MedNET, the Mediterranean network for co-operation on drugs and addictions of the Pompidou Group, promotes cooperation, exchange and mutual transfer of knowledge between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean (North-South and South-North exchanges), as well as among Mediterranean countries (South-South exchanges).
Ten Years of MedNET
On 30 November 2016, the MedNET network celebrated its tenth anniversary in Rabat, Morocco.
A number of publications have been produced to mark the occasion, recounting the history of the network over the last ten years, and focusing on how the drug situation has evolved in the six countries on the southern rim of the network: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.

A series of papers on the impact of the network has also been published. It includes a report presenting the network's added value, the results of a survey of the MedNET participants, and a timeline representing the highlights of the network.

Evaluation participants
MedNET Impact

The anniversary of MedNET was also an opportunity to welcome two new members, Palestine and Turkey, and celebrate the continued success of the network, whose budget has increased tenfold since its creation.

The event was followed by the Fifth International Francophone Conference on 'Opioid Dependence Treatment: TDOs at the meeting point of science and human rights'.

Long term objectives
The objective of MedNET is to promote cooperation and mutual exchange of knowledge between Mediterranean countries (North-South and South-North) and within Mediterranean countries (South-South), in particular through:
- developing and implementing coherent and balanced policies on drugs which respect human rights and incorporate the gender dimension, and are based on evidence collected by national observatories
- improving public health and implementing drug policies in the region while respecting human rights and the needs expressed by the countries
- strengthening the political and democratic process in the region by promoting the right to health of drug users and supporting the necessary legislative reforms.

Information booklets

Creation and development
The Pompidou Group started its activities in the Mediterranean region in Malta in 1999 with a conference on ‘cooperation in the Mediterranean region on drug use’.
Following this conference, the magnitude of the drug problem in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon was studied for the first time in the region as part of the ‘Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and other drugs in Schools’ (MedSPAD). This project provides an overview of drug use among young people in schools in the Mediterranean region and their attitudes towards drugs.
In 2006, at the initiative of France and the Netherlands, the Mediterranean Network (MedNET) was created with the participation of Algeria, Morocco, Malta and Tunisia and the commitment of the Pompidou Group to coordinate and manage the network. It was created for a period of one year, at the end of which its smooth functioning was recognised. The network has continued its activities ever since.
MedNET’s activities are undergoing constant development and are helping promote effective and appropriate responses to drug use through exchange of good practices and regional cooperation in the fields of research on the situation of drug use, prevention, addiction care and treatment, and implementation of the law.
Since 2012, MedNET has worked in partnership with the South Programme, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe in order to strengthen democratic reform in the Southern neighbourhood. The South II Programme is continuing in 2015-2017 under the heading ‘Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean’.
Functioning of the network
In each country, the ministry in charge of drug issues designates a national representative authorised to act on behalf of the government.
The representatives of the 15 countries (Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey and Palestine) meet twice a year.
During the Spring meeting, the Committee of MedNET Correspondents reviews the programme’s implementation in the first half of that year. The programme can be adjusted in light of current events and emerging priorities in the different countries.
During the Autumn meeting, the committee adopts an activity report for that year and the programme for the following year on the basis of activity proposals made by each country and on the basis of regional activities. The programme is adopted by consensus on the basis of the available budget for the year.
The network’s flexible functioning allows it to respond rapidly to new demands.
Activity report: communication and transparency results
The network publishes an activity report each year.

suite 2016 Activity report
suite 2015 Activity report

Target groups
The network is aimed at professionals in the field: medical personnel, social workers, NGO representatives, researchers, administrators in the field of prevention, health and law enforcement, and policymakers.
Participating countries
When initiated in 2006, the network project was aimed at North Africa. In Europe, its partners were France, the Netherlands and Malta. Since then, the network has been expanded to twelve countries. Lebanon, Italy, Spain and Portugal joined in 2007, Tunisia in 2009, Jordan, Egypt and Cyprus in 2010 and Greece in 2011. Spain withdrew in 2013.
There were therefore twelve countries participating by 2016: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia.
On 30 November 2016 Pompidou Group member Turkey is joining MedNET, as is Palestine. The network now comprises 14 countries that will work together to develop and implement the MedNET 2017 programme.

suite Country profiles: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia (in French, English and Arabic) 2014

suite MedNET’s Impact reports: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia (in French, English and Arabic)
The MedNET countries express their opinion on the impact of the cooperation activities:
During the 14th MedNET meeting in Rabat, the representatives of ten MedNET countries participating in the event spoke about the impact of the MedNET cooperation on their countries.

suite Interview by Mr. Jallal Toufiq, Morocco (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, Jordan (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
Financing of the network
The budget is financed mainly through voluntary contributions, including in 2006 from the Netherlands and France, followed by Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain in later years.
In 2016, the funding continues to come from voluntary contributions from France and Italy. The budget is also financed by the South II Programme and additional funding (Norway’s 2016-2017 contribution for Morocco and Tunisia as part of the Council of Europe’s neighbourhood policy).
Results and achievements
Drug use among teenagers in the Mediterranean is being revealed by the MedSPAD survey

After the success of the first MedSPAD survey, which was an adaptation of the ESPAD school surveys in Europe, MedSPAD surveys were conducted at national level in Lebanon in 2008 and in Morocco in 2009. 2013 saw the MedSPAD repeated in Morocco and the implementation of MedSPAD in Tunisia, demonstrating the importance of this instrument for recording the drug use of young people in school and their attitudes towards this drug use. In 2015, it was the turn of Egypt to launch the survey, followed by Algeria in 2016.
The MedSPAD committee published a report in 2015 on the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and drug use among adolescents. This is the only report to date which covers data from nine countries: Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Malta, Portugal and Tunisia. This is a first step and a first attempt to present data from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

First regional MedSPAD report: A First Glance at the Situation in the Mediterranean Region in Relation to the Prevalence of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use among Adolescents (P-PG/Med(2015)27)
suite MedSPAD Tunisia report 2013 (P-PG/Med(2014)19)
suite MedSPAD Morocco report 2009, 2013 (P-PG/MedNET(2014)22)
suite Guidelines for the Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD) 2015 (P-PG/Med(2015)33/1 and P-PG/Med(2016) 26)
suite MedSPAD Lebanon report 2009
suite Le rôle de la recherche scientifique dans l’élaboration des politiques drogues, actes séminaire Alger, décembre 2006 (in French and in Arabic)
suite Validity and reliability of school surveys based on the ESPAD methodology in Algeria, Libya and Morocco, 2004 (P-PG/Res-Med(2004)2)

Observatories on drugs and addictions are being created in the Mediterranean region

The Moroccan Observatory on Drugs and Addiction published its first report in 2015. The Egyptian Observatory on Drugs and Addiction has developed a data collection system on treatment.
TDI (Treatment Demand Indicator) protocol is now available in Arabic.

suite Annual report of the National Observatory on Drugs and Addiction - Morocco 2014

Legislation on drugs is evolving and national drug strategies are developed

A National Substance Use Strategy was launched in Beirut on 22 December 2016 with the Pompidou Group’s support for its development and implementation in 2017.

suite The report on the National Drug Strategy for Lebanon is now available.
suite Meeting the needs for treatments and treatment centres in Egypt (Egypt, March 2012)
Report prepared by the General Secretariat of Mental Health of the Ministry of Health and Population as part of the ‘Filling the Gap’ project
suite Situational Needs Assessment (Lebanon, September 2011)
Report prepared by Skoun (Lebanese Addiction Centre) as part of the ‘Filling the Gap’ project

Targeted prevention activities are being implemented

Prevention material is being produced in Morocco, an advice and information centre for young people has been created in Lebanon, a life skills programme has been set up in schools in Lebanon, staff working in the nightlife industry have undergone training.

Capacity building is multiplying

Specialists are being trained, courses on addiction studies have been created in Morocco and Tunisia, training seminars in Algeria have been organised. In 2017, Egypt has established a national board for accreditation and certification of addiction counselors.

suite Egypt  Accreditation (in English only) 
suite Education and training on disorders related to substance use 2013 (P-PG/Res-Edu(2013)4)
suite Syllabus of the Rabat University Diploma in addiction studies (2013-2015)
suite Tunis postgraduate certificate in addiction studies
suite Formation de formateurs sur la mise en œuvre de projets de prévention en matière de toxicomanie en Algérie, séminaire de formation à Zeralda, Batna, Oran et Ghardaia en 2009
Support pédagogique (in French and in Arabic)
suite Actes – prise en charge des toxicomanes, séminaires de formation et médecins dans le cadre du projet MedNET, 1er semestre 2008, Algérie (in French and Arabic)
suite Programme de maintenance à la méthadone au Maroc, octobre 2008 (in French)

Cooperation in the field of law enforcement is being extended

The MedNET member countries are included in the Pompidou Group’s law enforcement activities.

Access to care for all drug users is being improved

Opioid substitution treatment has been introduced in Morocco and Lebanon. In Algeria, Opioid Substitution Treatment is being launched in a pilot phase. Specialised services for women are being created in Egypt and services for teenagers are being developed in Egypt.

suite Final report for adolescent addiction service development Egypt (P-PG/Med(2016)21) 
suite OST seminar in Algeria (this document availabe in French and Arabic)

The gender dimension is gradually being integrated into drug policy

Specific needs of women are being taken into account.

Drafting of a report on the development of specialised services for the care of pregnant drug users in Egypt.

MedNET newsletters

suite January-February 2017
suite March-April 2017
suite May-June 2017