ECAD has been invited to Moscow on dec 3-5 to speak at the conference Parliamentarians Against Drugs alongside other NGO´s working with preventing drug use and treating drug addiction.

UNODC director Yuri Fedotov, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and minister of health Veronika Skvortsova as well as various UN bodies are presenting their views to reaffirm support for the international drug control system and how to address the world drug problem.

ECAD Secretary General will speak on evidence based primary prevention and how local and regional governments can contribute to drug demand reduction.

Read more: ECAD Speaking at Russian State Duma - Parliamentarians Against Drugs


On November 7th ECAD was invited by Public Policy Exchange to Brussels to comment upon the new
European Union Action Plan on drugs 2017-2020. The EU Drug Strategy 2013-2020
consists of overarching objectives concretised into two sets of action plans
from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.

ECAD Secretary General remarked that the action plan represents a solid and diverse sets of actions
with which to address drug use and addiction but it could be better balanced to
emphasize evidence based primary prevention and the ambition to fully recover
drug addicts from their addiction.

It is the experience of ECAD that there exists a genuine distrust in the ability to prevent drug use
more than at the margin, among EU policy makers. The distrust could be
summarized in the following way.

The younger generation is not receptive to an adult message of don't use drugs. Many interventions and
programs to prevent drug use have proved insufficient and/or counterproductive
and is therefore a waste of time and resources. Further, drug use has not
decreased in the EU as a whole while drug related deaths are on the rise,
partially related to the use of NPS such as fentanyl.

While there is some truth to this assessment, EU policy makers would be wise to carefully
scrutinize the European country that has consistently managed to reduce use of
substances for more than 20 years – Iceland. On Iceland, evidence based primary
prevention is revolutionizing our understanding of how drug use and other
problematic behaviour of adolescents can be prevented.

Evidence based primary prevention is not about making young people receptive to a message of non-drug
use or changing their attitudes. It is about engineering the environment in
which young people grow up to strengthen protective factors and weaken risk
factors. All should be based on consistent research and monitoring and a
dialogue between researchers, policy makers and those implementing the changes.
The Icelandic model is not magic, it is not a fancy new program or sets of
actions that will immediately change the situation but a slow and consistent
progress aimed at changing the behaviour of youth. It is also well researched
by more than 100 scientific articles.

ECAD Secretary General also expressed his views on the importance of having belief on the ability of
recovery from drug addiction in clients in need of treatment services. ECAD is
a part of a two year long EU project on recovery from drug addiction with
partners from across Europe. The key findings are that drug use are in many
cases a recoverable condition if given the right tools.

The problem some of our member cities face is how to combine and connect health and harm reduction
services with psychosocial interventions and long term support, including after
care for those in recovery. How do we enable an environment that is receptive
to the needs of the recovered users and support or maintain the recovery
process without them falling off track and relapsing?

The EU action plan has the right sets of tools in place for the promotion of recovery across union
member states. However, the action plan is geared towards risk and harm
reduction services which are easy to implement and monitor and have clear
indicators of success. Being in treatment or in a needle exchange program is
easy to assess and measure. Those recovering on the their own or with the
support of family and friends is harder to follow up on.

The Secretary General opened up for a discussion on a new set of indicators of success for people
with drug use problems that could be applicable to both risk and harm reduction
services as well as treatment services. Self-reported quality of life, payment
of tax, ability to hold a job, engagement with volunteerism etc could be
discussed as measures of success of drug addicts in treatment and recovery.

International conference on Recovery, Rehabilitation and social Reinsertion will be held next week, November 15-16, in Zagreb, Croatia.
Triple R Project partners from Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Croatia will be sharing expertise on addiction and discussing rehabilitation, recovery, justice interventions and alternatives to incarceration. The aim of the project final stage i Croatia is fostering treatment instead of punishment and promoting social reintegration for recovered drug addicts.

Conference Programme

You can still register and send this Booking form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. untill Friday, November 10, by 15.00 CET.
Logos for Triple R

The Triple R project is a 2-year long European project based on the exchange of the best practices in the field of recovery between EU member states that took place in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The Belgian Drug Courts Popov GGZ, the Italian San Patrignano and CeIS Rome, Dianova Spain, Basta and ECAD have been actively engaged in the project.

The second phase of the project Triple took place in Croatia implementing a research study on current needs of treatment services, therapeutic communities, social reinsertion programs, alternative sentencing interventions and piloting the Triple R guidelines with the involvement of Croatian partners NGO Stjiena, NGO Udruga San Patrignano and NGO Institute Pula and local stakeholders.

Blagoevgrad 2016

These early November days ECAD Secretary General attends the city of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, one of the most active ECAD cities in the Balkans.

Annual Award ceremonies in memory of Giovanni Falcone and Veronica Guerin were founded by the Municipality of Blagoevgrad with the assistance of the Italian Embassy in Bulgaria and a personal support of Professor Maria Falcone and The Giovanni and Francesca Falcone Foundation, Palermo.
The main goal of this celebration is to support the efforts of magistrates and police officers, and also journalists, who risk their lives to serve and protect our society and bring their profession to a higher level, to shed light on, reduce and eradicate the criminal activities, which are prolific on a global scale.
ECAD prize from Blagoevgrad cut

The AWARD Ceremony 2017 was held on November 1st, in memory of Giovanni Falcone - Cowards die every day, the brave – only once! - which honours magistrates and police officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect the citizens.

The 11th AWARD Ceremony of the contest IN MEMORY OF VERONICA GUERIN - Heart and speech against drugs, 2017 is held today, November 2, and ECAD is about to receive this award.

Here is the speech of ECAD Secretary General made at the Award Ceremony in Blagoevgrad (PDF)

The awards will be presented by the Ambassador of Ireland His Excellency Michael Forbes and Dr. Atanas Kambitov, Mayor of Municipality of Blagoevgrad.

One of the biggest recovery communities in the world, San Patrignano, opened its doors last week to ECAD international guests at the WeFree days, October 10-11.

Read more: Italian prevention days in SanPatrignano

Our group of 20 persons participated in the high level political Forum organized by the Community guests. This is also an opportunity for parents, schools and those affected by addiction to set the question on national and international agenda, involving foreign speakers and acting politicians, this time - Valeria Fedeli, Italian Minister of Education, University and Research, Gabriele Toccafondi, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, University Professors, School rectors, Italian movements of parents and international speakers, e.g. Julie Schauer, founder to Parents Opposed to Pot.

High-level political discussion was vital for ECAD group for accumulating international experience of dealing with addiction recovery, on local and national levels, as a parent and as a key figure in a local community. The topic of the Forum this year was Educating by leaving a positive sign, when teachers and parents together brought up the issue of addiction among the teenagers.
A dramatic change at shools was introduced at place with the involvement of the Minister of Education, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on prevention education at schools, thereby the educational system strives to make students aware of the implications of the substance use. For the first time in Italy, the need of support to schools provided by the national government was put in print in this document, placing prevention issue in the first place, said Valeria Fedeli, Italian Minister of Education.

Italian society is under a process of altering its attitude to the link between schools and families, updating its stance on gender issues in the cultural context, where girls are more vulnerable, having lower self-esteem and a tendency to use new drugs (synthetic cathinones, Ketamine, etc.). Mrs Roberta Potente from the Department of Epidemiology at the Italian CNR, informed that 40% of 15-19 year olds have tried gambling, allowed from the age of 18 onwards. Annual studies among school students were introduced and in 6 shools a pilot project informing on pathological gambling is running.

Every year the Community of San Patrignano gathers around 15 000 people, who become a part of the WeFree project. Apart from the High level forum, ECAD group spent two days visiting workshops, prefessional and training facilities, theatrical shows and had a private session with questions and answers to the Community guests and recovery specialists. The focus of this dialogue was on overcoming drug addiction in various cultural contexts, sharing experiences and becoming role models for the young people.

ECAD is grateful to SanPatrignano for exceptional hospitality, trust and a lot of insights in the topic, we are looking forward to visit the Community next year!

Read more: Italian prevention days in SanPatrignanoRead more: Italian prevention days in SanPatrignano
Read more: Italian prevention days in SanPatrignano
Read more: Italian prevention days in SanPatrignano


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.


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.