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

2014 News
Call for tenders: Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners

The Pompidou Group calls for tenders for a long-term consultancy in the framework of the Joint Programme Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF) 2015-2017. The deadline to respond to the call is 12 December 2014. The project “Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners” is focussing on training for prison staff, establishing regional co-operation, and developing a strategic approach on prison overcrowding and on alternatives to imprisonment.


The Expert Mission to Ukraine.

After a successful mission from 17 to 21 May, the Pompidou Group delegation and medical expert team returned safely from Ukraine. In Dnepropetrovsk, near the conflict zone in the East of Ukraine, they met with displaced Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) patients from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine who reported patients’ rights violations and hardships which they experienced as a direct consequence of the ban of OST in Crimea and lack of Methadone supply in Eastern Ukraine. In Kiev they met the Deputy Health Minister of Ukraine who said he would support the displaced patients in close cooperation with the Pompidou Group and other International Organisations. Together with local OST coordinators and civil society organisations the Pompidou Group developed recommendations on how to react to this humanitarian emergency situation. Follow-up intervention will be coordinated with partner organisations such as UNODC, UNAIDS and WHO.

suite Final Mission Report
suite Background on OST crisis in Ukraine

Stopping cybercrime

From 28 to 29 October, the Working Group on Cybercrime of the Pompidou Group held a meeting dedicated to drug trafficking through virtual networks. The meeting brought together computer scientists, drug policy experts, law enforcement specialists, as well as Interpol and UNODC officials to discuss sensitive issues related to drugs markets, its functioning, its growth and decentralisation, as well as the consequences of virtual currency used in the ‘Darknet’ and in illicit drug trade. The workshop was opened by Lars Meling from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, and Jan Kleijssen, Director of Information Society and Action against Crime. The participants called for concentrated action jointly with UNODC and Interpol to respond to the development of the Darknet and suggested setting up forensic rapid labs to check for illicit substances.

Towards a better picture of drug use in the Mediterranean region

Algeria will conduct a major survey on substance use among adolescents in 2015. The “Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs in Schools” (MedSPAD) will provide an insight into drug use and attitudes towards drugs in the Mediterranean region and is an adaptation of the ESPAD school surveys conducted in Europe. The methodology of the research project in Algeria was discussed at a workshop in Paris, 2nd October 2014. In the framework of the Pompidou Groups Mediterranean network for co-operation on drugs and addictions (MedNET) similar school surveys had successfully been carried out in Lebanon in 2008 and Morocco in 2009. In 2013, the MedSPAD survey was repeated in Morocco and a MedSPAD survey was conducted in Tunisia. At the MedSPAD Committee Meeting on 1st of October the experts discussed how MedSPAD surveys can contribute to a better comparability of data concerning substance use among youth in northern Africa and Europe.

How to prevent psychosocial risks and addictions

The international conference on prevention of the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace was held in Strasbourg from 15 to 16 October 2014. On this occasion, the represented countries – fifteen Member States, joined by Mexico as an Observer State and two third countries, Brazil and Spain – went forward by making their approaches towards the use of drugs in the workplace more tangible. At the heart of the debate, a narrow correlation between the psychosocial risks and the addictions was put forward and commented on. This conference will be considered as a milestone thanks to the richness and variety of its interventions, the involvement of the attending countries and the support of international organizations, which found in these debates a breeding ground for the diffusion of the prevention policies they are advocating.

The 16th Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group

The Ministerial Conference will take place at the Council of Europe on 19 and 20 of November. Participants from all over Europe and beyond, including non-member states and observer states, are gathering in Strasbourg to participate to the most important structural event of the Group. The Pompidou Group’s core mission is to contribute to the development of effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states, with special attention to the safeguard of human rights within international drug policies. The 16th Ministerial Conference will present the achievements of the 2011-2014 work programme and adopt the new 2015-2018 work programme to guarantee the functional and efficient continuation of the Pompidou Group’s main activities. During the conference also, the Pompidou Group Presidency and Vice-Presidency for the next four-year period are elected. Tackling addictive behaviors in its embryonic stage is the fundamental ratio behind another principal capital and cornerstone of the event: the awards under the 2014 European Prevention Prize, serving the goal of promoting the involvement of young people in drug prevention projects, will be presented at the Ministerial Conference. Challenging debates regarding new generation psychoactive consumptions and comprehensive drug policy developments will provide the participants the possibilities to exchange practical knowledge and make strategic contributions towards tackling future challenges.

See Conference Programme HERE

The Pompidou Group Permanent Correspondents Bureau prepared the four year Work Programme.

The second Pompidou Group Permanent Correspondents Bureau meeting was held in Paris in October 2014. The Bureau prepared the Ministerial Conference that will take place in Strasbourg on 19-20 November. This included the finalization of the draft of the new Work Programme for 2015-2017 and the draft of the Declaration to be adopted at the Ministerial Conference. Furthermore, the candidatures for the next Pompidou Group Presidency and Vice-Presidency were discussed. The next Bureau meeting will be held in early 2015.

Estimating public expenditures in the field of drugs

Drugs impose many costs on society: the development of a wide understanding of the drug-related public expenditure to estimate social costs is a top priority in order to address this economic and social menace.
This is the awareness that animated the 2014 Reitox Academy “Estimating public expenditures in the field of drugs” that took place in Israel, 30 September - 1 October. Organized by the Israel Anti-Drug Authority in cooperation with the EMCDDA, the Academy welcomed 35 experts that shared methodological expertise in the field of drug-related public expenditures, both within and beyond the EU, with the main objective of sharing good practices in estimating drug policy related costs and cooperate for a roadmap to estimate the drug-related expenditures in Israel.
Mr Thomas Kattau, Deputy Executive-Secretary of the Pompidou Group, provided the audience with insights about the importance and challenges of bridging the economic evaluation of drug policy with policy makers, describing as indispensable the contextualization of economic data, calculation of efficiency and effectiveness and investment prioritisation.
As a result, the PG reinforced relationships with experts in the field, especially with the hosting IADA that proposed a future PG Work Programme on drug policy related public costs.

Istanbul Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health

More than 1500 people came to the Symposium in Istanbul on 29 September which was opened by the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of the Pompidou Group, Danielle Jourdain-Menninger. The participants of this large-scale event could listen to state-of-the-art presentations by drug policy experts, participate in workshops on public health and harm reduction and discuss with leading researchers current international drug trends and challenges. The symposium underlined the importance of reorienting drug policies towards an evidence-based approach in public health.The event was organised by the Turkish Green Crescent Society with the support of the Pompidou Group, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction as well as different Turkish Ministries. Turkey is a Member State of the Pompidou Group since 1980. The Pompidou Group brought experts from twenty countries to share best practices in drug related health policy with the Symposium participants. 

Gender and Drugs

The Gender dimension of Non Medical Use of Prescription Drugs was the topic of a conference in Rome on 22 September 2014.
Researchers from 17 countries, UNICRI and EMCDDA discussed the study report conducted and funded at the initiative of the Department for Anti-Drug policies of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Italy.
Carried out within less than a year to reply to an emerging trend in Europe, this study is the first of its kind. It explored gender differences and identified gaps in the participating countries.
This study is all the more important that it is the priority of the current Italian EU Presidency.
From the data available, the study reveals that women are a high risk category for NMUPD and that no standardized monitoring system for NMUPD exists in Europe and in the Mediterranean Region. On this evidence, the report makes a number of recommendations at country level and international level that would be passed to the Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group, as government representatives.

OPEN HERE our publication Gender Dimension of Non Medical Use of Prescription Drugs

Drug Policy Roadmap for Ukraine adopted

At the International Conference on “Reducing Drug Demand - Improving Human Life”  that took place in Kyiv, 11-12 September, a road map for action was unanimously adopted by the participants. Drug policy experts from Europe and the USA as well as more than 250 Ukrainian high level decision-makers, specialists and practitioners developed together tangible steps aimed to reduce drug demand and health risks. Most debated topics were the continuation of harm reduction measures in times of crisis, drug treatment services in prisons and community as well as effective drug prevention for youth. The conference was organised by the Pompidou Group, UNODC and the Ukrainian State Service for Drug Control with the support of civil society organisations. We hope that the conference will send out a signal that Europe and Ukraine stand closely together in order to tackle crucial reforms aimed to further improve the health of the Ukrainian people.

You can find HERE all the presentations from the Conference

The 57th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, 13-21 March 2014: Resolution on theoretical and practical training concerning drug use related disorders.

An urgent response to the needs caused by drug use related disorders prompted the Pompidou Group Permanent Correspondent from Greece to call for action. The call was addressed by a group of experts who produced a report and made the required recommendations.
The report served as basis for a resolution presented by Greece on behalf of the United Nations Member States, European Union countries as well as Israel and Peru.
This newly adopted resolution invites UN Member States to further strengthen the professional knowledge and skills of specialists working with people suffering from drug use related disorders; providing them with complex training programs and scientific education, based on valid knowledge, coupled with an interdisciplinary approach and exchange of best practices.
Drug Policy Training in Athens

Today, trends such as new psychoactive substances, misuse of prescription medicines, "legal highs" and increasing poly-drug use pose a challenge for drug policy makers in Europe. Austerity measures and budgetary constraints exacerbate all of these problems and complicate the effective implementation of drug policies. The Pompidou Group’s Executive Training on Drug Policy that will take place in Athens, 8 – 12 September 2014, aims to train drug policy makers and experts to better respond to these challenges. For example the participants will jointly reflect on a minimum set of services that have to be ensured regardless of the specific economic situation.

Pompidou Group at the Drug Policy Forum in Mexico

In order to find solutions concerning the ongoing fight against international drug trafficking cartels and drug abuse in Mexico the Pompidou Group participated in discussions with Mexican drug policy experts at the Drug Policy Forum in Mexico City, 29-31 July 2014. Policy makers, researchers, scientists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and NGOs debated drug policy and public health interventions in an open, respectful and well-informed dialogue.
The Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, Mr Patrick Penninckx, was invited by the Director General of the Centros de Integracion Juvenil (CIJ), Ms Carmen Fernandez, the major Mexican NGO involved in addiction treatment, prevention and rehabilitation to visit one of their rehabilitation and reintegration centres in Mexico City. The CIJ is a key partner for the Pompidou Group in Mexico and supports alongside with governmental representatives the Group’s work. Mexico is an Observer State of the Council of Europe and of the Pompidou Group.

New generations – challenges for existing drug policies

The 16th Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group to be held in Strasbourg 19 – 20 November 2014 is dedicated to drug use and trafficking trends that challenge traditional drug policies. In order to better address the problems that societies face today Ministers and high level representatives from the 36 Member States of the Pompidou Group, Council of Europe Member States and Observer States as well as MedNET and Central Asia countries will discuss strategic directions for dealing with a new generation of drug users, new psychoactive substances and addictions as well as the challenges and opportunities concerning the internet. The representatives of Member States will also elect a new President and Vice-President of the Pompidou Group and adopt the new Work Programme for 2015-2018. The Conference will in fact provide an opportunity for all countries to exchange views on the latest political developments and challenges in the field of drugs and define the areas on which the Pompidou Group will work in the four years to come.

Attention is the best prevention

The Pompidou Group launched together with the Ukrainian Drug Control Service, UNICEF and the NGO Aids Foundation East-West (AFEW) two new drug prevention video clips with the title “Our Attention is the Best Prevention”. The launch is part of a nationwide drug prevention campaign targeting parents and children in Ukraine. The shorter drug prevention clip will soon be broadcast on the Ukrainian television. The longer clip will be used for drug prevention education at schools and other institution promoting the health of children.

Link to the short video clip
Link to the longer video clip

On the occasion of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking: Pompidou Group recalls the need to protect public health by ensuring essential services in drug policy also in times of economic crisis and budgetary constraints!

The Pompidou Group is concerned the changing patterns of drug use under circumstances of strict austerity measures, such as the possible risk of an earlier onset of drug use, the increasing prevalence of injecting use, relapses, risk taking and overdosing, particularly among vulnerable groups, impacts on public health as well as on criminality. This increases the risk that the effects of economic crisis result in discriminatory attitudes of society towards drug use and people who use drugs.

Law enforcement officials examine drug trafficking via International Airports

Drug trafficking through airports is a global issue that does not stop at a nation’s border. Hence, law enforcement officials as well as representatives of the private sector from Europe, Australia, USA, Mexico, Japan, North Africa and the Middle East were present at the Pompidou Group’s Plenary Meeting of the Airports Group that took place in Strasbourg on 18-20 June. Meeting once a year, the group primarily acts as a forum for the exchange of practical information on problems and operational practice, developing specific projects to deepen the level of co-operation among police, customs and border control officers of drug squads. In order to successfully combat drug trafficking trough airports, it is necessary to build strong co-operation between services internationally. With this in mind, experts discussed state-of-the-art technologies such as the use of drones, post parcel detection tools and investigations in the Darknet. Furthermore, experts debated on new detection techniques. They concluded that the drug market is a global issue that nations would be unable to solve without consistent cooperation across Borders.

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.

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.

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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