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.


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. 

The First National Conference on Drug Policy

Today, 30th September, the First National Conference on Drug Policies organized by HOPS - Healthy Options Project will be held in Skopje. 
Besides domestic experts, parliamentarians, representatives of political parties, as speakers of the conference are: Jindrih Voboril, the National Anti-Drug Coordinator of the Czech Republic, Jaka Bitenc of the Cannabis Social Club Slovenia and Ivan Varentcov from the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, Russia. 
With this conference we want to create a space for reflection, debate and analysis of the existing drug policy in our country and the impact that it has on the health system, social policy, the economy, security, but primarily on the lives of our citizens. Because only that policy which is constantly reviewed and supplemented in accordance with the existing good practices can be successful.

We invite you to a debate and promotion of the new issue of "Drugs - Policies and Practices"

On 30th September (Tuesday) at 19:30 pm at the Cultural Autonomous Social Centre, HOPS and Coalition SHRMC will organize a debate that will open the issue of adequate legal regulation of drug use. 
The speakers of the debate are: Mariglen Demiri (Solidarity), Vlatko Dekov (HOPS), Philip Dostovski (green alternative) and Jaka Bitenc (Slovenian social club for cannabis). Moderator of the debate: Irena Cvetkovic (Coalition SZPMZ). 
At the same time, the new edition of "Drugs - Policies and Practices", whose main theme is "Drugs and the law", will be launched, this time available in electronic, online version.
In addition we are presenting the first half of the introductory text of Vlatko Dekov, indicating that penal measures alone, regardless of their strictness, fail to achieve their aim of reducing drug use. Moreover, in many cases, laws that criminalize drug use lead to negative consequences, such as stigmatization of people who use drugs, violation of human rights, difficult access to treatment and re-socialization etc.

The First European Conference on Hepatitis C and Drug Use

The considerable and increasing burden of HCV across Europe is rarely reflected in awareness or attention to the issue. However, this is about to change. Highly effective new treatments are being introduced and there is a growing recognition that truly inclusive testing and treatment policies need to be established now.