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

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.
  Is drug policy a choice between a rat cage and a rat paradise?

Reflections by Jan Malinowski, Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, on the occasion of the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking - 26 June.

“If we are confronted with different décors for drug-prone stress, neglect and hopelessness, against a possible backdrop of trauma – should the response not address the root cause with empathy, understanding and human warmth (the stereotypical: confront drugs with hugs) rather than stigmatisation and punishment?”

The topic has been covered in different languages. See the links below:


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.

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.

suite ARCHIVES (2015)

5-6, Cairo
Egypt Round Table

16-18, Prague
Annual Precursors Meeting

23-25, Lisbon
Lisbon Conference

suite Agenda 2015
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