This content was published in the EU4MD update released on 4.07.2022. This update also presents a section on partnerships, announcements, studies, upcoming events, and a research corner.
Focus on prevention systems in the European Neighbourhood
‘What works in prevention?’ ‘Under which conditions can such prevention interventions be implemented?’ These are some of the questions the partners in the eastern and southern European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) regions ask the EMCDDA. To improve further monitoring and discussion on prevention, the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project implemented a mapping of national prevention systems in 2021.
Experts from 13 ENP countries responded to the survey. The results are now summarised in the EU4MD briefing ‘Mapping prevention systems in the European Neighbourhood Policy area: a baseline for future monitoring and response’ published on the EMCDDA website and available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Ukrainian.
The report indicates that in most of the ENP countries, drug prevention is embedded in a framework of a broader national strategy or policy on drugs and/or crime and/or mental health. It further examines how and where strategic decisions about prevention are made, who is a typical prevention workforce, what is quality control and prevention cultures. Apart from selected findings, the brief also highlights methodological aspects of study and key challenges encountered.
EU4MD partners attend 10th extended Reitox network meeting
The tenth extended Reitox network meeting took place on 11 May in a hybrid format. Thirteen representatives from EU4MD partner countries attended the meeting along with the Reitox national focal points and partners from candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU’.
The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Contemporary drug issues among youth — European Year of Youth’. The day featured debates around drug use among adolescents, the impact of drugs on communities, new drug use trends and crime and crime prevention. The last session focussed on young people in crisis situations, the possible impact on drug use, and on existing interventions. EU4MD partners from Algeria, Lebanon and Ukraine shared their experiences at the meeting.
ENP experts continue to integrate with the EU drug monitoring expert networks
From April to June, the EMCDDA hosted three annual key indicator meetings (online or in hybrid format), covering problem drug use (PDU) , prevalence and patterns of drug use (GPS) and treatment demand (TDI). Experts from seven ENP countries attended the meetings.
Anna Asatryan from the National Center for Addictions Treatment in Armenia, who attended the GPS meeting in Lisbon told us: ‘It was very nice to meet the organisers and experts from other countries face to face after about two years of online meetings. Participating gave me the opportunity to understand the drug situation in Europe and in the world in general. We discussed similarities and identified differences in availability and use of drugs in different countries. The meeting reminded me of the importance of monitoring. It is very important that Armenia continues to actively take part in the EMCDDA annual key indicator meetings.’
Watch the feedback on the GPS meeting by Dr Aicha Dahdouh, Professor of Psychiatry and Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Addiction in Oran, Algeria here.
The College on Problems of Drug Dependence Annual scientific meeting
The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Annual scientific meeting (11–16 June) took place in Minneapolis (USA)
and was held in conjunction with the online 2022 National Institute on Drug Abuse International Forum. Two researchers had the opportunity to present and discuss their work at this forum, thanks to funding provided by the EU4MD project.
Barak Shapira, coordinator of Pharmaceutical Crime and Medical Devices at the Israeli Ministry of health presented his work on drug responses in electronic music events and says: ‘The event provided an excellent opportunity to network with fellow experts in the field of substance use disorder and drug policy and to exchange ideas and perspectives on drug trends. I was impressed by the many innovative advancements in drug monitoring and epidemiology shown at the conference and enjoyed the presentations on using big data and machine learning to monitor drug trends and predict serious drug-related outcomes among individuals.’
Ammar Thabaleh, medical student at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine**, who presented a paper on drug-related deaths in the West Bank thanks the EMCDDA for the travel award and says that it was a great opportunity to be a part of such an informative gathering. The conference opened his eyes to new perspectives and directions, which will certainly assist him in his career.
Updates from ongoing activities
Legal and Policy Correspondents for IPA7 and EU4MD projects partners meeting
On 31 May, the EMCDDA joined legal and policy correspondents from 12 non-EU countries for the annual meeting. Participants discussed updates on drug laws and initiated exchange on policy aspects of cannabis cultivation.
Early warning system meeting for EU4MD partner
On 9 June, a second Early warning system (EWS) meeting for EU4MD project partners took place online, to which 35 experts from ten countries participated. The agenda of the meeting included topics such as the latest trends of new psychoactive substances production, trafficking, and use in the European Union, and also updates from EU4MD partners on the situation in their country.
The presentations highlighted that cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids remain a concern in part of the eastern ENP and Middle East countries of southern ENP regions. Recently, increase of use of nitrous oxide has been observed in three countries: Israel, Jordan, Palestine (*). A similar situation is observed in several EU Member States for some years and the substance is under close monitoring by the EMCDDA. To facilitate future exchanges about the new psychoactive substances with the experts in the countries of the ENP area, the EMCDDA has introduced a restricted access online forum.
Opportunity: European Prevention Curriculum Basic Training 2022
From 21 to 22 November another round of the basic module of the European Prevention Curriculum will take place in person in Lisbon.
EU4MD project will offer up to two scholarships to cover travel and accommodation costs. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be nationals of one of the EU4MD partner countries, be currently working in the country and be registered and accepted by the organisers of the training.
Registration for candidatures is done via the EMCDDA's training platform PLATO.
Closing conference in the margins of Lisbon Addictions 2022
The EU4MD and IPA7 projects will close at the end of 2022. Two EMCDDA technical cooperation projects will join forces and organise a closing conference in the margins of Lisbon Addictions 2022. The conference will take place on 21 November.
It is an ‘upon invitation only’ hybrid event with limited spaces for external participants. For more information or to request attendance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) handbook adapted to Ukraine
Ukraine is the first country in the European Neighbourhood to launch an adapted version of the European Prevention curriculum handbook. The translation and adaptation are a joint effort between the Ukrainian non-governmental organisation ‘Geopolitical Alliance of Women’ and the Center for Mental Health and Monitoring of Drugs and Alcohol of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The activity initiated in first half of 2021 and the team demonstrated exceptional dedication and perseverance to continue the work even during the most challenging times, especially during weeks following the invasion of the country in February.
In the long term, the adapted EUPC handbook can become part of the training programme of Ukrainian prevention workforce and will contribute to the further expansion of evidence-informed prevention of substance use in the country.
Penalties for drug law offences in Europe ‘at a glance’ — new country added to online tool
The EMCDDA ‘penalties at a glance’ database was further updated and now includes information about Jordan’s national drug laws. The tool allows for comparisons of legal measures in place in up to five countries at a time and can help users explore how countries’ legislative penalties vary according to the type and quantity of the drug and to the offender’s level of addiction or recidivism.
European Drug Report 2022
The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) launched its European Drug Report 2022: Trends and Developments in a live online press conference on 14 June.
Based on data from 29 countries (EU 27, Turkey and Norway), the report delivers the latest overview of the drug situation in Europe up to 2022, exploring long-term trends and emerging threats. The publication includes chapters on individual drugs, as well as on drug supply, production and precursors. National data sets are also provided across these themes and on key interventions.