. Expert presentations focused on a wide range of topics, including overdose deaths in the criminal justice system, the misuse of opiate substitution therapy in prisons, preventing “avoidable” deaths, the role that take-home naloxone and peer engagement can have in preventing drug-related deaths, and the link between the physical and psychological health of people who take drugs. Leading European and international experts in the field of addiction science discussed about new psychoactive substances, online sales and gambling, cannabis legalisation and alcohol pricing. The comprehensive and multi-disciplinary event featuring 16 keynote speeches, 200 oral presentations, around 140 rapid communications and a week-long array of satellite meetings, side-events and sponsored sessions gathered experts from 58 countries and provided a unique networking opportunity for researchers, practitioners and policy experts across countries and disciplines. 600 participants attended the first European Conference on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies.  

Confronting precursor diversion and illicit production of synthetic drugs

A specific thematic debate on Methamphetamine production opened at the 8th meeting of the International Precursor’s Diversion Network in Prague on 16 – 18 September 2015. Production of Methamphetamine, a particularly dangerous drug for the public health, is increasing in several European countries, intelligence sources report. Law enforcement representatives from 31 European and non-European countries and seven International organisations such as Europol, the European Commission and various UN agencies exchanged information on the latest legal developments, discussed new trends in the manufacture of drugs and shared good practices of diverted chemicals intended for illegal drugs production seizure. Law enforcement representatives from Mexico and Australia informed participants on the trends, regulation and synthesis methods and shared their holistic approach on how to tackle precursor diversion and illicit production of synthetic drugs. Following the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Jan Malinowski, Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group met Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for a working meeting focusing on current drug related problems in the region in order to talk over recent developments of the international regime of drug control, including the precursors. 

A National Drug Observatory in full swing in Egypt

The round table in Cairo on 3 and 4 September gathered the stakeholders of the recently set up National Observatory: scientific board, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior around the Director of the General Secretariat of Mental Health and Addiction Treatment. Representatives from France, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Norway as well as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions shared their expertise on the development of drug observatories.
Getting evidence based information and developing human rights interventions in the field of drug is a prerequisite of the activities carried out in Egypt . This will be demonstrated in the first report of the Egyptian Drug Observatory to be published by the end of this year. 

Violence and drug use among women

The publication on "Gender dimension of non-medical use of prescription drugs in Europe and the Mediterranean region” contained a number of recommendations for researchers, professionals and policy-makers and also called for a better understanding of the problem of violence and drug use among women. Therefore a review of literature on violence (experienced or perpetrated) and psychoactive substance use among women in Europe and in the Mediterranean region was conducted. This review (bilingual document) is available online HERE.
The objective was to make an initial assessment of existing knowledge concerning the links between violence against women and psychoactive substance use among women and identify lines of research, and also to suggest guidelines for professional advice. Sixty three articles related to the issue of violence and the use of psychoactive substances among women, published in Belgium, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Morocco, Spain and Sweden appear in this exploratory research.
In order to give this research an operational perspective, it is proposed to build on this work by consulting addiction treatment, risk and harm reduction professionals. Focus groups will be conducted in four countries: France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
A seminar on “Women, drugs, and violence” will be organised in Rome on 10-11 December 2015 in cooperation with the Department for Anti-drug Policies of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy which will bring together professionals working in the treatment of addiction treatment, harm and risk reduction. The seminar will also serve as a forum for discussion between professionals and policy makers.

Preventing PTSD and Substance Use Disorders in Ukraine

On 9 and 10 July the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Mrs Tatyana Richkova, participated in meetings organised by the Pompidou Group and met with a team of international mental health and crisis intervention experts. She welcomed the cooperation between her Ministry and the Pompidou Group which aims to help thousands of civilians and soldiers, a figure that according to some estimates could reach as much as 600.000 people who are suffering from war-related trauma and associated substance abuse disorders. From 6-8 July the international team of experts from Croatia, Georgia, Israel and Poland visited military training ranges, psychological crisis centres and camps where internally displaced persons from Lugansk and Donesk region took refuge. They provided the Ukrainian government and volunteer organisations with information on clinical emergency guidelines as well as quick-to-develop tools to prevent and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The experts stressed that trauma and substance use disorders including problematic alcohol use work as a “time bomb” because related health and social problems may appear years after. Only immediate action and effective prevention strategies that are implemented now may alleviate this current and future burden for the Ukrainian society.

Supporting Ukraine’s Prison Reform

The Pompidou Group’s drug policy and public health experts contributed to the success of the International Conference on “Health Care Behind the Bars” that took place 9-10 July in Kiev. As co-chair of this important conference, the Pompidou Group has assembled the highest expertise to support the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine in tackling risks related to drug use and blood borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Professor Heino Stöver from Germany, Dr. Jörg Pont from Austria, as well as Dr. Andrej Kastelic and Dr. Nusa Segrec from Slovenia provided a vast array of knowledge, and presented on topics such as “International Prison Health Care Standards and Medical Ethics” and “Drug Dependent Treatment Services in Prison Settings”. More than 150 prison health specialists attended the conference that was organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and supported by USAID, the World Health Organization, and UNAIDS.

Drug policy in prisons

On 2 July 2015, together with Pompidou Group consultants Heino STÖVER, Professor of Social Scientific Addiction Research (Frankfurt University of Applied Science), and Robert TELTZROW, lead expert in the implementation of the Group’s drugs in prison project, the Executive Secretary held an exchange of views on drug policy in custodial settings with the Council of Europe anti-torture watchdog, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). The CPT organises visits to places of detention (prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, social care homes), in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information. After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned setting out its findings and its recommendations with a view to improving the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. The CPT has addressed the management of substance use disorders in prisons in several of its visit reports.

Anti-Drug Day, 26 June - Pompidou Group in action

Despite international efforts to prevent, treat and reduce risks related to drug use, Europe counts not less than 16,000 drug-related deaths per year, with opioids leading among the primary illicit drug of concern. On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, Jan Malinowski, reminds that the most vulnerable in society such as young people, people with mental illness, refugees, migrants and prisoners are the most likely to develop substance use disorders. In addition, meta-research conducted for the Pompidou Group shows that the prevalence of non-medical use of prescription drugs is particularly high among women. The Pompidou Group’s policy and praxis-oriented response to the drugs problem is four-pronged: Firstly, we promote drug treatment and rehabilitation policies that lead to the re-integration of drug users into society. A good example is our criminal justice and prisons programme that supports drug treatment and prevention programmes in prisons and consults governments on how to develop alternatives to imprisonment for drug dependent offenders. Secondly, we regularly work with customs officials and law enforcement worldwide to stem drug trafficking based on human right principles and rule of law. In regular meetings, we provide a platform for officials to assess the latest techniques that traffickers use to smuggle drugs – and methods to deter such techniques. Thirdly, we advocate for extending and improving harm reduction programmes such as syringe exchange programme and opiate substitution treatment (OST) in our member states which also include the northern African dimension and Israel. Finally, we aim to prevent problematic substance use through prevention campaigns. For instance, our widely acclaimed European Drug Prevention Prize will take place in 2015-2016 and involves young people from all of our member States. Being part of the Council of Europe, the Pompidou Group promotes human rights as the corner stone of developing comprehensive and balanced drug policies in Europe.

Georgian Ministers attend project launch in Tbilisi

Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Aleksandre Tabatadze, Deputy Minister of Education, Ms Lia Gigauri, and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, Mr Alessandro Savaris, as well as high –level representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Corrections and Ministry of Health attended the Alternatives to Imprisonment for Drug Dependent Offenders project launch and round table on 22 June in Tbilisi. During the event, participants discussed possible policy amendments which would allow the criminal justice system to send drug offenders to treatment and rehabilitation facilities instead of prisons. The round table has been organised by the Pompidou Group and was hosted by the Ministry of Justice. It is part of the regional project, ‘’Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners’’, within the CoE/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF).

2015 Executive Training prepares ideas for UNGASS input!

“One of the best seminars we have ever had” concluded several participants when the 2015 Executive Training on Drug Policy was completed with its second module from 15 - 17 June in Bari, Italy. 40 participants and expert facilitators from 25 countries and the EMCDDA and UNODC worked together in an exercise of on-the-job-training and developed proposals for a Pompidou Group contribution to UNGASS 2016. The proposals developed highlight specific issues of existing imbalances in international drug policies and ways to rectify these. Ideas how to push for more evidence-based approaches and making better use of existing examples of best practice where identified as a second area of common European concern. Above all figures range of concrete proposals to move different human rights aspect forward in drug policy, among these:
• Strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances
• Improve access to and availability of essential medicines for medical and scientific purposes
• Consideration of alternative measures to detention, punishment and criminal sanction
The proposals will now be communicated to Permanent Correspondents for consideration and channeling into the UNGASS preparations.

Statistics reveal the lowest number of airport drug seizures

The Airports Group (Co-operation Group of Drug Control Services at European Airports and in General Aviation) holds its 30th annual meeting in Strasbourg from 16 - 18 June 2015. Organised by the Pompidou Group, the conference will convene 90 customs and law enforcement officers, representing 39 countries and nine international organisations to discuss drug trafficking trends, routes, and seizure protocols in airports throughout the world.
The 2014 Review of Drug Seizures at Airports, compiled by the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) at the request of the Pompidou Group will be presented during the meeting. With data from 40 countries, these new statistics reveal the lowest number of airport drug seizures, both on passengers and in airfreight, since 2012. Following this report, an international panel of professional experts and analysts will exchange information on new courier and baggage trends, effective use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) in customs control, the influence of organised crime on airport drug trafficking, controlled deliveries and, looking forward, explore new phenomena.
Bringing together drug enforcement practitioners from around the world, analysts from Europol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and others, and facilitated by the Pompidou Group, this 30th meeting of the Airports Group aims to review increasing threats and develop multidisciplinary strategies in combatting drug trafficking at airports.

 suite Find HERE statistical data on drug seizures in 40 countries.

1st meeting of the Pompidou Group Expert Group on “Possible adverse effects and associated cost of drug control policies”

Experts from seven countries and EMCDDA gathered in Oslo on 8-10 June for the 1st meeting of the Expert Group. The group will analyse effects and associated costs of policies governing the control of illicit psychoactive substances. A study under preparation will highlight the economic costs for society as well as the consequences for individuals. While there is a wide range of consequences for society that arise from control measures of illicit substances (organised crime, public health and safety risks etc.) the study will be on the one hand looking at the economic costs in terms of public expenditure; on the other hand, the study will focus on economic, social and legal aspects and unintended effects for individuals. Such an analysis is particularly timely and important since little work has been done so far to this extent. Furthermore these aspects receive so far little attention in international drug policy discussion.

Working together for penitentiary reform in the Republic of Moldova

Two reasons to celebrate: First, participants at the “Training for Integrated Care for Drug-using Inmates in Therapeutic Communities (TC)” that took place in Chisinau, 25-28 May 2015, received a personal certificate for acquiring the basic knowledge to run a Therapeutic Community in prisons. And second, the Pompidou Group and the Department of Penitentiary Institutions of the Republic of Moldova, represented by Ms Ana Dabija, signed on 29 May 2015 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of consolidating effective co-operation between the two parties in the implementation of the project “Establishing Therapeutic Communities in Prisons”, which is part of the regional project “Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners” within the CoE/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF). Together with the Norwegian NGO Phoenix Haga, the Pompidou Group will support the Moldovan partners to develop by 2017 two Therapeutic Communities, one in a female prison (Rusca) and one in a male prison (Pruncul). Therapeutic Communities are an effective tool for treating drug addiction, complementing other health and social services for drug dependent prisoners.

Children see, Children act

The Pompidou Group launched its new drug prevention clip “Children see, Children act” during its workshop on Parenting Skills and Drug Prevention in Kiev, 10-12 October 2014. The clip is part of a joint drug prevention media campaign by the Pompidou Group, the Ukrainian State Drug Control Service, UNICEF and Aids Foundation East-West (AFEW). At the workshop NGO leaders, educators and prevention specialists from all regions of Ukraine discussed how to better involve parents in drug prevention activities. Over one hundred persons applied for the workshop reflecting the urgent need in Ukraine to provide training on primary drug prevention. The workshop has been jointly organised by the Pompidou Group and AFEW.

 suite Watch the video HERE

Creation in Tunis of an observatory on drugs and addictions
The round table organised in Tunis on May 20th and 21st in cooperation with the Ministry of Health attracted about fifty participants, stakeholders in all the Ministries: Justice, the Interior, Education, Family, Youth, Police, the Office of the Prime Minister as well as organisations directly involved with drug abuse and trafficking. The experience of observatories from Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Cyprus, France, Egypt, as well as that of the OEDT (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) were presented. The necessity to create a Tunisian observatory that would be independent, transparent and that would benefit all established itself. The structure of this observatory will be the subject of an agreement in the coming months.

1st Meeting of the Cooperation Group South East European Airports:

Thomas Kattau, Deputy Executive Secretary, opened the inaugural meeting of the Cooperation Group South East European Airports on 27-28 April in Zagreb, Croatia. This brand new activity by the Pompidou Group is based on a Croatian initiative and will facilitate hands-on, realtime cooperation between law enforcement and customs agencies at airports in the region. Tihomir Zegrec, senior Croation Customs official, is certain that the practical tools that will be presented in this cooperation can become a model for more effectively tackling drug trafficking through airports.
Zelko Petkovic, National Drugs Coordinator of Croatia and Permanent Correspondent to the Pompidou Group concluded in his welcome speech that “today we are definitely having a good momentum in the regional cooperation which can mainly be contributed to the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe. The Pompidou Group embraces all countries of the region regardless if they are its old member states like Slovenia and Croatia, brand new like Bosnia and Herzegovina or those who only have the potential to become part of a family.”

Opiate substitution therapy in the Euro-Mediterranean region

The Euro-Mediterranean seminar on “Opiate substitution therapy as part of a risk reduction policy” (OST) was organised by the National Office against Drugs and Drug Addiction (ONLCDT), in association with the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform (MSPRH) and in partnership with the MedNET network of the Pompidou Group, as well as the South Programme financed by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe. In all 70 participants from Algeria and 20 experts from the following 9 countries were involved: Belgium, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Portugal, Switzerland, Tunisia, the Palestinian National Authority as well as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. All shared their experience in substitution therapy, widely used across Europe and across certain countries in North Africa and in the Middle East. The participants reached the conclusion that the introduction of opiate substitution therapy (OST) should first undergo a two-year feasibility study in a pilot care centre in Algiers, the country’s capital, before it can be extended to other regions based on the drug use situation. This study requires a hands-on training of the staff that will be working in the pilot centre. 

Speech by Jan Malinowski, Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group

Drug and HIV prevention in Ukrainian juvenile prison

Hundred boys aged 14-24 are incarcerated in the juvenile prison in Pryluky, Ukraine. Most of the inmates grew up in orphanages or came from dysfunctional families where alcohol, drug use and violence are prevalent. Many of the boys started smoking, drinking and using psychoactive substances during adolescence or even earlier. In conjunction with the State Ukrainian prison administration and the Dutch non-profit organisation Dutch Foundation Friends of Pryluky, the Pompidou Group organised a workshop on the 23-24 April in the juvenile institution in order to introduce the risk assessment tool SAVRY and family conference methodology. Trained multipliers from the Melitopol female juvenile prison attended the workshop, where they presented their experiences and explained to their Ukrainian colleagues the advantages of these tools for psychologists and prison managers. The workshop is the first of three valuable exchanges of experience with Pryluky planned for 2015. The goal of the activity is to prevent recidivism and to help the young men and women to return to a law-abiding and healthy lifestyle.

Gender mainstreaming and drug policy

Prof Marilyn Clark, author of the Pompidou Group publication “Gender Dimension of Non-Medical use of Prescription Drugs” and Elisabetta Simeoni, Gender rapporteur for the Pompidou Group, participated in the 7th meeting of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission held in Strasbourg from 15 to 17 April 2015. During the meeting participants stressed the need of gender mainstreaming in all drug policy dimensions.

Read HERE the ‘Gender Dimension of Non-Medical use of Prescription Drugs’ publication. 

Support for displaced Opiate Substitution Treatment patients in Ukraine

The Pompidou Group in conjunction with HIV Alliance in Ukraine has launched a project to support internally displaced patients who previously benefited from Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The project that is financed by Norway aims at catering for the basic needs and providing medical treatment and social assistance to 75 patients now receiving the treatment in Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk. OST programmes have been discontinued in Crimea since May 2014 following the Russian Federation’s approach. Due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine medical supply of methadone and buprenorphine has also been discontinued in Donetsk and Lugansk. Since the introduction of OST in 2005 Ukraine reports improvements in HIV prevention and drug treatment.

Deutsche Welle article about the project
Pompidou Group Translaion of the article

Pompidou Group MedNET takes part in the launch of the South Programme II

The European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme : Towards Strengthened Democratic Governance in the Southern Mediterranean is launched on 10 April 2015 at the Council of Europe.
This three year programme (2015-2017) aims at reinforcing human rights, democracy and Rule of law in Southern Mediterranean countries in accordance with European and other international standards. On the basis of the achievements of the first South Programme (2012-2014) Pompidou Group continues to participate in this new programme through MedNET, its network of co-operation in the Mediterranean region on drugs and addiction with a specific objective to contribute to ongoing democratic processes and foster regional co-operation in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy, as a network between Europe and countries of the Southern Mediterranean region, as well as within the region. MedNET action will focus in particular on the setting up of national drug observatories, in the exchange of best practices and in a possible expansion of the network.

Pompidou Group 2015 Executive Training

On 23 March policy managers came together in Ljubljana for a high-profile training in support of conducting a review of existing drug policies in preparation for the 2016 UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session). The next special session of the UN General Assembly will be focusing on the world’s drug problem. In preparation of this event a review of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Action Plan which was adopted in 2009 was done. The training aimed to support governments in conducting an effective review of international, European and national drug policies and strategies. This also helped to better understand where work has been successful and where efforts need to be focused for future actions.

Shaping Global Drug Policies

The Pompidou Group reminds in its statement made at the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (Vienna, 9-12 March 2015) the UN, NGOs, IGOs, experts, and government officials from all around the world that “the main intention of the United Nation’s legal framework on drugs is the safe¬guarding of the health and welfare of humankind”. This statement was presented by the Norwegian Presidency of the Pompidou Group in support of the preparation of UNGA Special Segment 2016 of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem. In conjunction with the governments of Croatia, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and UNODC as well as the Norwegian NGO Phoenix Haga, two side-events were organised on “Women in Focus: Social Reintegration as a Key to Successful Recovery and “The Success of Therapeutic Communities in Prison - a Model for Europe”. Moreover, the Pompidou Group exhibited drug prevention posters produced by Romanian prisoners who discovered the art producing process as a powerful method for communicating suppressed emotions and addressing drug-related problems.

suite Pompidou Group Statement on UNGASS 2016 Manuscript
suite CND 2015 VIDEO
suite PG at CND in images
suite Flyer - Art Exhibition
suite FlyerSide Event - Moldova and Romania
suite Flyer Side Event - Croatia

Adolescent drug use in the Mediterranean region

School surveys help decision makers to react to new drug trends and risks related to problematic drug use among the most vulnerable: young people. In its first report the Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD) will sheds light on drug use epidemiology and patterns among adolescents. The report will be published and disseminated this year. MedSPAD was launched in 2003 and the first MedSPAD committee was set up in 2014 under the Mediterranean Network (MedNet) of the Pompidou Group. The committee supports the sharing of experiences between the MedNet countries who have already conducted the MedSPAD (Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) and those who may wish to do so in the future (Algeria, Egypt). The committee provides the opportunity to discuss survey findings and prevention policies. The school surveys exercise is part of what is required by the National Observatories on drug and drug addiction that already exists in Europe and which is about to be set up in some countries of the Mediterranean Region. MedSPAD shares its expertise with the other European countries in particular with the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) that is conducted in 35 countries and repeated every four years since 1995. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug addiction (EMCDDA) joined MedSPAD as an observer in 2015. The South Programme “Towards a Strengthened Democratic Governance in the Southern Mediterranean” that is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe is also supporting this project. The next MedSPAD meeting is planned for 5 October. The first MedSPAD regional report will be available in the summer in English French and Arabic.
On the way to closer cooperation with Georgia

Thomas Kattau of the Pompidou Group, met the Georgian Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Archil Talakvadze, on 13 February to explore areas for closer cooperation between Georgia and the Pompidou Group. The Minister underlined the cutting edge role of the Pompidou Group in drug policy development. Participating in the Airports Group, the Precursor Network, as well as the activities on DarkNet monitoring would be among the priorities for cooperation with the Pompidou Group in 2015. Both expressed their hope that Georgia would become a member of the Pompidou Group in the near future. T. Kattau was also delivering a lecture in Sukhumi on drug policies in Europe as part of the 'European Lectures' organised by the Council of Europe's Confidence Building Measures programme.

New Drug Treatment Service in Moldovan Prisons

The Department of Penitentiary Institutions of the Republic of Moldova and the Pompidou Group agreed to implement two Therapeutic Communities (TCs) in one male and one female prison. TCs are micro-societies where clients are living 24/7 and experience all aspects of life challenges in a safe environment. They have been proved to be a potent methodology for treating drug dependency with very high success rate in treatment outcome. In addition to targeted trainings for prison staff, the Pompidou Group will support the construction of two prison wards where the TC members will live. The activity is part of the regional Pompidou Group project “Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners” that also covers Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. It is financed through the CoE/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF), 2015 – 2017.

Experts from Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories visit Malta

The MedNET programme of the Pompidou Group supports Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) services in the Mediterranean region. During two recent study visits by experts from Tunisia (20-23 January) and Palestine (2-6 February) to Malta experts exchanged their knowledge. With funding from the South Programme in cooperation with Sedqa, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services in Malta, the delegations from Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories were able to meet with staff and experts in drug rehabilitation in Malta and to visit rehab centers focusing on OST treatment. These successful study visits will help the beneficiaries to gain further knowledge of relevant procedures and methods easily adaptable to their specific local needs and to further foster co-operation and exchange between Mediterranean countries.

Bureau sets targets for 2015

The first 2015 Permanent Correspondents Bureau Meeting was held in Paris on 27 January. Ms. Lilly-Sofie Ottesen, Deputy Director General of the Department of Public Health in the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Service, chaired the meeting. She presented the priorities of the Norwegian Presidency of the Pompidou Group. The members of the Bureau also discussed implementation of the 2015 – 2018 Work Programme adopted by the Pompidou Group’s Ministers at their end-November conference, and agreed the terms of reference for the related activities. Jan Malinowski, the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group informed the Bureau about recent developments in the Council of Europe and activities of the Secretariat. The Bureau also prepared the 76th meeting of Permanent Correspondents to be held in Strasbourg on 27 and 28 May 2015 where one of the main topics will be future interaction with civil society.

Drug trafficking through airports, Precursor Diversion and Cybercrime

Law enforcement experts of the Pompidou Group agreed that more international cooperation is needed to tackle blind spots and new trends in drug trafficking through airports, precursor diversions and cybercrime in Europe. During preparatory meetings at the Council of Europe office in Paris from 20 to 22 January 2015 they set the objectives for major law enforcement encounters in 2015. Drugs-related cybercrime specialists considered the transversal coordination among international organisations and acknowledged that, in the mutual interest, new trends in drug trafficking using digital platforms require increased cooperation between countries. The general aviation group identified research and law enforcement training needed to better respond to trafficking by light aircraft and remotely piloted devices. Diversion of substances used to manufacture drugs is a growing concern and specific emphasis will be put on the emerging trend of methamphetamine production. The Czech Republic generously offered to host the next meeting of the precursors network in Prague in September 2015.

The Pompidou Group wishes you a Happy New Year!

2014 was a successful year for the Pompidou Group. We were able to respond rapidly to the humanitarian crisis in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine by providing assistance in the continuation of Opiate Substitution Treatment and to internally displaced persons in these crisis-stricken regions. Thanks to additional contributions from our Member States we managed to increase the number of our training programmes and research projects, generating extra activities to prevent and treat drug addiction in particularly vulnerable groups, such as refugees and prisoners, and to reduce the risks and harms related to drug use. The Pompidou Group broke new ground by facilitating international cooperation on drug-related cybercrime.


Apply for the Pompidou Group’s Executive Training on Drug Policy 2015!

You are a drug policy manager and you want to improve your knowledge about drug policies in Europe. You also want to prepare yourself together with top drug experts for the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016).Then you should apply for the Pompidou Group's Executive Training on Drug Policy 2015. Application for the training can be send to your national Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group or directly to the Pompidou Group Secretariat: Pompidou.Training@coe.int
Participation is open to all Council of Europe member States, MedNET countries and interested observers. The deadline for applications is 30 January 2015. The training course outline can be downloaded

New Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group

On 1 December 2014, Jan Malinowski became the new Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group. He said that he will guide the work of the Pompidou Group’s Secretariat “in close cooperation with the Member States and the Bureau of Permanent Correspondents” and “build on the considerable tangible achievements to date coupled with the innovative approach that has characterised the Group from its origins”.

Mr Malinowski joined the Council of Europe over 21 years ago and first worked in the Secretariat of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). Before joining the Pompidou Group, between 2005 and 2014, he was responsible for ground-breaking work on media policy, freedom of expression and Internet governance, bringing the Council of Europe to the forefront of the debate. Lately, he also had responsibility for data protection and cybercrime. Jan Malinowski is a lawyer, qualified in Spain and in England, with eight years of professional practice prior to joining the Council of Europe.

Mr Patrick Penninckx: A new role. A new capacity.

As from 1 December 2014, Mr Patrick Penninckx, the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, will be in charge of coordinating the Council of Europe's Department on Information Society, dealing with Freedom of the Media, Safety of Journalists, Internet Governance, Data Protection and Action against Cybercrime. Before he started his mandate in March 2009, he worked as an advisor to the special representative of the secretary general for organizational development and reform. For the past 25 years, he has worked at the Council of Europe in several functions, inter alia as special advisor to the Secretary General. Mr Penninckx lectured at several universities and was involved in civil society organizations both as a volunteer and as a professional. During his time in the Pompidou Group, he strongly promoted a human rights-based approach to drugs policies around the world and facilitated the accession of several European, North African and Middle East countries to the Group. Also Mexico became an Observer State of the Group.

Cooperation in the Mediterranean forges ahead in 2014 and the pace should continue in 2015

After a successful 2014 year which saw progress in the development of national observatories, the publication of country profiles, the ongoing training of medical staff through addictology courses and MedSPAD school surveys in Morocco and Tunisia, the Mediterranean Network for Co-operation on Drugs and Addictions (MedNET) will implement an ambitious work programme aimed at improving two-way transfer cooperation and enhance drug policies in the Mediterranean region. Danielle Jourdain-Menninger, President of Pompidou Group, chaired the MedNET meeting that was held in Strasbourg on 18 November 2014. Representatives of Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia adopted the 2014 annual activity report and the 2015 work programme. This ambitious programme will cover both country specific activities aiming at sustaining ongoing new activities and and regional activities such as the new participation of MedNET in the Pompidou Group airport groups, and a regional conference on Opiate Substitution Treatment and Risk Reduction, and the participation in the first European Conference on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies.

suite Final activity report

Online prevention and treatment

Member States of the Pompidou Group discussed how the internet could be used to improve drug prevention and treatment services at the regional TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange) workshop in Tirana, 3-4 November. The workshop aimed at contributing to defining the needs on internet-based interventions in the region, offering concrete solutions based on experience from the EU and regional cooperation. The event was organised in cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Health and gathered experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYROM, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia as well as from Germany, the Netherlands and Slovenia. The representatives of the Ministry of Health of Albania opened the meeting underlining the importance of sharing good practices and new developments in internet-based drug prevention and treatment interventions in Europe. An exchange between EU Member States and IPA (Pre Accession Assistance) beneficiaries is crucial to harmonise drug policy and to extent concrete expertise on development of suitable internet-based tools. One of the goals of the EU Drug Strategy 2013-2020 is to expand the availability, accessibility and coverage of effective and diversified drug treatment to problem drug users.

Norway elected for Presidency of the Pompidou Group

Ministers and Heads of Delegations elected Norway for the 2015-2018 Presidency of the Pompidou Group represented by Secretary of State from Norway Mrs Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg and Italy, represented by Mrs Patrizia de Rose Head of Technical Scientific and General Affairs Office Department for Anti-Drug Policies, for the Vice-Presidency at the 16th Ministerial Conference which took place in Strasbourg on 19-20 November. Moreover, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, congratulated Minister Malden Ćavar on Bosnia-Herzegovina joining the Pompidou Group and becoming the 37th Member State. Another highlight was the announcement of the three winning youth organisations of the European Drug Prevention Prize from France, Portugal and Croatia.


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