“Use of new psychoactive substances in WB/SEE – challenges, needs and opportunities”

The New Psychoactive substance phenomenon appeared some time ago, with the growth and production of drugs that replicate the effects of controlled substances (such as amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis and heroin) to avoid legislative control based on different chemical structures.

In recent years, the increase of NPS on the market and its use has led to new threats for health of people who use drugs and other connected vulnerable populations – homeless people, sexworkers, LGBTQI+, people living with HIV and many others. Increased health related risks due to before mentioned include but are not limited to overdose, psychotic reactions, high HIV risks due to multiple injections and increased number of sexual contacts. However, in many countries service providers such as harm reduction, drug treatment programs and ambulance services are not prepared to provide affected key target populations with quality support and counselling to reduce risks of NPS.

This year Eurasian Harm Reduction Association initiated several actions to address this issues  among which with School of Law, Swansea University undertook the project “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Serbia” aiming to generate a more accurate picture of the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and to assess harm reduction and law enforcement responses to the emerging issues related to use of NPS.
Following that, through their Small Grants scheme “Harm Reduction 2.0”, EHRA funded project #DAZNAMŠTARAIM implemented by (our member) NGO Re Generation. 

Both of the actions generated a more detailed picture on what are the specific issues related to NPS in Serbia. We believe that these issues should be communicated and discussed among CSOs in the Western Balkan/SEE region that work with and represent affected communities. 

We invite you to participate in an online meeting “Use of new psychoactive substances in WB/SEE –  challenges, needs and opportunities” where we will present the results of these two project hoping to start the conversation about the emerging issues in each of our countries, propose and discuss common problems and possible solutions, and map the possible future steps. 

The meeting agenda is as follows: 

  • Welcoming and short introduction of the project and its results – Eliza Kurcevič (EHRA) 
  • Use of NPS in Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia: Presentation of results in Serbia – Irena Molnar (Re Generation)
  • The guidelines for improving an EWS and establishing drug checking services – Srdjan Kukolj (Re Generation) 
  • Round table of discussion:
    1. NPS situation WB+T countries
    2. Possible solutions and mapping the future steps 

This meeting will be held via Zoom on Friday 06 November 2020 starting at 11:00 CET. The meeting will last approximately two hours. You can access it by following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86130730814 

This meeting is organised by NGO Re Generation with support of Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. It is co-hosted by Drug Policy NEtwork South East Europe and LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey