The city of Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria awards members of law enforcement in Bulgaria and all over the world who have done outstanding efforts to combat criminality and corruption. The award is in the memory of italian mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone who was assassinated in 1992.

Dear Mrs Vice Mayor,
Your Excellency Ambassador,
Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the hospitality of the city of Blagoevgrad shown to ECAD and for inviting me here to attend the award in memory of Giovanni Falcone.

My name is Erik Leijonmarck and I am the secretary general of European Cities Action Network for Drug Free Societies (ECAD) which this city, Blagoevgrad, is a member.

ECAD was founded in 1994 by cities that wanted stronger actions on illicit drugs and reject legalization of them. Since then, our cities have worked very hard to address the size of their drug problems through concerted actions on drugs by investing in prevention, treatment and control.

Today that fight is more important than ever. The challenges we are facing are twofold:

The first challenge comes from commercial interests who invest to make drugs legal, accepted and promoted to young people, much like alcohol and tobacco is today. With commercialized cannabis in North America, parents across the world are now facing an assault on their young ones from commercials, from popular culture and from wall street aimed at sparking addiction in the young vulnerable brain.

Parents need to be vigilant on the allure of drugs, reinforced by commercialization, for youngster. Parents need to be close with their children and have a strong communicative bond with them, embodied by mutual trust and respect. Parents need to be monitoring their children and know what they are up to and with whom their children spend time.

The second challenge comes from the mafia and the traffickers in drugs. Society cannot cede ground to corruption, violence or threats to the rule of the law. Those who do their part in this fight, prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, customs officers and others, must be remembered and honored as they truly are heroes to the rest of us.

Let the example set by Giovanni Falcone ripple through history and make a precedent for all of us to keep our vigilance up and spirits high.

I want to thank the city of Blagoevgrad for keeping the flame burning and Giovanni Falcones memory vivid.
Thank you.

Read more: ECAD speaks at award ceremony for anti-mafia in Bulgaria
ECADs 26th Mayors Conference - Pathways to Recovery is now open for registration!

The conference will be held in beautiful Cork on Ireland on June 13-14th 2019 and discuss the topic of recovery from addiction.

In what ways can municipalities facilitate recovery among their citizens? What ís recovery capital? How can we replace the chain of brief interventions, health stabilizations, relapses and criminality to sustain a long term recovery? How can we progress those with an addiction along a journey from being a heavy burden on themselves and others  towards becoming valuable and contributing members of their societies?

These are some of the questions we look forward to discuss with you.

Registration here:

Hotels here:

ECAD is organizing a workshop on evidence based primary prevention in cooperation with reserachers from Iceland. The workshop co-organized with the city of Stockholm and the Stockholm county.

Participation is free of cost.

09.00-09.20 Introduction

Sofia Herlitz County Administrative Board Stockholm

Therese Holmkvist Stockholm City, Social Administration

Erik Leijonmarck, ECAD

09.20-09.50 About Planet Youth – how it started and what was done,

Jón Sigfússon, Planet Youth, ICSRA, Iceland (in English)

09.50-10.30 Theoretical starting points and scientific evidence

Inga-Dora Sigfúsdottir, Planet Youth, ICSRA, Iceland (in English)


10.45-11.30 About Planet Youth in Sweden – challenges and way forward

Håkan Leifman, Planet Youth ICSRA

11.30-12.00 Discussion, questions

Read more at:

Read more: Workshop on Evidence Based Primary Prevention in Stockholm 6 February
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


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.

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
Register to

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


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.