Sex workers in the Netherlands are making history

Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan wrote a letter to Ivo Opstelten, then still in office as Dutch Minister of Security and Justice. In essence, the mayor asked him to create a legal instrument that would allow city administrations nationwide to collect and, if needed, share personal data about sex workers, which the Dutch Privacy Protection Law explicitly prohibits to be collected and shared. The mayor argued the need for this exemption with two policy goals: firstly, “to combat human trafficking effectively” and secondly, “to promote the self-reliance of prostitutes.” 

When this letter surfaced, Mariska Majoor, chairwoman of PROUD Nederland, the newly founded Dutch Union for Sex Workers, wrote a scathing response to the mayor on behalf of the sex workers’ collective, protesting the attempt to encourage legislation against the current law exclusively with regard to sex workers, and accusing him of using double standards. In public, he pretended to be in open conversation with sex workers, while behind their backs, he discriminated them by “advocating the violation of sex workers’ right to privacy.” Indeed, if this were to happen, all sex workers could consider themselves de facto outlaws despite the fact that sex work as such has been legal in the Netherlands since 1811, and still is. 

WHO moves to improve access to lifesaving medicines for hepatitis C, drug-resistant TB and cancers

WHO published the new edition of its Model List of Essential Medicines which includes ground-breaking new treatments for hepatitis C, a variety of cancers (including breast cancer and leukemia) and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB), among others. The move opens the way to improve access to innovative medicines that show clear clinical benefits and could have enormous public health impact globally

Hops Association held trainings on HIV prevention

Although we are living in a world where spreading and receiving information is fast and easy in our society the knowledge for the “modern” diseases, among like HIV/AIDS, is still on a low level. According to that, the need for acting on local and national level is quite high. This alarm comes as a result of the lack of appropriate sustainable mechanisms for raising the awareness of HIV prevention and drug use.

The Association HOPS - Healthy Options Project Skopje, within its activities related to HIV prevention in communities at highest risk, on May 7- 8, 2015  in hotel “Arena  - Teteks“ in Tetovo, held a two-day workshop for communities that are directly affected by this issue and for the representatives of local municipalities and institutions dealing with prevention. The workshop is organized within the project "HIV prevention and drug use among the citizens of border-line areas" funded by the European Union. Activities are implemented on the territory of four municipalities in Macedonia: Kumanovo, Tetovo, Gostivar and Skopje.

Call for Articles for the 4rd issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices magazine

HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje’s Center for Education, Documentation and Research and Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” announce call for articles for the 4th issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices.

Drugs – Policies and Practices promotes topics about drugs, drug use, drug treatment, and other related topics, such as: sex work, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis, rights of the marginalized groups/communities, gender perspectives, free access to public information, researches, policies, advocacy, civil society, activism, social work, social policy, health.

Drugs – Policies and Practices target audience are people who use drugs, people on drug addiction treatment, experts for drug use and drug treatment issues and all people with interest for these topics. It is published both in Macedonian (printed and online) and in English (online).

Drugs – Policies and Practices accepts articles, translated articles, news, promotions, columns/essays, pictures with socially enlightening content, campaigns related to D-PP topics. It is space for affirmation of personal opinions and opinions of institutions and organizations who work on such issues. If you have an opinion to declare, news to announce and to boost your campaign, please, contact Vanja Dimitrievski, vanjad@hops.org.mk.

The new Local Strategy on Drugs and Action Plan on Drugs of the City of Skopje were adopted last week

On February 18, 2015, starting at 10 am at the NGO center, MKC, the yearly meeting of the Coordinative Body for Drugs (KTD) of the City of Skopje was held. At the meeting, the activities of KTD for 2014 were reviewed, as well as the implemented activities in the area of prevention, treatment and harm reduction.

COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET?

Assessment and evaluation of advocacy efforts for the improvement of quality of drug dependence treatment programs in Skopje
 
This document contains the assessment of community-based monitoring and advocacy activities for the improvement of the quality of state supported programs for the treatment of drug dependencies in Skopje. In addition, this report asserts the barriers and the challenges for activism among people on drug treatment and gives recommendations for their overcoming.
 
Although there is no supporting environment in Macedonia for the developed of grass root activism among people treated for drug dependencies, monitoring and advocacy have created fertile grounds for the development of civil awareness in this community and their encouragement to activism.

The First National Conference on Drug Policy “From Laws Towards Public Health”

Repressive drug policies are inhumane and don’t give any results

On the 30th of September, The First National Drug Policy Conference took place in Skopje, organized by HOPS. Fifty participants from Macedonia and other countries, among them the National Drug Coordinator from the Czech Republic, Jindrich Voboril, discussed on the following topics: whether the repressive drug policies give results, whether the decriminalization of drugs is more efficient as a policy and what are the experiences in Macedonia, Czech Republic, Russia and Slovenia.

Key conclusion of the Conference was that repressive policies are inhumane, they have no impact on the reduction of drug use and they don’t give results.

Call for articles for the 3rd issue of Drugs – Policies and Practices

HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje’s Center for Education, Documentation and Research and Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” announce call for articles for the 3rd issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices.
 
Drugs – Policies and Practices promotes topics about drugs, drug use, drug treatment, and other related topics, such as: sex work, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis, rights of the marginalized groups/communities, gender perspectives, free access to public information, researches, policies, advocacy, civil society, activism, social work, social policy, health.
 
The main topic for the 3rd issue of the magazine is “Harm Reduction Policies”. Despite the main topic, we welcome all other articles related to afore mentioned topics.
 
Dead line for this call is October 10, 2014. 
 

The World Health Organization called for decriminalization of personal drug use

In the report by the World Health Organization announced in July this year with guidelines for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS among key populations, publicly called for the decriminalization of personal drug use. 
 
Based on the data from this report, in 49 countries, the risk of infection with HIV is on average, 22 times higher among people who inject drugs than the general population. It is estimated that 40% of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe occur among people who inject drugs and their sexual partners. 
 
In many of these countries harsh penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, and mandatory detention as a form of "treatment" of people who use drugs, are barriers to implementation of effective and efficient interventions for HIV/AIDS among people who use drugs. Many of them are afraid to seek health services because they are afraid of the legal consequences and remain outside the scope of existing services for HIV/AIDS and the health system. 
 
WHO therefore recommends that:
• Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. 

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