The courtesy of Jurek Badman

Drug policies of the 21st century remain focused on repressive approaches in most of the world’s countries. This can make it harder, if not impossible, to progressively intervene regarding psychoactive substance use, preventing possible benefits to public health. Results of more than half a century of repressive (although slightly milder currently in the Czech Republic) policies do not show themselves to be effective. In fact, it’s the opposite. Experts specializing in harm reduction have been calling for more liberal policies for years. Combined with access to verified information and a unified prevention system, they believe such policies would lead to general reduction of problems associated with substances classified as psychoactive – these include the criminalization of users and of possession, substance impurities, and a lack of available harm reduction services. Trust in the state apparatus regarding this issue allows the users to behave responsibly, consult their use and not endanger themselves or others with risky behavior.

If we take a rational look at the topic, we need to admit that there are people around us who use mind-altering substances. These people use them despite the illegality or possible negative impact on their mental or physical health. The “products” they are using are non regulated, black market “goods” very often “labeled” as something it actually is not. The substances’ potential negative effects are not the only way in which the users can harm themselves. Black market psychoactives are not subject to any regulations and are often made with the use of amateur processes and equipment. It comes as no surprise that these products often contain not only the active ingredient itself, but also contain other admixtures, fillers or left-over chemicals needed for production. These can often have worse effects on human health than the actual psychoactive substance. In some cases, application of such undesirable elements might have fatal consequences. Replacing one substance with another can also be dangerous – with the devastating fentanyl epidemic in the US being living proof. Substance analysis programs give an opportunity to take responsibility for own actions in regards of at least knowing what you are using. 

Ask yourself, would you drink beer from a bottle without a label? Would you take the risk of, say, methanol being in there?

Samples from the “on set testing” / The courtesy of Jurek Badman

Drug Czeching 

In the Czech Republic legal issues forced the closure of the substance analysis program almost ten years ago. Currently, the question of potential support of such programs had been brought up by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction. Inspired by good practice from abroad, based on evidence, government buddies are discussing (behind the closed doors) how to possibly implement this approach into our pedantic system?

The Youth RISE Czech team had decided to call for a public forum/discussion on the International Day of Drug Abuse (26.6. 2018), and the Support. Don’t Punish campaign, so this topic could be openly discussed in a safe and not conflicted space. The invitation was accepted by the head of National Monitoring Centre MUDr. Viktor Mravčík, head of the National Anti-drug Central Mgr. Jakub Frydrych, head of the 3rd Faculty of Medicine, pharm. Magdalena Šustková, drug policy/harm reduction consultant of the municipality in Brno Mgr. Jakub Černý and two foreign guests pharmacologist from Germany pharm. Tibor Harrach and drug policy activist and Youth RISE Mexico coordinator Brun González.

The public forum called “Drug Czeching“, aimed to introduce the aforementioned topics to the greater public. We believed that the time had come to address this topic and give space to experts and people with various perspectives to discuss it publicly.

The main question was clear: Can we, together, find a way to safely and implement approaches which had been proven effective abroad already?

The whole discussion was recorded and soon will be available to your own consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

Over 600 participants from 58 countries attended the First European conference on addictive behaviors and dependencies held in Lisbon in 2015. The conference sold out several months before the event. Selected presentations and posters are still available on the conference website.

Following this success, the organizers have decided to launch Lisbon Addictions 2017, which will take place in the Lisboa Congress Centre (a new venue, which can accommodate up to 850 participants), from 24 to 26 October 2017.

Once again, the conference will be jointly organized by the Portuguese General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD), the journal Addiction, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE).

View more information on the event here.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference is a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. It brings together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries.

This year attendees will have the opportunity to spend three days interacting with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world.

Registration will open in the Spring of 2017.

The University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE–IUL) and the EMCDDA are happy to announce the sixth European drugs summer school (EDSS) on ‘Illicit drugs in Europe: demand, supply and public policies’, which will take place from the 26 June to the 7 July 2017.

This year the registration opens very early to allow foreign students to apply well in advance for VISA. You can register from today, 17 October. Candidates who enroll in the first phase (before 3 February) get a reduction of 100 EUR (total fee 700 EUR). The registration phase will then continue until the 2 June. The program fee includes tuition, canteen vouchers and a welcome reception. Scholarships are available for eligible students.

The EDSS will take place in Lisbon. During the two-week programme, renowned keynote speakers, EMCDDA scientific experts, university professors and policymakers will give participants the information they need in order to meet the complex policy challenges occurring in this field.

Click here for more information