Магазин "Дроги - Политики и практики"

Eleventh issue of Drugs - Politics and Practices

We are publishing the eleventh issue of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices. This number is dedicated to drug consumption facilities.

Drug consumption facilities save lives. It is a fact already established; no further proof is needed in its support. Or is there? Such an approach can certainly save lives in Macedonia as well. However, a proposal of this sort takes some courage. And so, we gathered the courage to open the discussion. Of course, we are aware that certain people in Macedonia still believe needle exchange to encourage drug use, and on the other hand, here we are, talking about the opening of sites where people can freely and under the supervision of trained personnel use drugs. But we are not going to just sit on our hands and wait for “better days” to come. Rather than waiting, the founders of M.A.S.K.A rolled up their sleeves, as early as 1996, and opened the first harm reduction programme in Macedonia.

Although M.A.S.K.A. no longer operates, today such programs have been established in 13 towns throughout Macedonia. The process was encumbered by obstacles, still is, but prevention of HIV spreading throughout the country would have been impossible if not for the harm reduction programmes.

HIV protection is just one of the benefits these programmes have to offer. They save lives. More so, harm reduction programmes contribute to the entire social wellbeing. We shall remain silent no more. It is high time to jump on the right track and, more than thirty years since the opening of the first world drug consumption facility, discuss the possibility for opening such facilities in Macedonia. For the common good.

The online version you can find it HERE.

The tenth edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices

Today we are publishing the tenth issue of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices. This number was dedicated to  „Drugs Integral to Culture".

Drugs are integral to culture, but you really don’t have to agree with this. It is absolutely irrelevant whether you accept the arguments asserting that even alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, or sedatives you take more or less often to relax or fall asleep, are drugs. It is all drugs and the excuse of not being interested in such “claims” or avoiding more serious arguments in discussions you yourself have initiated will not provide you with immunity from the responsibility that you also participate in the reproduction and development of the drug use culture. Yes, that is correct. You are participants and bear the responsibility. No, you’re not sinners and you shouldn’t be condemned. You, like all others, simply replicate the cultural patterns you have acquired from the environment you grew up in.

 True, since the middle of the 20th century this environment has expanded due to the development of mass media, such as radio, television and particularly the internet. If you don’t like the fact that “young people are increasingly taking drugs” and you fear that your children “will become junkies” and are looking for more repressive measures against people who use drugs – stop. Stop and ask yourself about the role you have played in the development of the drug use culture. We won’t judge. We simply offer a different perspective from the one you have.

This is also an invitation. We invite you to make an effort and learn more about drugs and how they shape human culture – learn more about yourselves. For those of you already aware that drugs are integral to human culture, we offer several arguments at your disposal when discussing this issue with the uninformed. Let us speak frankly. Only then we might be able to make a change. Only then we might be able to free ourselves from drug-related fears. It could help us build a healthier society. We have faith.

From the Editorial

The online version you can find it HERE.

Ninth issue of Drugs - Policies and Practices

We have published the ninht edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices. This edition is dedicated to Harm Reduction Programs.

The hour has come. The Harm Reduction Programs are being closed. It took an incredible amount of effort to draw the attention of those elected and paid to provide for the protection of the citizens’ health. Now the excuse is the current political crisis, despite the fact that the competent institutions had more than 10 years to come up with and introduce measures for sustaining and developing harm reduction programs. We keep waiting for someone else to solve our problems, only to complain afterwards how foreigners interfere in our internal politics. And yet, there is a way; finances as well. All it takes is strong will.

We take this opportunity to appeal to decision-makers that the country’s policies cannot revolve around their personal beliefs or individual mood. Decision-makers are elected and paid to address citizens’ needs and requests, citizens’ health and wellbeing, which is more important than prolonging the mandate or indulging other people’s caprices.

The closure of harm reduction programs in Macedonia will inflict immense damage. People are going to lose their jobs, of course, but also many people will lose the only health, social and legal support they receive from the state. The consequences will resound throughout the entire society. Solutions can be found – but somebody has to listen to them.

In fact, while we were working on this issue of Drugs – Policies and Practices, the newly appointed Minister of Health, Arben Taravari announced the Ministry’s full support for the harm reduction programs. Meanwhile, and in future, we will continue to draw attention to the need for long-term solutions in drug policies and practices in Macedonia.

The online version you can find it HERE.

The eight edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices

In October 2013, the Association HOPS - Healthy Options Skopje and the Coalition „Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities" published the first issue of the journal Drugs - Policies and Practices. Today we are promoting the 8 issue of the magazine, dedicated to "Women's Voice For effective programs for women who use drugs. "

Yes, that’s right, as strange as it might sound, women also use drugs. They have used drugs in the past too. At least as far in the past as current research allows us to investigate. The only difference was that they were forced to hide better due to the predominant values, more tolerant towards men. While drug use has been a bitter topic for decades, discussion of women using drugs was apprehensively introduced to the public some twenty years ago. However, it was not until the past few years that more and more people gathered the courage to loudly and openly speak about what women who use drugs need. Why is that? Because gender aspects are biologically, but also culturally determined. Because women who use drugs face different challenges than men who use drugs, hence the different needs.
Read the online version on the following LINK.

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.

The sixth issue of Drugs - Policies and Practices

The sixth issue of the Drugs - Politics and Practices particularly pay attention to one exceptionally sensitive topic - young people who use drugs. During the last several years, citizen's associations have been constantly warning that there are more and more children and young people in Macedonia who use drugs and have called upon the competent institutions to introduce appropriate measures for treatment and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the attitude of the institutions that have continuously ignored the problem, have left the citizen's associations alone in the fight with the legal restrictions for introducing a more humane approach in treatment of children and young people who use drugs.


The fifth issue of Drugs - Policies and Practices published

In December 2015, the fifth issue of the journal Drugs - Policies and Practices was published, with the issue topic: "Why is education important?"
This edition of "Drugs - Policies and Practices" endeavors to maintain awareness about the reasons for the existence of this magazine and also to explicate our attitude to education. We do not only understand education as a process of acquiring knowledge within the family or at school. We understand education as an overall process of acquiring knowledge from all the sources available and conscious processing of information obtained, benefiting individuals as well as the community. Therefore we strive for ever-expanding opportunities for formal and informal education and access to diverse sources of relevant information. We believe that versatile education contributes to the development of social consciousness and, among other things, awareness of the need to introduce humane drug policies.

The fourth issue of Drugs - Policies and practicies published

In August 2015, the fourth issue of the journal Drugs - Policies and practices was published. The issue's topic is "Sustainability of programs for reduction of drug related harms" and we tried all the articles, although it might look as an aberration, to support the articles that are carriers of the main topic. Harm reduction programs in Macedonia are facing a huge challenge, because it is not clear how will they survive after the cessation of the funds from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Further funding should be provided by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, but still there are no guarantees whether and under what conditions the Government will implement the undertaking. That is why this issue opens the debate of sustainability of the programs for reduction of drug related harms  in Macedonia. We believe that we will manage to attract the attention of the experts, and the general public, pointing out the importance of the existence of these programs that aim to contribute to protection of public health and improve the quality of life of people living in Macedonia.


The third issue of the magazine DRUGS - Policies and Practices has been released

In April 2015 the third issue of the journal Drugs - Policies and practices has been released. The main theme of this edition is "Harm Reduction Policies" and other articles that are supporting articles which carry the main topic.

Although policies to reduce the harms associated to drug use have been developing almost twenty years in Macedonia, this is the first time that the topic is given to its central place in a magazine. As of mid-90's of the XX century, harm reduction programs have been opening first in Skopje, and later in Strumica, Bitola, Kumanovo, Stip, Gevgelija, Ohrid, Gostivar, Tetovo, Prilep, Veles and Kicevo. Today Macedonia boasts a rather comprehensive approach to developing programs for harm reduction, but still many challenges are ahead to ensure sustainability and sustainable development of these programs. In this edition of Drugs - Policies and practices just some of the experiences and challenges are presented, but sufficient as a basis to open a further discussion.

The second issue of "Drugs - Policies and Practices" available online

 In June 2014 HOPS -- Healthy Options Project Skopje and Coalition "Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities" published the second issue of the magazine DRUGS – POLICIES AND PRACTICES. 

The main topic of the issue No. 2, "Drugs and Law", relates to the drug policies in Macedonia and in the other countries in the world. The authors in this issue, in a popular manner, aspire to recapture different levels and experiences in policies and practices of the regulations of drugs and drug use in Macedonia and in the world.

The second issue of the magazine (in English) is available online and can be downloaded (as a pdf file) at the following link.