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Invitations for the 17th Ministerial Conference sent out!

Ministers and high-level State officials, as well as leaders of international organisations have received an invitation for the 17th Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group to take place in Norway in November 2018. Members of the invited national delegations may register by 30 September 2018, using the online form. All relevant information relating to the Conference, including a form for the request of speaking time, will be distributed by the Secretariat following registration.

Hosted by the Norwegian Presidency of the Pompidou Group, the 17th Ministerial Conference will take place in Stavanger (Norway), on 27-28 November 2018, dedicated to the theme ‘Sustainable and humane drug policies’.

The Conference will provide an opportunity for participating countries to exchange views on the latest political developments and challenges in the field of drug policy. The Programme includes the interactive presentation of activities implemented under the 2015-2018 Work Programme, the election of a new Presidency and Vice-Presidency for the Pompidou Group, as well as the adoption of the next Work Programme (2019-2022) and the final declaration.(15

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"Opioid Agonist Treatment, Guiding Principles for Legislation and Regulations"

With nearly 35 million opioid users worldwide, access to opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is a major health issue. Only 12 million are intravenous drug users and are at risk of becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These high-risk opioid users are close to 1.3 million in Europe. Only 50% have access to treatment and there are considerable differences from one country to another, between cities and rural territories, and in terms of population groups (women, minors, etc.). The major obstacle is the requirement to obtain prior approval, notwithstanding the effectiveness of this treatment which is beyond any doubt. Scaling up the access to opioid agonist medicines is a WHO recommendation and is part of the EU Action Plan on Drugs for 2017-2020. In particular, two medicines are deemed essential: methadone and buprenorphine. The report drafted by a group of health and legal experts thereby calls upon countries to review their national regulations in the light of four recommendations: (1) the delivery of opioid agonist medicines without prior approval; (2) the removal of financial barriers to health care access; (3) the setting up of a national consultative monitoring body; (4) the use of a neutral, precise and respectful terminology. All these courses of action are aimed at an equitable and timely access to health care, in alignment with the human rights-based approach recommended by the Pompidou Group.

 Pompidou Group