Contest of mass media materials on life and problems of people who use psychoactive substances


in the framework of “Chase the virus, not people!” campaign** 


More than 3 million people who use psychoactive substances live in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA). The CEECA region has the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the world and high rates of hepatitis C and overdose mortality. Although harm reduction programs to some extent are available in 28 out of 29 countries in the CEECA region, the scope, quality, accessibility, and sustainable financing of these programs are so low in many CEECA countries that their impacts on the public have been insignificant.  

Many countries within CEECA have a political environment that maintains repressive drug policies, leading to stigma, discrimination, criminalization and imprisonment of people who use psychoactive substances, which are the major causes of hatred and inhumanity rooted in the society in relation to people who use drugs. Drug use or drug addiction diagnosis should not be the grounds for deprivation or restriction of political, economic, social and cultural rights. Years of anti-drug policies implementation and criminalization have led to systematic violations of the rights of millions of people who use drugs, including their right to life.  

In anticipation of the World Drug Day, June 26, and the International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) encourages all responsible mass media representatives, bloggers, social media activists to take part in the Contest of media materials dedicated to the life and problems of people who use psychoactive substances.  

The aim of the contest:  

to encourage materials in traditional media channels (printing, radio, TV) as well as in social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.) on influence of stigma, discrimination and criminalization on the lives of people who use psychoactive substances in CEECA countries to increase public awareness and stimulate actions to overcome those challenges.  

Assignment for mass media: 

to create an article / post / video / programme / podcast / investigation / interview, etc. to address stigma, discrimination or criminalization of people who use psychoactive substances in your city or country.  

Contest timeline:  

  • Materials developed for the contest should be posted/published/aired in the period of June 20 – September 30, 2021.
  • Materials (relevant links and audience coverage) should be sent to no later than October 15, 2021.
  • Contest results announcement – December 1, 2021.

Contest is conducted in 4 media categories:  

  1. Printed media (newspapers/magazines/websites)
  2. TV (including online TV and vlogs)
  3. Radio 
  4. Social Media

The materials may be dated (but not necessarily) to June 26 (World Drug Day) and August 31 (International Overdose Awareness Day).   

Contest awards*:  

3 winners in each media category will be awarded the prize:  

1st place – 1000USD  

2nd place – 750 USD 

3rd place – 500 USD  

The contest committee will evaluate the contestants’ materials considering the following criteria:  

  • creativity(the author’s creative work) (25 points) 
  • originality(uniqueness of the topic, story or the way the topic is presented) (25 points) 
  • the language of the text or the visual expression (clarity, tolerance, expressive features) (10 points) 
  • the relevance of the material (15 points) 
  • the reach of the material (unique readers, watchers, listeners, likes, shares, achieved audience overall) (25 points) 

Language: all materials are welcome in a national language.  

Only materials expressing neutral and tolerant attitude and using appropriate not stigmatizing language will be allowed to participate in the contest. Please review the glossary of recommended language use in English and Russian and EHRA Drug Policy Position for reference.  

For all interested in the Contest and wishing to learn more or to ask questions, 2 online Q&A sessions (dates and links updated on June 8, 2021) will be organized (one in English and one in Russian): 

  • 16thof June at 16:00 GMT+3 (for English speaking participants) 

  • 17thof June at 14:00 GMT+3 (for Russian speaking participants)

Jury: led by Eurasian Harm Reduction Association the jury will include national partners from countries, participating in the contest.  

Prizes to be awarded in each media category*: 

4 First places – 4000 USD (1000 USD per material) 

4 Second places – 3000 USD (750 USD per material) 

4 Third places – 2000 USD (500 USD per material) 

 * The amount includes all taxes. The winner is solely responsible for the calculation and payment of all taxes and fees which he / she / they is required to pay according to the state law of which he / she / they is a citizen or resident.

**About the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) remains the only region in the world where new HIV cases continue to rise, and AIDS-related deaths are still high. To attract worldwide attention to the barriers that key communities and people living with HIV in the region face to access HIV prevention, treatment and care, the regional communities’ networks have joined forces in the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” to represent interests of key populations affected by HIV: people living with HIV, women living with HIV, youth and teenagers, affected by HIV, people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men, trans* people.  

Launched at the International AIDS 2018 Conference in Amsterdam in 2018 the campaign continues through national initiatives, bringing together new partners and supporters to raise awareness of key populations’ problems and reduce stigma and discrimination in society.

Campaign coordinator – Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)