ECAD Secretary General was invited to speak in a podcast on drugs on Youtube called "Hur kan vi (tala om narkotika)" - How can we speak about drugs? The conversation was ongoing for 90 minutes and touched upon some aspects on the meta debate on drugs and what societies can do to counteract the drug problem.

The discussion is likely to continue. The recorded Youtube podcast can be viewed here.
ECAD was one of the main presenters at Swedish Conference Drogfokus in October 2018. Drogfokus is a conference for government agencies responsible for treatment and prevention of drug use and abuse as well as the criminal justice system. Alcohol, tobacco, narcotic drugs and doping substances was the topic of the conference. ECADs Secretary General presented ECADS view from civil society on narcotic drugs for a 900 head audience.

The speech was recorded by Swedish media and can be viewed here.

Read more: ECAD Speaks at Health Conference Drogfokus in Uppsala, Sweden
Early in October ECAD organized a study visit to SanPatrignano recovery community and used the opportunity to visit a workshop on viral hepatitis conducted at the same time.
The workshop took place in SanPatrignano and was accredited by the Italian Ministry of Health.
The red line in the discussions was the need for a common strategy that should account for regional approaches, subpopulations and settings.
As there are many medical specialists among ECAD members who might find this topic very interesting, we publish the Conference Highlight Report here (PDF).

Viral hepatitis and doktor Lazarus 1

Read more: Project seminar i Eskilstuna - successful networking

ECAD is implementing a 12 month-long primary prevention project that started with a workshop in Eskilstuna this September. Project teams from 7 cities (Tallinn, Kaunas, Jurmala, Dobele, Eskilstuna, Minsk and Odessa) in the Baltic Sea region participated in the seminar, making use of the 20-year long research on reducing the substance use among the youth, named the Icelandic Model.

The seminar was focused on the evidence-based findings of the Icelandic model, brought to Eskilstuna and presented by the team of researchers from the Icelandic Center for Research and Analysis. The key-message of getting to grips with the specifics of efficient prevention is changing the context (environment) that forms the behaviour of people, since personal lifestyle is socially conditioned. The objective is to achieve a long-term cultural change.
To introduce the change it is vital to ensure an up-to-date mapping of the actual situation with substance use in the project cities. It can be achieved by introducing regular questionnaires among 14-15 old youth and understanding their physical and mental state. One of the success factors here is a committment of elected city officials to facilitate the continuity of data collection.

Project partners discussed the actual situation in the project cities and identified a number of challenges, depending on the size of the community and the well-being of its citizens. The most common challenges turned to be lack of regular interventions and local prevention programmes, the use of cannabis and synthetic substances among the youth and lack of gender-specific prevention.

The Icelandic model can provide adequate resoponse to these challenges. So two of the present city officials (Kaunas, Lithuania and Odessa, Ukraine) had decided on the introduction of Icelandic methodology and regular data collection after the seminar.

The participants expressed vivid interest in networking with each other and the contacts are now established on the regular basis among all of us. The next step will be visiting the communities, participating in the data collection in November and thus the project partners have to take the decision on how profound their involvement in the project will be.

We are also looking forward to the next meeting in Odessa in M
arch 2019.

The project is supported by the Swedish Institute and is driven in compliance with the UN Agenda 2030 and EU strategy for cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, promoting and improving people`s health.
 Read more: Project seminar i Eskilstuna - successful networking

Read more: Project seminar i Eskilstuna - successful networking

During ECADs 25th Mayors Forum and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs in Gothenburg more than 60 speakers discussed topics related to the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs to a 400 head large audience. One of our prominent speakers, Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, presented her findings from international research on conflict areas, insurgencies, terrorism and organized crime to give an overview of the relationship between Organized Crime, Illicit Drugs and Terrorism.

Illicit drug production in weak states have enriched guerrillas, militias, organized crime groups, terrorist groups and corrupt governments alike. Violence, corruption and insecurity threaten the integrity and legitimacy of governments and their institutions.

Yet, it is not so easy as to equate tough drug control with increased levels of violence. The illicit drug trade is more violent in some parts of the world than others. What are the linkages between organized crime, drug trade and terrorism? What blame can be attributed to the so-called war on drugs and how should the vicious cycle of state fragility, conflict and weak rule of law be turned into a virtuous cycle of increased security and development?

What follows is a summary complied by ECAD Secretary General who moderated the event. Any mistakes in the text or discrepancies to what Vanda said shall be attributed to him.

Vandas speech can be viewed on Youtube at:
A written compilation of Dr Felbab-Browns speech can be accessed here

Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.A. in Government from Harvard University, USA. Vanda Felbab-Brown is a Senior Fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, as well as Director of the project 'Improving Global Drug Policy: Comparative Perspectives Beyond UNGASS 2016'. Vanda Felbab-Brown is an expert on international and internal conflicts and non-traditional security threats, including insurgency, organized crime, urban violence, and illicit economies as well as author to several books, policy reports, academic articles and opinion pieces.

Download the full commentary here


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.

26th Mayors Conference - Cork 2019



and 6th World Forum Against Drugs

Register to

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)


Register to
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


Kaunas logotypeRegister to

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!

Archives of ECAD's mailed newsletters from 2003 until 2013. To subscribe to ECAD's new email-based newsletter, click here.
Official ECAD mission statements in six different European languages.
The ECAD Resolution, crafted at a conference to increase cooperation between cities, provides inspiration and hope for areas with particularly difficult drug problems. The signatories to the resolution will affirm their decision to fight against the spread of drugs.