ECAD is Europe's leading organization promoting a drug free Europe and representing millions of European citizens. Drug dealing and drug abuse cause enormous problems in Europe. Nations and their citizens are affected by the consequences of drug abuse. ECAD member cities work to develop initiatives and efforts against drug abuse supporting the United Nations Conventions which oppose legalization and promote policies to eradicate drug abuse worldwide. Has your city joined ECAD?


Building towards a comprehensive and ambitious drug policy
In preparation for UNGASS 2016 - UN drug conventions under pressure

ECAD heartily invites delegates from our member cities to participate at the XXII Mayors conference to be held in Malta on 11 and 12 May 2015. This is a unique opportunity for you to network, meet your counterparts from other countries and to support the UN conventions on drugs.

Please see the attached first draft. Details on programme and registration will be presented in January 2015.

In 3- 5 december the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) held a reconvened session in Vienna. Delegates discussed preparations for the upcoming special session on the world drug problem in 2016 - UNGASS.

ECAD participated at the session and produced a joint statement in support of the conventions, together with World Federation Against Drugs, San Patrignano Foundation, European Action on Drugs, Drug Policy Futures and Recovered Users Network to the delegates of the CND.

The statement was read by WFAD secretary general Linda Nilsson.

Protect unborn children from the damages of drugs

On November 21 ECAD organized a conference in Minsk in Belarus together with Women’s Committee on Alcohol and Drugs Issues (WOCAD) and Mothers against Drugs. The conference gathered around 40 representatives working as midwives in Belarus.

The conference was held as a part of a 3-year long project between ECAD and WOCAD and is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project supports the work against drugs in Belarus and prioritizes training and support of young women and girls.

Deputy director Ake Setréus represented ECAD in the conference and made a speech about the importance of working against drug use, maintaining a restrictive public opinion against drugs and working for democratic societies.

Two pleased delegates from a Child Protection Organization

ECAD-representative Fabio Bernabei, a committed and outspoken voice against drugs, has been awarded the "Heart And Speech Against Drugs prize in memory of murdered Irish jorunalist Veronica Guerrin for his investigative journalism. The award was given by the mayor of Blagoevgrad - Dr. Atanas Kambitov and the ambassador of Ireland in Bulgaria – H.E. John Biggar. 

ECAD congratulates Fabio for the recognition of his work and is proud to have him on board as our Italian representative.
Read more: ECAD representative Fabio Bernabei awarded a prize in Bulgaria

Every year ECAD makes a study visit to the Italian drug rehabilitation of San Patrignano, in Riccione. This year, a delegation from Sweden, Lithuania, Russia, Malta and Italy met with some of San Patriganos over 1300 residents. The residents spoke about recovery from addiction through compassion, hard work and a joint committment to freedom from drugs. San Patrignano have remarkable results and have become a role model for treatment centers around the world, without costing the tax payers a single euro.

If you want to know more please contact the center, or even better yet - join ECAD´s next trip to San Patrignano in the fall of 2015.

Down below you will find ECAD delegation member Emmely Wikholms impression from this years trip.

Read more: ECAD delegation visits San Patrignano

Hi Emmely, who are you and why did you join us to San Patrignano? Hi, my name is Emmely Wikholm and I am a member of the social Welfare Board and the drug commission in Gävle, Sweden for the Green Party. My mission is to decrease the use of illicit drugs within the local population with the focus at youths.  

What was your impression of the treatment center and the people you met there? The treatment center and the environment had the right spirit. Work, education and the feeling of belonging is the key to a life without drugs. When we got the tour around San Patrignano by three young guys living there I got the impression that they now had hopes and dreams in their lives. 

Did you like the conference and what will you bring back to Gävle? I enjoyed the conference and got a view of the drug politic and situation in Italy. Also the view that you don't need drugs to be sober from other drugs. We also listened to a presentation about drug courts from an american judge. It would be really interesting to see if that could be introduced in Sweden.  

ECAD will be soon holding two international conferences: October 10 in SanPatrignano, Riccione, Italy, and November 12, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Read more: ECAD conferences this autumn

ECAD new Secretary General, Erik Leijonmarck, will be speaking on Contemporary Drug Problem and Illicit Globalisation on October 10th, at ECAD own seminar in Riccione.
On the occasion of the WeFree Days, October 10-11, in San Patrignano,  the Community will launch a new initiative against marijuana legalization - Legalife - in favour of a new kind of education, promoting passion, talent and commitment instead of drugs. You will find the preliminary version here (Download PDF)
The Legalife Movement was established in October 2014 by 10 organizations with decades of experience in recovery from addiction, research and educational programmes, aiming to find answers to these and other questions, to devise new solutions in keeping with modern times, and to offer substantial opportunities.
ECAD guests will be able to participate at the event in the SanPatrignano Community.

The Forum "Out of Prison to build a better future" on Friday, October 10, will focus on international best practices and shared expertise to respond to the consequences of drug addict offenders.
On October 11, Euromedia research will present the findings on the meaning of entertainment among young and how much it it is related to going beyond the limits and getting high.



As this autumn procedes, Swedish City of Gothenburg (Göteborg) will host an important international conference "Drugs - an environmental disaster", on November 12.
This is a unique event with high-ranked international speakers as Kevin Sabet, Head of the Narcotic Policy Institute, University of Florida, USA, Professor Patrick Van Damme and Dr Wouter Vanhove, University of Ghent, Belgium, Fay Watson, Secretary General at EURAD and many others.
Conference is free of charge (Languages: Swedish and English).
Download programme in Swedish (PDF)  



Read more: Introducing new Secretary General at ECAD

ECAD has a new Secretary General starting November 1, 2014, Erik Leijonmarck. ECAD Head Office looks forward to working with Erik and would like to share some of our newly elected Secretary General`s background.

Erik Leijonmarck has previous experience of research and policy work on organized crime and drug trafficking derived from the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm, Sweden.
He is an author and co-author of numerous publications on drugs, organized crime and human trafficking and is a member of the European Consortium of Political Research´s Standing Group on Organised Crime
Erik Leijonmarck holds lectures for public sector and civil society on drug prevention and drug policy options, and is an active participant in the contemporary debate on drug policy in Sweden, primarily in the field of cannabis. He was awarded the 2014 honorary prize by the youth organization Criminals Return Into Society, Unga KRIS. 
Erik is also an active member of the U-FOLD - Forum for research on addiction to medical products and illegal drugs at Uppsala University.

As new Secretary General, Erik sets his goal to make ECAD an increasingly active voice in the European drug debate.  He will prioritize making ECAD a relevant actor in the preparations for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem in 2016.

Welcome to ECAD, Erik!

Today, October 1, 2014, Bulgarian National Drug Council (NDC) holds a meeting regarding legalisation of medical marijuana.

ECAD representative in Bulgaria, Dr. Vlatko Gligorov, will participate in the debate. As ECAD Balcan network is very broad with many active members, we were asked to come forth with a statement on medical marijuana. We publish the statement for your information ( you can also download it in PDF format here) :

ECAD on cannabis and medical marijuana

Cannabis has serious detrimental effects on health and mental capacity of the young. A large part of generally acknowledged cannabis prevention consists of attempts to convey information on cannabis injurious effects. However insufficient, this prevention technique works, and it is partly the reason why in all societies, it is only a small part of young people who experiments with drugs in general and cannabis in particular.

ECAD however, considers that political, social and environmental consequences of cannabis cultivation, trade and use, are neither fully addressed in the present debate nor taken into consideration by the education system.  

Poverty in the world increases as large areas of land are used for expensive recreational cultivation of cannabis. The production of cannabis exploits vast amounts of energy and involves poisonous substances.
Cannabis trade generates criminality, financial crimes and drugs are directly connected to human trade, terrorism and conflicts, according to the UNODC reports.

Over 2000 international studies have proof of cannabis inflicting negative impact on health and IQ, 2 of the latest sudies were presented at ECAD Annual Mayors`Conference in Stockholm in May 2014:

Informal Civil Society Hearing 10 Oct, New York, USA

WDR 2013 Launch addressed by VNGOC Chairperson

The first event will be held on 10 October 2014, from 1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. (tbc) during the 68th Session of the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly in the UN HQ in New York, USA.
On 9 and 10 October the 3rd Committee will discuss the topic International Drug Control, and we plan to give the role of NGOs a most visible platform. The theme of the NGO session will be the continuation of the successful 3rd Informal Civil Society Hearing held during CND 2014, Addressing drug use together through a health-based approach”.
The tentative agenda includes an opening panel featuring the VNGOC Chair, the UNODC Executive Director and the CND Chair. A second panel will discuss NGO priorities for UNGASS. A more detailed agenda will be shared once time and speakers are confirmed.

We are looking for proposals for NGO speakers at the event. Suggested individuals will ideally be able to attend in person at their own cost, but we will work to allow for distance-participation as well. This is rather urgent, so please send your suggestions to Elisa Rubini at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Friday, 12 September 2014, Midnight CET.

NGO Briefings to CND and MS - Oct, Nov, Dec 2014, Vienna, Austria
In addition to the above meeting, the board will hold a series of “NGO Briefings to CND and Member States”. They are envisaged to brief CND and Member States representatives on NGO experiences and recommendations to be considered in the leadup to UNGASS. Exact dates and times are still to be confirmed, but we are looking at around 4 panel events to be held in the period of October, November and December 2014. If suitable, these will be tied to CND Intersessional meetings, but can also act as standalone events.  Each event will feature 3-5 speakers who are working at a grass roots level in the area of drugs.  The exact dates and times will be communicated as soon as they are confirmed.

Again, speakers who are able to attend in person would be preferable,  but due to a lack of funding this will not always be possible. Fortunately, the CND Bureau has confirmed their full support to facilitate electronic participation in these events, so it will not be necessary to be in Vienna in order to present at a panel discussion.
A Skype or video-conferencing program will be used instead. If you/your organisation is interested in presenting its work, experiences and priorities at such a briefing session, please let us know at your earliest convenience by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Selection of Speakers

The VNGOC board is committed to ensure a balanced and transparent selection of speakers. In this regard you will find the ToR (Terms of Reference) here guiding the selection, as agreed by the board in its meeting on 3 September 2014. If you have any comments about the ToR, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.


Have a look at ECAD upcoming conferences this autumn, we have all listed in the menu to the left under Conferences.

Picture: Oscarsborg in Söderhamn, Sweden
Read more: Plan for 3 interesting conferences this autumn

2 Swedish conferences of international profile and an international annual event planned with WeFree Days of SanPatrignano recovery community are in ECAD focus.

Also, ECAD has successfully recruited a new Secretary General and we are looking forward to meet him in SanPatrignano.

Stay updated and visit our website regularly!


ECAD Sweden continues active networking with ECAD Russian branch despite political disputes. Many cities still wonder "What`s in it for me?" reflecting on ECAD cooperation with Russia. Well, here might be an aswer for you... 

Two prevention experts, Sven Persson and Marcus Häggström from Swedish county of Gävleborg, represented ECAD at a national conference for Russian drug abuse treatment in Western Sibiria, near the city of Irkutsk, on July 21-22.

The conference was arranged by ECAD national representative, Russian Narcology League, with Mrs. T. Klimenko, Russian Vice Minister for Health, E. Koshkina, Chief for Drug Addiction Treatment Department at the Ministry of Health and Eugeny Brun, head of Russian Narcology League, setting the scene.

A lot of effort had been invested in streamlining addiction treatment in Russia recently, however, much more should be done to improve outpatient treatment, prevention strategies and rehabilitation techniques, were the main opening remarks. Today, Russian addiction treatment experts research a lot on efficient evaluation methods as a part of modernizing national addiction treatment system.

Since 1980-ies, Russia had been a part of a conscious drug policy formation process and yet, there is little consensus on a common strategy for the enormous country by now. Today, according to the UN World Drug Report, 21% of all drugs produced in Afghanistan penetrate Russian market. Russia has the highest percentage of heroin addicts in the world,over 90% of all drug users in the country are heroin users.

Russian drug policy is relatively often critised in the media, however few of the critical voices actually visited farther regions of Russia, close to China, Japan and Mongolia. Drug addiciton issues are not municipal, regional or national matters, these are and should be dealt with globally, across the borders. Therefore, many Swedish cities have been networking for more than 10 years with their Russian counterparts.

Read more: ECAD Sweden networking in West Sibiria, Russia

After being interviewed by 2 Russian TV channels, Sven Persson and Marcus Häggström of ECAD Swedish network proudly present a report on the state of affairs in West Sibiria down here.

Download the story in Swedish (PDF)