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

2014 News
Palestinian delegates speak at Strasbourg meeting

For the first time delegates from the Palestinian Territories participated at the 15th Mediterranean Network (MedNET) meeting held in Strasbourg on 2 June. The delegates presented key developments and trends concerning drugs in their territories and reiterated their strong interest to cooperate with the MedNET. A tailor-made study visit to France has already been organised for Palestinian experts by the French drugs agency MILDECA 3-4 June. At the meeting the participants from 12 Mediterranean countries and representatives from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) discussed joint projects and state-of-the-art interventions in the field of drug dependence treatment. The recently published report “Education and training on substance use disorders” was lauded as a good example of the fruitful cooperation in the South-South dimension within the Pompidou Group.

Pompidou Group calls for urgent support of SMT patients in Ukraine

At the 74th Permanent Correspondents meeting, policy makers from the 36 Member States of the Pompidou Group called for immediate actions for the continuation of Substitution Maintenance treatment (SMT) in Ukraine in times of crisis. The Russian delegation informed delegates that a medical and humanitarian expert team could be sent later this summer to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea where – since Russian legislation applies - treatment with methadone has been banned. More than 800 patients previously enrolled in SMT are now without medication in Crimea. Some patients left to mainland Ukraine in order to seek treatment there or have been transferred to hospitals in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow.
The Correspondents also started the preparation of the Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group to be held in Strasbourg from 19-20 November this year with the theme “New Generations – challenges for existing drug policies”.

suite Find the report HERE



International organisations jointly committed to healthy prisons

The expert meeting on prison health in Europe which took place in Strasbourg on the 27 May was opened by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni who advocated for good prison health across Europe based on international standards. The meeting was jointly organised by the Pompidou Group in co-operation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and brought together high level representatives of international organisations in the field of prison health as well as representatives from the European Court of Human Rights, the European Committee for the prevention of Torture and the Criminal Law Cooperation Unit of the Council of Europe. The aim was to outline the current institutional landscape of prison health in Europe and to explore how to achieve a stronger commitment of health authorities for prisoners’ health. It was agreed that the existing body of international rules and standards for the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of prisoners must be subject to continuous evaluation and development and must take into account the latest developments and scientific evidence in the fields of human rights protection, medical ethics, prevention of torture and ill-treatment and public health. The meeting was also an opportunity to launch together with WHO the new version of the prison health handbook “Prisons and Health”.

suite Prisons Health in Europe



Drugs and Cybercrime

The first meeting of the expert group on “Drugs and Cybercrime” organized by the Pompidou Group was held in Strasbourg on 14 and 15 May 2014.
By bringing together the “internet investigators” with the “real world -drug- investigators” the Pompidou Group has set up a new expert forum tasked to raise awareness, provide a forum for exchange of professional and to create a network. The aim is to empower “real world drug investigators” to more effectively tackle internet related drug supply. By connecting them with “internet investigators” the often missing interface between cyber investigations and the pursuit of drug supply crimes can be bridged.
The expert group’s mission focuses on identifying the major suppliers of illegal drugs and large scale selling (even if the individual shipments are small). Since the risk of detection and conviction of internet based drug sales is still low, trends point towards a development of street dealing shifting towards the internet.
By the end of its mandate the expert group is also expected to develop guidelines, checklist for investigation and concrete action, as well as possible a manual on drugs and internet targeted supply reduction resulting in better detection and investigation of these criminal drugs cases.

EU-Asia Dialogue

The EU-Asia Dialogue and Centre for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea’s Conference on Euro-Asian Cooperation on Combating Transnational Organized Crimes by Sea was held in Beijing on 12 May 2014. The Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group attended the conference at the invitation of the “EU-Asia Dialogue: Shaping a Common Future for Europe and Asia” project. Mr Patrick Penninckx made a presentation at the Policy Conference on Combating Organized Crimes and reiterated the importance of fostering maritime route trafficking law enforcement instruments and policies in place. He had bilateral meetings with the Director Mr Wang Yumei and Deputy Director General Mr Deng Ming of the China National Narcotics Control Commission and also met Ms Wu Tingfang and Ms Liu Peipei of the National Precursor Control Division. China participated in the work of the Pompidou Group on Chemical Precursor Diversion In this context the Pompidou Group was the first organisation to be informed of the decision of China to make the precursor APAAN (alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile) illicit. The Pompidou Group in cooperation with the Dutch Police has produced a Handbook discussing the conversion of APAAN to BMK (benzyl methyl ketone) for the illicit production of amphetamines. The handbook is now widely used in Law Enforcement agencies in Europe.

Experts mission to Ukraine

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine a mission of experts representing Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and Slovenia will travel to Ukraine on 16-21 May in order to assess the situation concerning Opiate substitution treatment and to develop an emergency plan. The mission is organised by the Pompidou Group together with the Ukrainian Drug Control Service in conjunction with local and international partners.
The expert mission will assess the needs for Methadone supply in dispensaries, clinics and pharmacies that may receive more clients due to the closure of Methadone dispensaries in Crimea. The experts will also conduct information seminars for physicians and therapists providing Methadone treatment based on international guidelines. Furthermore, the team is expected to share information about best practices and emergency guidelines in case that the provision of medicines included under the WHO list of Essential Medicines such as Methadone and HIV medicines is interrupted. Pharmacists and doctors from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, who will not be able to attend trainings will also be contacted and advised regarding the emergency measures in place. The general public will be informed about the emergency plan and the commitment of Ukrainian authorities and the international community to continue the treatment of drug dependence patients and to fight HIV during the current humanitarian crisis.
The Russian Federation informed the Pompidou Group that their specialists are taking care of patients in Crimea. Without the permission from the de facto authorities to access Crimea it will currently not be possible to send a team to the peninsula.

Official visit to the Czech Republic

The Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe was on a three day official visit to the Czech Republic on the 23rd April. He met with Mr Jindrich Voboril, the Czech Drug Coordinator and members of the Drug Policy Department of the Czech government, Ms Lucia Kissova, Head of the Subsidies Department and Ms Barbora Orlikova, Head of the International Relations Unit as well as other prominent Czech researchers and politicians working in the field of drugs policy. He had further meetings with former Mayor of Prague and former Permanent Correspondent of the Pompidou Group Pavel Bem who is also a Member of the Global Drug Commission, as well as Mr Tomas Zabransky, professor and senior drug policy researcher. The Pompidou Group Executive Secretary also visited independent treatment centres and the NGO ‘Progressive’ ’This NGO offers drug users low threshold services, outreach programmes as well as syringe and needle exchange programmes. ‘Progressive’ has an innovative approach to tertiary prevention and distributes harm reduction materials through vending machines. This visit to Prague was the first step in preparations of a major conference on Methamphetamine to take place in 2015.

The MedNET countries express their opinion on the impact of the cooperation activities

During the 14th MedNET meeting in Rabat, the representatives of 10 MedNET countries participating in the event, gave an interview on the impact of MedNET cooperation in their country.

suite Webpage of the MedNET network
suite Interview by Mr. Jallal Toufiq, Marocco (French only)
suite Interview by Mr. Richard Muscat, Malta
suite Interview by Mr. Ramzi Haddad, Lebanon (French only)
suite Interview by Mr. Abdullah Al Khraisat, la jordanie (Arab only)
suite Interview by Ms. Elisabetta Simeoni, Italy
suite Interview by Ms. Minerva Malliori, Greece
suite Interview by Ms. Danièle Jourdain-Menninger, France (French only)
suite Interview by Mr. Emad Hamdi-Ghoz, Egypt
suite Interview by Ms. Leda Christodoulou, Cyprus

Medical and humanitarian crisis in Crimea

The Bureau of the Pompidou Group expressed grave concern on the immediate problems resulting from the lack of provision of opioid substitution treatment to 803 patients in Crimea, who are in need of urgent humanitarian aid and medical assistance.
They are alerted about the immediate and severe risks to health following a discontinuation of opioid substitution treatment which is illegal in the Russian Federation, notably the resulting pain and suffering, as well as the risk of death from overdosing.
The Russian authorities provided explanations on the current situation and expressed willingness to enter into direct contact with the Ukrainian authorities on this issue.
Council of Europe member States have the obligation to provide adequate health care under Article 2 on the protection of life under the European Convention on Human Rights and are requested to follow the guiding principles of the Policy paper on preventing risks and reducing harm linked to the use of psychoactive substances adopted by the Pompidou Group in 2013.
The Bureau considers it high priority that the de facto authorities continue to provide substitution treatment with the medicines included under the WHO list of Essential Medicines. The Group is requested to look into ways to assist the other Ukrainian regions in their efforts to provide aid in this medical and humanitarian crisis. A medical expert mission to Crimea is currently under discussion.

European Drug Prevention Prize 2014

The deadline for entries to the European Drug Prevention Prize 2014 has now passed! A total of 56 projects applied, with submissions from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Turkey and "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''. The Pompidou Group will award the prize to the three most innovative grass-roots drug prevention projects. A jury of seven young people engaged in drug prevention work from across Europe and beyond will now assess the projects. They will meet at the Council of Europe at the end of August to make their final selection, with the support of three experts. A crucial factor in the jury's decision will be the extent to which young people are involved in the projects. They will be looking for evidence of youth participation in the development and implementation of activities, decision-making, project management and/or evaluation. The Prize will be awarded at the 16th Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group in November 2014. Each winning project will receive a trophy, a certificate and €5,000 to boost its activities. Good luck!

Bureau Meeting in Paris

The first bureau meeting of the Permanent Correspondents of 2014 was held on the 2nd of April in Paris. At the meeting, the Bureau members and the Secretariat discussed the activities carried out after the 73rd Permanent Correspondents Meeting as well as the progress of the on-going work. The Bureau was briefed about bi-lateral and multi-lateral contacts with member and non-member states, international and other organisations, budget and finances as well as recent political developments in the drug policy field. Concerns were raised about the situation in the Crimea concerning patients under opioid substitution whose treatment will be discontinued in the current context. Moreover, the Bureau discussed a proposal of a preliminary draft programme for the Ministerial Conference for the consideration of the Permanent Correspondents at their 74th meeting in June, together with ideas for a possible theme of the Ministerial Conference and sub-themes for presentations by the Ministers. Among the most important topics discussed were the future Presidency of the Pompidou Group and the preparation of the 2015 – 2018 Work Programme.

Regional drug policy cooperation in South-East Europe

Together with more than 70 key partners, experts and all Permanent Correspondents from South East Europe, Mr. Patrick Penninckx, the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, has participated at the TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument managed by the European Commission) workshop on drug addiction treatment held in Sarajevo on 26-27 March 2014. Mr. Penninckx reiterated the importance of South East Europe for cooperation and stressed the necessity to further develop evidence-based and coherent drug policies in the region. The workshop has been jointly organised by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the aim to enhance the quality of drug addiction treatment in the region and share European best practices. E-mental health, the links between substance abuse and behavioural addictions, the growing crisis of dependence in children, the collection of precise data on the evolution of drug addiction in the region as well as future perspectives for cooperation in the region are the key topics that have been discussed. This was the sixth South East Europe regional cooperation event to cover health consequences of substance abuse. Previous meetings were held in Ljubljana, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, Podgorica and Athens. As a follow up to the workshop it was suggested to update the Pompidou Group publication on treatment systems in South East Europe and to plan for a workshop on the use of the Internet in prevention and treatment of drug addiction to be organised in Tirana.

High Level Segment of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna
 
The Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, Patrick Penninckx, represented the Council of Europe and the Pompidou Group at the High Level Segment of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna on13-14 March 2014, as well as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs the following week. The Pompidou Group distributed four policy papers to the delegates: on harm reduction, on training and education, on addictology, on austerity policies as well as the drug policy country profile for Israel. The first two documents formed the basis for Resolutions that were adopted by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Mr Penninckx had bilateral meetings with several national drug coordinators, Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group and other high-level representatives.

International Women's day

Pompidou Group introduces a new research project on the gender dimension of prescription drug misuse. Up to now, the monitoring of substance misuse has focused on licit and illicit substances, but the non-medical use of prescription drugs is still not well-known. Around 20 countries covering Europe and the Mediterranean region will participate in a study to explore gender differences in non-medical use of prescription drugs through an analysis of available data, and identification of gaps in the data. This first study should lead to recommendations for further research, policy development and practice.

MedNET 2013 annual activity report now available

Since the setting up of the MedNET network, an annual activity report is published each year. The 2013 activity report is now available. It gives a summary of all the activities carried out in 2013 thanks to a funding by France, Italy and the Joint EU/Council of Europe South Programme.

suite
The 2013 activity report


Risk Prevention and Harm Reduction

The French Presidency of the Pompidou Group initiated work on a consensual definition of risk and harm reduction in order to provide policy makers with practical tools and guidance for the implementation of preventive measures, based on evidence. After more than two years of negotiation, this policy paper was adopted at the 73rd meeting of the Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group on 27 November 2013.

suite
Policy Paper ENGLISH
suite Policy Paper GERMAN

Athens declaration

One of the most important outcomes of the 73rd Permanent Correspondents meeting of the Pompidou Group was the adoption of the Declaration on protecting public health by ensuring essential services in drug policy under austerity measures (Athens Declaration). There is an urgent need to reverse the correlation between economic crisis, worrying public health trends and the risk of discrimination. The Athens Declaration notes that the global financial and economic crisis in Europe and the related austerity measures have already brought about and may imminently exacerbate challenges related to the health of the individual and of the population as a whole. Meni Malliori says in the interview that the meeting was a “good opportunity to share our anxieties, experiences and hopes for the future”.

Full interview with Meni Malliori, President of the Greek state-run Organization Against Drugs, OKANA about HIV prevention in Greece, austerity measures and the Athens Declaration can be found here.

suite Athens Declaration

Launch of European Drug Prevention Prize 2014- Call for application of projects

On 26 November 2013, during the 73rd Permanent Correspondents Meeting of the Pompidou Group, two jurors are launching the 6th European Drug Prevention Prize in Athens. We herewith are calling for projects to apply to the Prize 2014 which will be awarded at the end of 2014.
All 47 Council of Europe member states, Israel, Morocco, observer States as well as countries from the southern rim of the Mediterranean which are members of the Pompidou Group’s Mediterranean network for co-operation on drugs and addictions (MedNET) (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia) are invited to participate.

suite Call for application of projects
suite Podcast on the launch of the call for applications 2014
suite Concept, rules and procedures
suite Application form  

The 2014 Executive Training for Drug Policy Managers
The Permanent Correspondents agreed on the topic ‘drug policy implementation under budgetary constraints and austerity measures’ as the theme for the 2014 Executive Training for Drug Policy Managers. Already this week the steering group of experts met to start the preparations. As in the last years the EMCDDA will provide an important input to this activity together with other international experts. Information on how to apply will be posted next week.

suite Webpage of EMCDDA


The Pompidou Group supports social research by funding a new publication

Set up in 1990, the European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD) is an association of European social scientists working on drug issues who hold annual conferences. Its principal aim is to promote social science approaches to drug research, with special focus on Europe. At the time of its creation, research on drug issues in most European countries was dominated by the medical and therapeutic professions. Social science and qualitative research was hardly represented in the study of the aetiology and epidemiology of drug use as well as in research on social response and social control. ESSD was a response to a need for closer co-operation within the social science community. The recent funding by Pompidou Group, made it possible to print another book, “Snapshots of social drug research in Europe” which will be added to the list of valuable books being published each year.


 
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2014 European Drug Prevention Prize Jury Meeting


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