I have the right to treatment and compassion

„My name is Sashe. I’m a child without parental care. I started injecting heroin when I was 8. Before that I was inhaling glue and solvents. „HOPS“ team made their first contact with me and other 76 children that use drugs, 32 of them have been contacted from January 2014 till now. There is also a small child at the age of 3 that inhales glue. Three of the children the „HOPS“ contacted died in 2011 and 2012 from overdose. According to the information from the centers for prevention and treatment of people that use drugs not one child has been included for treatment with methadone and buprenorfin in the last three years.

There are no accurate numbers in Macedonia for children that use drugs. The data that we have come, is either from the outreach work (data from the people that contact us and work with the issue of drug addictions), or from researches among the secondary school students.

I will tell you my story and my problems, which are problems of all the children that used drugs, in the next videos.“

40 years of activism for the rights of sex workers

Фотографија: Ванчо Џамбаски2nd of June, a date to remember

This year, on the 2nd of June, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the church of St Nizier in Lyon, France. This historical event when 100s of prostitutes occupied a church to protest against police violence and corruption is regarded as the symbolical birth of the sex workers’ rights movement (although many protests and actions had taken place in the years and decades before that in many part of the world, many of them unrecorded and forgotten).

The 2nd of June is celebrated as sex workers’ rights days by many individuals and organisations all over the world. This year to celebrate this anniversary sex workers from Europe and beyond will gather in Lyon and organise, protest and demand, louder than ever, an end to their stigmatisation and criminalisation.

To mark this year, Sex Worker Open University – a collective of sex workers based in UK – is launching a poster competition with a 1st prize of £250. There will be another 5 prizes of £50 each. This competition is open to all: artists, students, graphic designers… The theme is : 40 years of sex workers’ activism!

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.


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.