Women and drugs meeting 2015

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This meeting brings together all EU Reitox member countries (plus Norway and Turkey), national drug observatories and national correspondents from candidate, potential candidate and neighbouring countries, and from Russia. For the 4th edition of the extended Reitox network meeting, we have decided to focus on a question of potential interest for national drug observatories from all countries: what do we know about women using illicit drugs, what are the gaps in our knowledge, and what are the consequences for the monitoring of the situation and the organisation of responses?

About the meeting 

Over the years, the overall picture of the epidemiology of drug use shows gender disparities, with approximately 75-80% of drug users being males, and 20-25% being females. However these disparities remain poorly understood, especially their evolution in recent years. Furthermore, some of the disparities noted are not necessarily widespread in all countries, so an understanding of national situations and contexts is extremely important.

On 24 November, the EMCDDA organises, for the first time, a meeting dedicated to the topic of Women and drugs. The event shared knowledge and experience from the participating countries on the implications of gender for drug use and drug treatment, in order to identify the potential needs and opportunities for monitoring and research, explore how this knowledge could be used to inform national decision-makers and how it could feed the planning and organisation of services.

The meeting brings together 8 researchers and participants from 40 different countries. The purpose of this annual event is to broaden the scope of regular Reitox meetings, underline the importance of the EU drug monitoring model and add impetus to the agency’s technical cooperation with countries outside the EU.

About the experts

Presentations will share information and research, focusing on the challenges faced by women in relation to drug-related issues.

Linda Montanari

Linda Montanari, health sociologist, has been working in the drug field since 1991, as researcher and then as a sociologist in the Italian drug treatment services for several years.
Since 2000 she has been working as principal scientific analyst at the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction in Lisbon in the area of treatment and social exclusion. Since 2001 she is coordinating one of the EMCDDA five epidemiological indicators – the Treatment Demand Indicator-, which provides information on drug users asking treatment for drug related problems.
Since 2008 she is also working on information collection and analysis on drugs and prison. 
She has been working in several occasions in the data analysis of gender and drug use, contributing to several EMCDDA gender related publications.

François Beck

François Beck is currently the Director of the French Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) comprising 30 researchers, engineers and assistants. He is a researcher at the Social Epidemiology Research Team (ERES) at the Institut Pierre Louis embedded in the Sorbonne University UPMC, and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). Until 2014, he was the Head of Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the French National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES), Paris, France. After completing an M.S. degree in statistics, he obtained a Ph.D. degree in sociology at the Sorbonne University (Paris V) in 2007. His research activities, leaning on an epistemological reflection on the quantification of sanitary and social questions, have focused on addictive behaviours, drug-related social factors, sleep, social inequalities, and mental health, with a special emphasis on methodological issues, gender and risk perception. Since 1997, he has developed and implemented the general population surveys on drug use in France.

Marica Ferri

Marica Ferri is currently Head of the Sector: Best Practice, knowledge exchange and economic issues at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Before she has been coordinating the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol group during five years (1999–2004) and following this, she acted as a methodologist in the development of several Guidelines at national and regional level. She coordinated the implementation phase of those guidelines, including training and assessment. She holds a Masters degree in Epidemiology (Catholic University of Rome, A. Gemelli) and a Master degree in Systematic Reviewing of Scientific Literature in the Biomedical Field (University of Milan/University of Oxford). Among several interest she took care of systematic reviews and guidelines on the problems of women and drugs.

Marilyn Clark

Marilyn Clark is an Associate Professor with the Department of Psychology at the University of Malta. She holds a Masters degree in social psychology from the University of Liverpool and a PhD from the University of Sheffield. Her main research interests are addiction, gender, criminal careers, stigma and youth studies. She has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and in a number of academic texts. In Malta she chaired the National Commission on the Abuse of Drugs, Alcohol and other Drugs, is an assistant to the magistrate on the juvenile court and a member of the Centre for Freedom from Addictions, President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

Edle Ravndal

Edle Ravndal has been the head of a group doing research on pregnant women and their children in OMT since 2008. The group is called GobLAR, which means: Pregnant women and their children in OMT. 4 PhDs and a lot of international publications have been produced from the GobLAR-group.
She has been working as a researcher in the addiction field for almost 40 years. The main topics have been: women and alcohol; women, substance abuse and treatment, drug abusers and vocational training/work; drug abusers, psychopathology and personality disorders; evaluation of different treatment approaches for substance abusers; preventive strategies; substance abuse policy; OMT treatment; methodological problems in evaluation of treatment for drug abusers, qualitative methods, evidence based research.

Mercè Martí

Mercè Martí is currently the assistant director of the technical department of the Health and Community Foundation, a non-profit organization with more than 30 years of experience in the field of prevention, rehabilitation, addiction treatment and social reintegration of drug dependents as well as in the promotion, design and management of services for the attention of other social and health-related issues. She holds a degree in Psychology and has medical studies from Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has been member of Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico as part of her Ph.D. degree in medical anthropology and gender. Her field of expertise, research and development is focused on public health, social and health development, gender and interculturality.

Anda Kivite

Anda has a master degree in public health and doctoral degree in medicine. Currently Anda works as assistant professor at the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology of Riga Stradins University and is a national expert in public health at the Latvian Academy of Sciences. She is actively working in HIV/AIDS field since 2003. Prior to the current position at the university she was working as a project manager at NGO “Youth against AIDS”, later as a public health specialist in governmental institutions AIDS Prevention Centre, Public Health Agency and Infectology Centre of Latvia. She has gained post-graduate education in research methodology, biostatistics, pedagogics and European Commission project management. Anda has experience in facilitation of interactive training courses on HIV, associated infections, on harm reduction and other preventive approaches in Latvia and Lithuania for different target groups – young people, pedagogues, armed forces, and prison staff. As well Anda takes part and coordinates epidemiological researches on HIV and related issues among vulnerable groups – injecting drug users, prisoners, sex workers, man who have sex with men. Anda is a board member of Latvian Public Health Association and Baltic HIV Association, member of European Public Health Association, International AIDS Society and International Society for Infectious Diseases. Currently she is the national team leader within ERA-NET project regarding mathematical modelling of HIV epidemics in Latvia (HERMETIC project).

Elie Aaraj

Elie Aaraj has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS and harm reduction since 1987, when he founded local Lebanese organisation “Soins Infirmiers et Développement Communautaire,” which began with an in-home nursing programme during the civil war, and expanded to work on HIV/AIDS and drugs projects within the following years. Mr. Aaraj completed his Master’s degree in Community Health at the Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, after having received a License in Nursing at the Lebanese University in 1982. Having qualified as a nurse, he worked in two hospitals in Lebanon, before becoming the Director of the Nurse-Aid Technical School at Hayek Hospital, Beirut, a post which he held for two years, then founded SIDC. In 2007, Mr. Aaraj became one of the founders of the MENAHRA network, and has been its Executive Director since. He is also the current President of the Regional/Arab Network Against AIDS (RANAA). Alongside his employment, Mr. Aaraj undertakes many other professional activities, many focusing on the prevention of substance misuse, harm reduction and HIV/AIDS. He has also published three major pieces of research on drug use and prevention among others, as well as numerous resources for practitioners in this field.

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