EMCDDA webinar: COVID-19 and drugs in the European neighbourhood: lessons learned from Ukraine and Georgia

This webinar is part of the series of webinars that the EMCDDA has been organising over the past year around the theme of COVID-19. The purpose of the webinars is to help those working in the drugs field understand how drug users, and those supporting them, are coping with the pandemic and to share knowledge and experience. The webinars give a voice to key professionals working in the drugs field and allow for a panel discussion on emerging challenges. The sessions, chaired by EMCDDA staff members, are open to EMCDDA employees, the Reitox network and professionals working in the domain.

Objective of the COVID-19 and drugs in the European neighbourhood: lessons learned from Ukraine and Georgia webinar:

  • To present results from studies carried out to collect insights from people who use drugs and service providers on how COVID-19 control measures have affected their lives, as well as the drug market
  • To discuss how some of the changes observed are worth becoming a ‘new normal’


In April 2020, in the framework of the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project, two research teams launched a 6-month long cohort study among people who use drugs in Georgia and Ukraine. The aim was to document how the COVID-19 lockdown measures may impact their social-economic status, drug use behaviour as well as access to drug-related health services. The research team also gathered information from selected key stakeholders. In Georgia, a daily monitoring of drug sales on Matanga, a largest website on darknet, was also performed.


  • Dr Tetiana Kiriazova, Senior research scientist, Ukrainian Institute of Public Health Policy, Ukraine
    • Methodology of the cohort study
    • Key findings from Ukraine
  • Dr David Otiashvili, Director, Addiction Research Center ‘Alternative Georgia’; Associate professor of healthcare, Ilia State University, Georgia
    • Key findings from Georgia 
    • Methodology of Darknet monitoring and key findings


  • Ms Kateryna Terykh, a Specialist of the Viral Hepatitis and Opioid Dependency Department and the OST national coordinator, Public Health Center of the MOH of Ukraine
  • Ms Ketevan Sarajishvili, Chairperson of National Drug Observatory, Ministry of Justice Georgia
  • Mr Julien Morel d’Arleux, Director, French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT)

Chair: Ilze Jekabsone, EU4Monitoring Drugs project coordinator, EMCDDA

Opening and closing remarks: Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA Director

Format: EMCDDA opening remarks, panelists questions guided discussion, Q&A from attendees.

Date and time: 25 March 11.30-13.00 (WET/Lisbon) 12.30-14.00 (CET/Brussels)

A recording of this webinar is available in our Media library >>