Petition for education for girls and women #PovertyIsSexist

Right now, 130 million girls are out of school.

You wouldn’t be where you are today without an education – and it's in your power RIGHT NOW to help these girls get access to an education.

Your voice is incredibly powerful, so use it to speak up! Act NOW by adding your name here:


The seventh edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices

We have published the seventh edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices. This edition is dedicated to the youth, drugs and the activists.

Opposite the superstition on the fatality of drugs are people who confirm that it is not drugs that kill but rather the stereotypes ingrained in current drug policies, education and all cultural forms through which we acknowledge and find our position in the world. These people are brave enough to break the chains of society’s condemnation and publicly admit to having used and/or use drugs. By standing publicly, they disclose that the true evil lies in the institutional discrimination and social stigmatization towards people who use drugs and not in drugs, as policy creators attempt to convince us.

Often drugs activists are sanctioned, even persecuted for the courage to publically speak about the real drug problems, yet they remain persistent in their efforts for introduction of humane drug policies that will contribute towards promotion of the social status of people who use drugs, as well as the promotion of social wellbeing of all.

This is why we dedicate this issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices magazine to the brave and those still looking to find the courage to stand at the forefront of their own rights.   

The online version you can find it HERE.


I Also Have the Right to Humane Treatment

Because of the lack of treatment programs, four of the children whom the HOPS team met in the course of outreach work have passed away as a result of drug use. HOPS has also documented three further cases of children who use drugs, and took action to try to procure access to treatment – which was not ultimately provided.

An image from the centre of Skopje: Children, barely five years old, walk around the Park of the Female Freedom Fighter, holding a bag, pressing it to their faces from time to time to inhale. Crowds of people hurry past them, never turning back to look at the children; one would think such a scene was quite common and normal.

We have been witnessing this picture for more than 15 years, and yet these children are still on the streets, still inhaling glue, some even injecting heroin. In the course of our work, we have encountered 85 of these children. The youngest we have met who injects heroin is 8 years old, while the youngest inhaling is just 3.


The HIV Platform is issuing a last call to action and minimum leadership to prevent the closing of all HIV and HIV epidemics-related programs in the state

Today, on December 1st, 2016 we celebrate the World AIDS Day. On this day we embrace solidarity with 78 million HIV infected people and remember the 35 million people deceased from AIDS-related illnesses since the first HIV case was discovered. In 2015, the world committed to end the AIDS epidemics by 2030 with the Sustainable Development Goals. Full control of HIV infection shall be possible when all governments worldwide join together and transform all commitments into specific policies, actions and measures in order to provide their citizens with access to well-established HIV prevention, treatment and care interventions.       



We proudly present Drugreporter's new feature documentary: A Day in the Life. Produced by drug users and activists, the movie features the different realities of the global war on drugs by guiding us through one day in the life of people who use drugs in seven cities of the world. Watch the new trailer and check out screening dates and news about the film!

Cross - Border Closing Conference

The association HOPS - Healthy Options Project Skopje, within the EU funded project Prevention of HIV transmissions and drugs among resident population in the cross-border area, is organizing the last event of the project i.e. Cross - Border Closing Conference.

Main purpose of the conference is to promote eight local strategies for HIV/Drug prevention (4 HIV prevention strategies form Macedonia and 4 Drug prevention strategies from Kosovo) and to present the project outcomes trough video advocacy – presentation of 6 documentary videos. 

Invited participants of the events are as follows: - Councilors and civil servants from 8 municipalities and local self-governments involved in the project, High representatives from the relevant ministers, civil servants from public institutions and several civil society organizations dealing with marginalized communities.

Modertor of the Conference is Ognen Janeski, while the orators are: Hristian Jankuloski - HOPS, Safet Blakaj - NGO Labyrinth - Kosovo, Irena Ivanova EU Delegation in Macedonia, Zvonko Milenkovic - National Coordinator for HIV Macedonia, Katerina Spasovska - University Clinic for Infectious Diseases and febrile conditions,  Edlira Plans - Project assistant - NGO Labyrinth.


The event will take place in Skopje, Hotel Holiday Inn, on 3th of November, 2016, starting from 11:00 am

Call for Articles for 8th 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 8th issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices magazine.

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

Vanja Dimitrievski with its inscription for the newsletter COPASAH Communiqué


The author is a program assistant at CEDR – Centre for Education, Documentation and Research at HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje. He has a Master’s degree in Ethnology and Anthropology and long research experience with different socially marginalized groups/communities, particularly people who use drugs.

Budget monitoring and dealing with institutional barriers in Macedonia

Budget monitoring can be a beneficial tool not only to access public information, but also to prompt public institutions to greater accountability and transparency. Of course, this is not so feasible in a country like Macedonia, despite the separate Law on Free Access to Public Information. The positive aspect in these circumstances is that the process itself reveals institutional weakness, which on the other hand creates the opportunity for developing new communication and cooperation strategies with the institutions.

HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje in 2014 decided to carry out budget monitoring in order to examine the possibility for financing the harm reduction programs in Macedonia from the state budget of the country. Now, halfway through 2016, these programs are still being funded from finances provided by the Global Fund to Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Funding from the Global Fund stops in December 2016, however, in 2014 there were still no announcements that the obligation for financing these programs would be assumed from the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia. In fact, the future financing of these programs in Macedonia remains uncertain, that, however, is not the topic of this discussion.

Our recommendation for movie and book

Book: Christiane V. Felscherinow and Sonja Vukovic

Christiane F. – Mein zweites Leben: Autobiografie (Christiane F. - My Second Life)

Today Christiane F. is a 53-year-old woman who after her extensive work “Christiane F. – We Children of Bahnhof ZOO” became famous for the film based on the book inspired by her drug use in the late 1970s. “My Second Life” is a sequel in which she writes of her life after the events described in the first book. She began her music career in the early 1980s together with her boyfriend Alexander Hacke, a member of the band Einstürzende Neubauten. She hung out with Nick Cave, Depeche Mode and Billy Idol and attended cocaine parties with Van Halen. She flew over Berlin with David Bowie in The Rolling Stones’ private jet. In the 35 years following after Bahnhof ZOO she was constantly struggling with heroin addiction. In 2008 she lost custody of her now adult son. Interestingly enough, despite the chaos she was in, she managed to maintain financial stability better than many famous people, carefully saving the profit from her first book. Overall, it seems as an interesting book. The book is only available in German for now, however translations in other 20 languages are announced. We hope to have the opportunity to read it in Macedonian as well.

LINK for the book.

Municipality of Gostivar has adopted LOCAL STRATEGY FOR THE PREVENTION OF HIV

Gostivar, 09.20.2016: On the thirty-second session of the Council of the Municipality of Gostivar unanimously was adopted the "LOCAL STRATEGY FOR THE PREVENTION OF HIV GOSTIVAR THE MUNICIPALITY FOR THE PERIOD 2016 to 2020" with the Action Plan for the period 2016-2017 years.

The local strategy is developed within the EU IPA project "Prevention of HIV and drug use among citizens in border areas," the CBC program Kosovo - Macedonia.

The preparation of the strategy lasted six months and was led by the Association HOPS - Healthy Options Project Skopje with support from local partner organization HELP Gostivar.

The process began in September 2015 with training in strategic planning, where was been set up a working group. After the training in the period from September 2015 to February 2016, followed coordination meetings for the preparation of the strategy. The working group consisted representatives of: the Municipality of Gostivar, Centre for Public Health, Infectious Diseases Clinic at the General Hospital, Center for Social Work, Police Station Gostivar, as well as local NGOs working with marginalized communities.

After the preparation of the draft document followed public debate about the applicantion of the Local Strategy and Action Plan was attended by representatives from the municipality and councilors of the same.

Within this project is pending the adoption of two local strategies for prevention of HIV for the municipality of Kumanovo and Tetovo.