This content was published in the EU4MD update released on 3.10.2022. This update also presents a section on partnerships, announcements, studies, upcoming events, and a research corner.
Focus on European Web Survey on Drugs in selected EU4MD partner countries
In spring 2021, the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD) collected data from people who use drugs aged 18 or older in 21 EU and nine non-EU countries. With the support from the EU4MD project, three countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) area joined the EWSD for the first time: Georgia, Lebanon and Ukraine.
During the data collection phase, many people in Europe and neighbouring countries were experiencing COVID-19-related lockdown or restrictions. Therefore, the EWSD questionnaire also examined the impact of COVID-19 on drug use.
Responses to the online survey included 396 persons who reported having used at least one illicit drug in the 12 months prior to the survey in Georgia, 274 in Lebanon, and 866 in Ukraine. For detailed findings of the survey, please see the factsheets we have prepared for Georgia (available in English and Georgian), Lebanon (available in French, Arabic version to come soon), and Ukraine (available in English and Ukrainian).
EMCDDA signs Working Arrangement with Georgia
The Working Arrangement between the EMCDDA and Georgia was signed in Tbilisi on 6 September.
Update: 2022 NIDA International Forum Focuses on Building International Collaborative Research on Drug Use and Addiction
All presentations given at the 2022 NIDA International Forum are now available online. The Forum explored university addiction programs in the age of COVID-19, introduced the UNODC-WHO Informal Scientific Network, presented harm reduction approaches, discussed the lack of integrity and transparency in drug treatment services and the consequences, described alternatives to conviction or punishment for drug use, reported on drug use in the Americas, and presented efforts by two former Humphrey Fellows to establish community coalitions in their home countries.
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Updates from ongoing activities
Evidence-based drug prevention: European Prevention Curriculum training of trainers in Kraków
As part of the ongoing training of trainers for the application of evidence-informed drug prevention, using the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC), 15 prevention professionals gathered for a final training session in Kraków, Poland, from 12 to 16 September. The training was organised by the EMCDDA and the Polish Reitox focal point.
Among them was Olena Puhach from Ukraine. During 2021–22 Olena was instrumental in the Ukrainian adaptation of the EUPC handbook for decision-makers, opinion-makers and policymakers in science-based prevention of substance use in Ukraine. In addition, she has successfully completed all stages of the training of trainers in the EUPC.
In an interview, Olena summarised her experience on the training in Kraków as follows:
‘I really enjoyed the entire EUPC training of trainers programme, especially the final part in Kraków during which trainees focused on the last module of the whole EUPC. It was challenging and at the same time the atmosphere was very friendly. It was not only one of the best learning experiences I had, but it also helped me improve my knowledge of how evidence-based prevention works, to find out different techniques and practices to be a good trainer, to follow the time frameworks while speaking and even to deal with my fear of public speaking. The fact that all participants at the training came from different European Union countries also gave us a chance to exchange information on how prevention works in our respective countries and to share the best practices in evidence-based prevention.
I am grateful to the EU4MD project which gave me opportunity to attend the course and I am looking forward to incorporating the gained knowledge into the prevention system in Ukraine and engaging more and more people in the EUPC. I feel this is important for my country, especially nowadays when the mental health of our citizens is in jeopardy. Implementing evidence-based practices and sharing awareness about them will definitely be my future task after returning home to Ukraine.’
Synthetic drugs the focus of an online training course
Twenty law enforcement experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, Moldova and Ukraine have enrolled in an online training course on synthetic drugs. The training is jointly offered by the EMCDDA and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL).
It will address key topics, including the types of synthetic drugs, new psychoactive substances, precursors, production processes and equipment, safety measures, diversion and trafficking, organised crime groups, and international cooperation.
The course was launched on 8 September, with a first webinar introducing the participants to the mandates of both agencies. The online training module will be open until 30 November and three more webinars are planned, to promote exchanges between participants. For the first time ever, the course material is available in Russian, made possible due to funding by the EU4MD project. A similar course with material available in Arabic took place from December 2021 to March 2022.
Webinar on cryptocurrencies and drugs
On 12 October at 13.00 Lisbon time (14.00 CET), the EMCDDA will organise a conversation with Mr Eric Jardine, Cybercrime Research Lead for the Chainalysis platform, on the key findings, developments and potential implications of cryptocurrencies in darknet markets for the EU and neighbouring countries. Interpretation will be provided from English into Arabic, French and Russian.
Click here to register for the event.
Closing event of two EMCDDA technical cooperation projects
On 21 November, the EMCDDA will organise the closing event for two technical cooperation projects, entitled ‘Drugs beyond EU borders: emerging trends and preparedness’.
The event will focus on the results of the EU4MD and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA7) projects that both come to an end in December 2022. The event will take place in hybrid format, at the conference centre at the EMCDDA’s headquarters in Lisbon, with interpretation into Arabic, French and Russian.
If you would like to follow the conference, please register here.
EU4MD at Lisbon Addictions 2022
Lisbon Addictions 2022 is a major scientific event that will take place from 23 to 25 November. The EU4MD project will be represented at the conference in several ways:
- 23 November (15.00–16.30): structured session ‘How prepared are monitoring systems to respond to rapidly changing drug markets in regions bordering the European Union?’
- 23 November (16.50–18.20): oral presentation on the ‘Treatment facility survey’, with Ms Hajer Aounallah-Skhiri, Mr Saed Bilbeisi, Mr Irakli Natsvlishvili and Ms Zeinab Abbas.
- Scholarships awarded to abstract holders:
- 25 November (13.20) Ms Irma Kirtadze, oral presentation ‘Monitoring online illicit drug markets during COVID-19 in Georgia’
- 25 November (10.50–12.20) Ms Hajer Aounallah-Skhiri, oral presentation ‘Gender differences and trends in substance use among Tunisian adolescent students’
- Throughout the conference: e-poster by Ms Suzan Ben Ezra ‘Innovative trauma-informed therapy for women with substance use disorders in Israel’
- Throughout the conference: e-poster by Mr Bilel Moslah ‘A retrospective overview of polydrug abuse in Tunisia’