ECAD's activities from year to year culminate in the annual ECAD Mayors Conference, hosted by a distinct ECAD member city every summer. Councillors and other politicians and policymakers convene with academics and civil society organizations to participate in seminars and study visits, discussing the latest developments in drug prevention efforts throughout Europe.

28th Mayor's Conference - Invitation - May 11th and 12th, 2023 - Malta
On May 11th and 12th, the 28th ECADs Mayor's Conference will take place at Dolmen Hotel in Qwara, Malta. We warmly invite you to join us and expand your knowledge on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. The conference will highlight best practices and research in the field. It will offer the opportunity to network with other ECAD members, representatives from local authorities, and non-governmental organisations. Registration is free for the first person attending from your organisation!

Additionally, the conference allows for a unique experience as it includes a full day of field visits on May 12th. All participants are invited to Komunita’ Santa Marija, which will be sharing information on their services, and their experiences, and will engage in discussions.

The Agenda has now been published! The deadline to register is April 22nd

Day 1

11/05/2023 | 09:00 – 17:30 | The Oracle Conference Centre - Dolmen Hotel Qawra, St. Paul's Bay
08:30hrs – 09:00hrs| Registrations
09:00hrs – 09:05hrs| Welcome Address by the President of Local Councils’ Association - Mr Mario Fava
09:05hrs – 09:15hrs| Welcome Address by ECADs Chairman of the Board from Kristiansand, Norway - Mr Viggo Lütcherath
09:15hrs – 09:20hrs| Welcome Address by the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government - Hon. Alison Zerafa Civelli
09:20hrs – 09:40hrs| Inspirational speech – “Push yourself to do it because no one else is going to do it for you” by the President Northern Regional Council & LCA Executive Member - Mr. Clifford Galea Vella Maslennikov
09:40hrs – 10:30hrs| Panel Discussion and Presentation – Discussing the Local Context

The prevention team within Sedqa would like to present the following studies.

Study 1: The Role of a Workplace Policy in Addressing Employees’ Substance Misuse Difficulties.
Aim: To explore the probability of an employee seeking support for a substance misuse difficulty elicited by the workplace ethic fostered by management. Through this paper, we seek to determine a possible correlation between the implementation of a substance misuse policy at the workplace, and employees’ probability to seek guidance and support from their employers for a substance misuse-related difficulty.
Study 2: A Substance Misuse Policy in the Workplace: Senior Leadership Teams’ Attitudes
Aim: To explore how senior leadership teams’ (SLTs) attitudes inform the drafting of a substance misuse policy and how those attitudes inform job retention procedures in the case of an employee disclosing a substance misuse difficulty. Uncovering SLTs’ attitudes toward addiction is essential to understand how these beliefs inform workplace policy aims and actions on substance misuse.

Keynote speakers representing Sedqa Prevention team:

Mr Jareth Grima – Social Worker
Ms Sheryl Spiteri – Prevention Team
Ms Stephanie Mizzi Cascun – Prevention Professional.

10:30hrs – 11:00hrs| Coffee Break

11:00hrs – 11:45hrs| Mr Jon Sigfússon Planet Youth – Evidence-based drug prevention.
Mr Sigfússon is the international programme director for the evidence-based Planet Youth Guidance primary community-based health promotion intervention. Over the course of 20 years, Mr Sigfússon directed the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA).

11:45hrs – 12:30hrs| Mr Matej Košir - Strategies and tactics to prevent cannabis legalisation in Slovenia - The power of prevention science and advocacy.

Mr Matej Košir has been working in prevention and advocacy in the field of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs for around 25 years. Since 2006, he has been involved in more than 30 European projects in the fields of health, justice, education, youth and research as a project or work package leader.

12:00hrs – 14:00hrs| Seated Buffet Lunch

14:00hrs – 14:45hrs| Profs. Christian Thurstone, MD - The impact of legalisation in Colorado, USA – challenges faced by [local] authorities and communities.
Profs. Thurstone is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and a child psychiatrist who specialises in addiction treatment. He published some of the first papers on the potential effects of marijuana legalisation on youth and has devoted his professional life to preventing and treating adolescent substance misuse.

14:45hrs - 15:30hrs| Ms Mulka Nisic - Recovery Cities - Creating sustainable connections and networks in cities.
Ms Mulka Nisic has been involved as a Regional Project Manager and International Relations Officer at the NGO Celebrate Recovery, and Secretary General of the Recovered Users Network-RUN.

15:30hrs - 16:00hrs| Conclusive Remarks
16:00hrs – 17:30hrs| ECAD Plenary for ECAD Members only
19:30hrs – 23:00hrs| Welcome Dinner at The Pavilion Suite, Westin Dragonara St Julian’s - Separate Registration is required in the application form.

Day 2
12/05/2023 | 09:15 – 19:00
09:15hrs – 09:30hrs| Transport leaves from Dolmen Hotel & Salini Resort to Komunita Santa Marija
09:30hrs – 09:45hrs| Registration and Welcome Coffee
09:45hrs – 10:15hrs| Introduction to the services offered by Komunita’ Santa Marija.
10:15hrs – 11:00hrs| Sharing of good practices and discussion
11:00hrs – 11:30hrs| Tour around Komunita’ Sanata Marija premises
11:30hrs – 12:00hrs| Transport to Ħagar Qim in Qrendi
12:00hrs – 13:15hrs| Ħagar Qim Visit
13:15hrs – 13:30hrs| Transport to Xgħajra
13:30hrs – 16:00hrs| Lunch (you will have time for a short stroll by the seaside)
16:00hrs – 18:00hrs| Cultural Visit in Mdina – Visiting the National Museum of National History
18:00hrs – 19:30hrs| Visiting Dingli Cliffs
19:30hrs - 15:30hrs| Transport to Salini Resort and Dolmen Hotel

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27th Mayors Conference - Gothenburg and online 2022

The 27th Mayors' Conference and 8th World Forum took place in Gothenburg and online 13-14th June 2022.

The World Forum and Mayor’s Conference is a meeting place for people from all continents who are working to prevent drug abuse, ensure evidence-based and gender-sensitive practices, increase access to treatment, and to promote recovery and reintegration services. This global forum is one of its kind where NGOs, self-help groups, treatment centres, scholars, local, regional, and national authorities, politicians and other decision-makers, and others from around the world will meet to share evidence and best practice experiences. This year’s World Forum will include three main tracks: Prevention, Treatment/Recovery, and Advocacy, which will stretch over 1,5 days followed by the WFAD Congress and ECAD Mayors plenary session. 

We are proud to announce that the Forum was inaugurated by UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and will be joined by experts from around the world.

Read more on the website: and access the full report here
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26th Mayors Conference - Cork 2019



and 6th World Forum Against Drugs

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Conference materials

Kevin Sabet, PhD, Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida, President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), USA
Speech at the WFAD /ECAD 25th Mayors Conference, Gothenburg, May 15, 2018 (Video 5min.)

Supply reduction in Peril?  A lot of the worlds`s drug supply emanates from a war-torn Columbia.
Dr. Michael Jonsson, FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Text to the slides (PDF)
In Columbia, a peace deal has been struck, which gives hope for a closure of insurgency and violence. (PDF)

Thomas Pietschmann, Dr, Drug Research Section, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs
The International drug control system, global/regional and national drug patterns and trends, and supply reduction efforts at the international level (PDF)


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Photo: Götaplatsen @ Klas Eriksson

Annual Mayors` Conference and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs will take off on May 14-15 in Gothenburg this year.
This joint event will address a growing interest to the effective prevention practices, full recovery and alternatives to incarceration and to life-long dependency on drug treatment.
The conference will create a room for elaborating a practical guide to how a recovery city will look like, this will be grounded on the recent evidence-based research.
Sheffield Hallam University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium) and the City of Gothenburg have already started working on this guide in practice.

In order to find out more and to register please visit a joint webpage here.

 WFAD logo jpg  Logo Gothenburg


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ECAD 24th Mayors` Conference materials

On June 12-13, the city of Kaunas hosted ECAD 24th Annual Mayors`s Conference 2017

Safe Cities Without Drugs. Preventing, Protecting, Policing

Key-note speakers:

David W. Spencer, Field intelligence Manager, Drug Enforcement Agency, European Region

Supply reduction and dismantling drug trafficking organizations: In what ways can local communities benefit (PDF)

Kim Nilvall, Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence section, Organized crime

Police work in socially disadvantaged areas in Sweden: Impact of drugs on urban crime (PDF)

 Torsten Stodiek, Deputy Head, Strategic Police Matters Unit, Community Policing Advisor, Transnational Threats Department, OSCE

Preventing terrorism and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism:

A community and intelligence led policing approach (PDF)

Jon Sigfusson, Director for Icelandic Centre of Social Research and Analysis, Reykjavik University, ICSRA

Youth in Europe and Planet Youth (PDF)

Laimonas Vasiliauskas, Senior Specialist, Serious and Organized Crime Department, EUROPOL

European Illicit Drug Market (PDF)

 Antonio Boscini, Health Director, San Patrignano Community, Rimini, Italy

Recovery and social reinsertion: San Patrignano Community model extended (PDF)

a wall of participants



 Conference Booking Form

@ Rokas Tenys, the Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle
Picture: @Rokas Tenys

Warm welcome to Kaunas, Lithuania!

ECADs next Mayors Conference titled Pathways to Recovery will take place in the Irish city of Cork on June 13-14th 2019.

The conference will be focusing on different aspects of recovery from drug addiction and what cities can do to promote a sustainable recovery from addiction. 

Read more: Cork 2019 - ECADs Mayors Conference

On June 12-13, 2017 the City of Kaunas will host the 24th ECAD Annual Mayors’ ConferenceSafe Cities Without Drugs. Preventing, Protecting, Policing”.

Kaunas logotype

It is our pleasure to invite you to this important conference and to share successful examples of prevention, discuss common problems and find common solutions. Safe cities without drugs are the cities preventing effectively, policing crime, protecting the citizens and their health.


Read more: Kaunas hosts Mayors Conference June 12-13, 2017


CONFERENCE BOOKING FORM (to be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Read more: Kaunas hosts Mayors Conference June 12-13, 2017
Picture: Kazys Mikalauskas

Warm welcome to Kaunas, Lithuania!

Following is a rough summary compiled by ECAD of the main points from some of the presentations.  For in depth information about the presentations or the publications featured download the slides or contact the speakers directly.

The conference participants were welcomed by the Chairman of Rogeland County Council Solveig Ege Tegnesdal and the vice mayor of Stavanger Bjørg Tysdal Moe. 

Read more: Summary of Presentations from 23 ECAD Mayors Conference

Building healthy and safe cities through prevention and treatment

The first Key note speaker was Mr. Raymond Yans, Member of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and its former chair between the years 2012-2014. In his speech Building healthy and safe cities through prevention and treatment, Mr. Yans emphasized the role of demand reduction and prevention as cost efficient and effective efforts to counteract the economic and social consequences of drug abuse and save government costs later on.

He urged all ECADs member cities to continue sharing knowledge and best practices of the effectiveness of prevention measures in various contexts and to undertake prevention strategies that are comprehensive, sustainable and based on the common grounds reflected in the drug control conventions.

The full speech by Mr Raymond Yans can be read here. 

International Standards of Drug Use Prevention

International Standards on Drug Use Prevention

Following Mr Yans speech, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme Officer Wadih Maalouf, PhD gave us a comprehensive overview of the International Standards of Drug Use Prevention that the UNODC has developed. The primary objective of prevention is to help people (particularly-not exclusively-young people) avoid or delay initiation of use, or, if they started already, to avoid to develop disorders (e.g. dependence). The general aim is much broader. It is the healthy and safe development of children and youth to realize their talents and potential, becoming contributing members of their community and society.

Drug Use is a Developmental Problem

Each stage of development, from infancy to early adulthood, is associated with a certain expected range of:

- intellectual ability

- language development

- cognitive, emotional and psychological functioning

- social competency skills

Each needs attention to prevent the onset of drug use and dependence.

Interventions Based on Scientific Evidence are designed to prevent initiation and escalation of drug use and related problems among children who are exposed to risk conditions and experiences and who have personal characteristics that heighten risk:

- To overcome adversity

- Increase resiliency skills

- Reduce the level of exposure to deleterious factors

Believed to exert effects through improvements in:

- Underlying brain and cognitive functions

- Corresponding skill sets

- Underlying mental health, emotional and behavioral problems

Drug Use
Well-grounded in science on prevention, the standards identifies common characteristics among prevention programmes designed for different age groups and gives an overview over what works and what does not in prevention.
Types of Programmes

For more information on the UNODCs standards on drug use prevention read the slides by Mr Waidh Maalouf or download the standards

Effective Drug Prevention: CADCA’s Community Coalition Model

Sue Thau, Public Policy Consultant at CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)

Download Sues presentation here

CADCA was founded in 1992 as a recommendation from the President’s Drug Advisory Council. Today, CADCA supports a comprehensive, data-driven approach to prevent the use of illicit drugs, underage drinking, youth tobacco use, and the abuse of medicines representing more than than 5,000 community coalitions.

CADCA’s Vision is a world of safe, healthy, and drug-free communities.

CADCA´s mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy, and drug-free communities globally

Keys to Pushing Back Against Drug Use

-          Taking a comprehensive, data-driven approach that appropriately mobilizes those who have a role in reducing access to and availability of drugs

-          Changing social norms about the harms that drug use can cause is also critical


A coalition is a formal arrangement for cooperation and collaboration between groups or sectors of the community, in which each group retains its identity but all agree to work together towards a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug-free communit                                     
Coalitions bring together community sectors to develop and carry out data-driven, evidence-based strategies to achieve population-level reductions in substance abuse rates to include underage drinking, tobacco use, illicit drug use, prescription drug and OTC misuse and abuse

7 Strategies

Mj Alc and Cigarettes

evalutation cadca

The Health & Social Effects of Nonmedical Cannabis Use - The State of Knowledge: Knowns & Unknowns

Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse WHO HQ Geneva

Presented by Mr Dag Rekve

What follows is a shortened version presentation of the report.

The full presentation can be downloaded here.
The report of non-medical use of cannabis is produced by the WHO and can be downloaded here

The report

The report is about:

-          nonmedical use of cannabis, not medical use.

-          the health and social effects of cannabis use.

-          the current knowledge on a very broad impact on health; “what we know”.

-          priority areas for future research; where we lack sufficient knowledge.

The report is the outcome of two years of work and was developed by a broad range of scientists, medical doctors, experts that provided background papers in their area of expertise. An expert meeting was held to discuss and review the evidence. A smaller group drafted the report led by three main editors. The work was reviewed by external reviewers.

The report covers:

-          Cannabis substance profile and its health impact.

-          Neurobiology of cannabis use.

-          Short-term effects of cannabis.

-          Mental health and psychosocial outcomes of long-term cannabis use.

-          Long-term cannabis use and non-communicable diseases.

-          Prevention: interventions targeting families, school settings, vulnerable groups.

-          Treatment of disorders: therapies, management of acute cannabis intoxication and withdrawal, relapse prevention.

How has WHO judged the evidence?

First requirement: Evidence of an association between cannabis use and the health outcome

Second requirement: Evidence that makes reverse causation an implausible explanation of the association. To rule out that cannabis use is a consequence of the health outcome rather than the cause of it.

Third requirement: Most difficult, to assess evidence that the association is not explained by other uncontrolled or unmeasured factors (as cannabis users are likely to use other drugs, and of the difference from non-users in risk-taking etc.).

Fourth requirement: A causal relationship between cannabis use and the health outcome is biologically plausible

Other factors that may support a causal interpretation include strength of the association, dose–response relationships, specificity of the association and reversibility of the effect after removal of the drug.

How have WHO defined the harms to health?

WHO has looked at the severity of the effects do to:

-          The properties of the substance itself

-          The form and mode of administration used

-          The characteristics of the person taking the substance

-          The social context in which it is taken

What we know about the short-term effects of cannabis use

The most obvious short-term health effect of cannabis is intoxication marked by disturbances in the level of consciousness, cognition, perception, affect or behaviour, and other psychophysiological functions and responses.

A minority of first-time cannabis users become very anxious, have panic attacks, experience hallucinations and vomit. These symptoms may be sufficiently distressing to prompt affected users to seek medical care.

Acute use impairs driving and contributes to an increased risk of traffic injuries.

There is some evidence that cannabis use can trigger coronary events. Recent case reports and case series suggest that cannabis smoking may increase CVD risk in younger cannabis smokers who are otherwise at relatively low risk.

What we know about the long-term effects of regular cannabis use

Regular cannabis users can develop dependence on the drug. The risk may be around 1 in 10 among those who ever use cannabis, 1 in 6 among adolescent users, and 1 in 3 among daily users.

Withdrawal syndrome is well documented in cannabis dependence.

Growing evidence reveals that regular, heavy cannabis use during adolescence is associated with more severe and persistent negative outcomes than use during adulthood.

In a number of prospective studies there is a consistent dose−response relationship between cannabis use in adolescence and the risk of developing psychotic symptoms or schizophrenia.

The association between cannabis use and psychosis or schizophrenia has been recognized for over two decades in at least four ways:

-          Cannabis produces a full range of transient schizophrenia-like positive, negative and cognitive symptoms in some healthy individuals.

-          In those harbouring a psychotic disorder, cannabis may exacerbate symptoms, trigger relapse and have negative consequences on the course of the illness

-          With heavy cannabis use, susceptible individuals in the general population develop a psychotic illness which is associated with age of onset of use, strength of THC in the cannabis, frequency of use and duration of use.

-          Cannabis use is associated with lowering the age of onset of schizophrenia It is likely that cannabis exposure is a "component cause" that interacts with other factors to precipitate schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder, but is neither necessary nor sufficient to do so alone.

Long-term cannabis smoking produces symptoms of chronic and acute bronchitis, as well as microscopic injury to bronchial lining cells, but it does not appear to produce COPD.

Long-term heavy cannabis smoking can potentially trigger myocardial infarctions and strokes in young cannabis users.

Smoking a mix of cannabis and tobacco may increase the risk of cancer and other respiratory diseases but it has been difficult to decide whether cannabis smokers have a higher risk, over and above that of tobacco smokers.

There is suggestive evidence that testicular cancer is linked to cannabis smoking and this potential link should be investigated further.

What we know about prevention and treatment

Evidence-based preventive interventions should cover the whole prevention chain from universal and selective to indicated prevention.

Comprehensive family prevention that involves training for parents, children and the family collectively is found to be effective in reducing both lifetime cannabis use and past-year use in adolescents.

Life skills programmes that combine both a social competence curriculum and social influence approaches are shown to reduce cannabis use at 12-month follow-up and beyond.

Interactive social programmes targeting vulnerable young people is found to be effective in reducing past-month cannabis use.

A single-session brief psychological intervention of 30−45 minutes increases the chances of cannabis cessation if people are not dependent on cannabis.

Many people with cannabis-use disorders cease cannabis use without treatment.

For people who are dependent on cannabis, family interventions are effective for adolescents, and CBT, MET and PPS are effective in adults.

The 23 ECAD Mayors Conference in Stavanger is affected by the strike in Norweigan Hotel chains. The venue and the accomodation is changed but the conference will be held as planned. 

Participants are being rebooked to hotels Thon Hotel MaritimeKongsgaten 32, Stavanger and  Scandic ForumGunnar Warebergs Gate 17, Stavanger. 

You will be informed in a separate email during the afternoon to which of the two hotel you are being rebooked.

In order to make it easier for you to find the Conference venue (Eiganesveien 64) , Welcome Reception on Sunday (at Ledaal, Eiganesveiein 45), Conference Dinner  on Monday (at Olavskleivå 25, Klubben), and Skagenkaien for the Boat Tour on Wednesday we have prepared a map for you down here (klick on the map).

Conference Venue, Eiganesveien  64 is pinpointed.

Read more: Programme for the 23 Mayors Conference

Klick here to open the map:  Conference logistics

For all details regarding the program and venue of the conference please see the attached programme in pdf

A warm welcome to Stavanger!


ECAD Mayors`Conference 2016 will take place on May 9-10 in Stavanger, Norway.

Proactivity beats Reactivity : Examining the evidence for sound drug prevention in our cities

Download Programme Highlights (PDF)

Download, fill in and send us the Conference Booking Form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or fax it to +46 8 508 29 466

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