The 2nd South East European Drug Policy Network Conference, Ohrid, 29 September 2010

Harm reduction programmes and national policies in SEE; the Roma population and illicit drugs in SE Europe.

The conference in Ohrid was attended by 27 participants from all countries of South East Europe. The topics discussed were the policy of the region’s countries on harm reduction programs and addressing the issue of drugs in the population group of Roma in various countries of SEE Europe. The participants presented the situation in their country, the problems faced by non-governmental organisations in relation to the two issues and the prospects for resolving them. General finding was that working in harm reduction is almost exclusively implemented by NGOs funded by international agencies particularly the program of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. There is uncertainty as to the continued and smooth operation of the programs. The fact that most governments have not enacted laws to guarantee the legality of the program creates additional problems. The conference decided to adopt a proposal to publish a briefing paper on harm reduction which will include proposals to resolve the problems. On the issue of Roma there is also ambiguity and uncertainty. At the same time the problems are growing particularly regarding the spread of infectious diseases. Both issues –harm reduction and Roma- will be discussed in the next network meetings.

You can read the conference report here.