Lithuania rings a bell – “Reform of the Psychoactive Substances: Support, don’t Punish” Conference has started in Vilnius

The aim of the Conference is to show the overall drug policy situation in the international context and how it affects people, who use drugs; to provide to the audience the historical context that led Czech Republic and Norway to the decision of decriminalizing drug use and possession for use; to teach and share with Lithuanian legislators best practices of the drug policy reforms, by giving more international expertise.

Continue reading “Lithuania rings a bell – “Reform of the Psychoactive Substances: Support, don’t Punish” Conference has started in Vilnius”

Time to Act! The 4th European Harm Reduction Conference

November 21, 2018

11.45 – 12.30

Panel discussion: Harm Reduction future: sustainability and impact

Moderator: Ganna Dovbakh and Wolfgang Phillipp

Naomi Burke-Shyne, HRI

Katya Lukicheva, OSI

Palani Narayanan, Global Fund

Susanna Ronconi, Forum Droghe, Italy

Marian Ursan, Carusel, Romania

12.30 – 12.45

“Chase the Virus, not People!”

Ganna Dovbakh, EHRA

16.00 – 17.30

Parallel session 7*: Bringing treatment to the community (HA REACT) 

Chair: Alexandra Gurinova

Co-organised by the European Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT), HA-REACT addresses existing gaps in the prevention of HIV and other co-infections, especially tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, among people who inject drugs (PWID). It is a joint effort of 23 organisations in 18 EU Member States, and focuses on those countries where there are obvious gaps in effective and evidence-informed harm reduction interventions, or where such interventions are not being implemented at a sufficient level.

Gender approach in testing and other harm reduction interventions

• Alexandra Gurinova, Deutsche Aids Hilfe, Germany

• Olga Belyayeva, Eurasian Harem Reduction Association, Lithuania

Integrated care for people who use drugs – challenges and recommendations

• Kristel Kivimets, National Institute for Health Development, Estonia

Responding to HIV and overdose epidemics in Estonia

• Aljona Kurbatova, National Institute for Health Development, Estonia

Drug policy change through the lens of OST treatment implementation in Lithuania

• Morgana Daniele, Youth Rise, UK

November 22, 2018

11.00 – 12.30

Parallel session 12*: Transition and sustainable funding of harm reduction (OSF), part 1

Chair: Ekaterina Lukicheva

This session aims to increase the understanding of progress and key success factors that lead to sustainability of HR programs in countries transitioning from Global Fund’s support of HIV response to national funding including the role civil society and community representatives plays in these processes.

Participants will:

  • Learn about the harm reduction financing changes and donor transition related processes taking place in SEE countries
  • Better understand key facilitators and factors that lead to their programmatic and financial sustainability
  • Learn from the experience of civil society and community representatives advocating for sustainability of HIV prevention services among key affected populations in their countries.

14.00 – 15.30

Parallel session 17*: How to leverage EU membership and accession for increasing sustainability and quality of harm reduction services at country level (OSI part 2).

Chair: Raminta Stuikyte

This sesison will discuss the challenges, lessons learnt and possible opportunities for NGOs in those EU member counties which lack of the political will to ensure the sustainability of harm reduction services at the expense of the state budget
Participants will:

  • Learn more about the political, technical, funding opportunities and instruments available for NGO in EU member and accession countries which could help to improve the sustainability of HR services they provide
  • Get an opportunity to discuss their situations, share their concerns and learn from each other’s experiences of advocating for the increase of the governmental funding for HR services

November 23, 2018

09.00 – 10.30

Parallel Session 26: Drug policy trends: alternative to coercive sanctions

Room: 1 – Aula
Chair: Ganna Dovbakh

This session aims to provide space for discussion on current drug policy trends in Europe, the impact of international drug policies on European national policies and practice and the ways of transferring European best practices to other regions.

Participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of the perspective of young people on the international and national drug policies;
  • Learn about the current state of advocacy for decriminalization, legalization and alternatives to coercive sanctions (ACS) in Europe;
  • Learn about pilot diversion from arrest programs in EU and barriers to their integration;
  • Share perspectives of EU best practices in drug policy that could be promoted outside of the EU.

Shrinking space for harm reduction and human rights in EU based on Hungarian situation

Peter Sarosi, Drugreporter, Hungary

Promotion of Alternatives to Coercive Sanctions (ACS) Programs in EECA

Dasha Matyushina, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, Russia

Guidelines for law enforcement to improve public health outcomes for YPUD

Morgana Daniele, Youth Rise, UK

09.00 – 10.30

Parallel session 29 : Gendered consequences of repressive drug policies

Room: 4 – Simion Mehedinti
Chair: Eliza Kurcevič

The session aims to provide space for women who use drugs and specialists working with this group to share and discuss gender specific consequences of repressive drug policies and the availability and quality of existing services inclusion of the community in the global women’s movement.

Participants will:

  • Learn about recent studies of human rights violations of women who use drugs and the process of submitting complaints to UN bodies
  • Increase their knowledge of intersectional feminism and the inclusion of the community of women who use drugs in the global feminist movement
  • Learn about gender differences in substance use and the prevalence of HIV and HCV, and gender-sensitive services including services for women who use drugs who suffered from violence
  • Discuss how to protect and minimize risks among activists and human rights defenders

Gender differences among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Estonia

Maris Salekesin, National Institute for Health Development, Estonia

Human Rights of Women Who Use Drugs: Institutional Violence and Human Rights Abuse by OST Clinics’ Staff

Maria Plotko, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, Lithuania

Harm Reduction Challenge: public nuisance vs public health

Aura Ruig, Metzineres, Spain

Protection of Harm Reduction and Community Activists from Pressure, Arbitrary Arrest and other Forms of Abuse by Authorities

Dasha Matyushina, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, Russia

Harm reduction from perspective of feminism and history of the feminist movement

Fenya Fischler, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, UK


* – The list of the sessions, in which the representatives of EHRA’s team took part in their preparation


Need help in dismissing arrested human rights defender Andriy Yarovyi!

Locked in the basement. What for? He had substitution maintenance therapy (SMT) drugs — buprenorphine in his pocket.

According to the latest verified information provided by the representative Alliance for Public Health, as of mid-December 2018, Andriy is holding on well and he has no health complaints; lawyer support is provided as well as communication with his parents. Due to the involvement of a local lawyer, the characteristics and petitions received from Ukrainian and regional and international organizations are attached to the case. The fact of Andriy’s unlawful arrest in the “LPR” was recorded (without indicating personal data) in a recent regular report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation in Ukraine. Several times per month, deliveries with food, clothing and essential items are transferred to Andriy. In the coming month, the “criminal case” is expected to be sent to the local “court” for consideration.
Andriy is our friend, leader, smart and brave person, is in need for our help.

About Community Involvement

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) approach to work with people who use drugs (PWUD) is based on the recognition of principle of greater involvement of PWUD in policy and advocacy work as well as in programs and services that affect their lives.

In an effort to provide skills, knowledge and capacity building support to PWUD community, we are developing programs which help PWUD to become experts and take leadership in advocacy on national, regional and international levels for better policies and services which correspond to their needs.

EHRA Secretariat’s expertise on wide spectrum of technical assistance and community mobilization is used to produce tools and provide technical support for PWUD community to facilitate cooperation and communications on international, regional and national level between civil society, PWUD community groups and decision makers in advocacy, community led monitoring of policies, services and funding of harm reduction programs.

All the activities and programs are implemented by EHRA Secretariat in close cooperation with Association members national PWUD community networks and leading regional and international drug user networks, harm reduction and drug policy organizations – Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD), European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD), International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth RISE and others.

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is a membership-based organization. We encourage organizations and individuals from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia to review the goals and mission of the Association and consider applying for membership. Natural persons or legal entities who cannot fulfil geographical criteria for membership are welcome to become EHRA supporting members.

There are no membership fees, but members need to be committed to support the principles and approaches of harm reduction; respect and follow the Association’s regulations and decisions, including its by-laws; abide the Statute of the Association and the decisions of the bodies of the Association.