October 26-28, ECAD Director Jörgen Svidén was invited to the Khanti Mansiysk region in Siberia, Russia, and the city of Nizhnevartovsk. The visit emanated from the political will of Khanti Mansiysk regioNizhnevartovsk_coat_of_armsn to have closer connections to other European cities, to learn about successful prevention practices and to exchange well-proven experience with counterparts in other countries.

When looking for a platform to do this, ECAD was chosen as a bridge to administrative contacts and best practice base for Khanti Mansiysk region. ECAD appreciates this well-thought initiative very much.

The visit contained an informative lecture on ECAD activities, with mayors, practitioners and high officials from different cities of the region present, as well as fruitful and long discussions. During this short visit there was also time for several study visits and an agreement signing between a Mayor of Nizhnevartovsk and the city`s pharmacies, in order to make them aware of the importance of restrictive approach when selling products containing narcotic substances.

ECAD is happy to announce that a group of experts and policy makers from Khanti-Mansiysk region will visit Stockholm on November 21-25 for a series of study visits.

ECAD warmly welcomes initiatives like this and looks forward to see representatives of cities of Nizhnevartovsk, Khanti-Mansiysk and others as members of our extensive network soon.

Prevention means a great deal. To young people, their families, the police, practitioners, policy makers, economists, governments and societies prevention is all about consequences and responsibilities each and everyone has for their lives.

To mark the significance of prevention for drug policy strategies, ECAD joins the biggest rehabilitation community in the world, San Patrignano, to celebrate conscious life choices, for a life free from drugs. In this spirit
 SanPatrignano community annually draws attention to prevention using unconventional ways. Dance, knowledge and shows are used to convey the message of awareness and responsibility, involving schoolchildren and theatrical performances, alltogether at WeFree day.

To match with it, ECAD adds up with its own practical seminars, this October with a lecture on Swedish prevention practices and an investigation on Italian drug policy (download PDF-files below). 60 participants from 16 cities in 10 countries came to Riccione to be at ECAD seminar and WeFree day on October 15-16 this year. WeFree Forum speakers focused on the issue of medicalization of suffering, treating eating disorders, depression and psychological pain with new kinds of pills and drugs. This approach, identifying a vast part of society as “sick”, was openly criticized by Allen Frances, American Psychiatrist and Chair of the task force that created DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1994.


Beside that, experiences of WeFree Day included exploring a real cocaine laboratory, reconstructed in San Patrignano with a guidance of Columbian “Shared Responsibility” team, and a great deal of international projects to promote integration of young people. Lots of dance projects being a part of WeFree Hero (e.g.. Breakdance Uganda Project, rappers from Sociedad Real in Columbia, Transformers from Portugal, Skateistan from Afghanistan, training over 300 children in skating and literacy) were amazingly professional and meaningful.
Those of you who couldn´t come to SanPatrignano can download seminar materials from here, you are also most welcome to join the event next time!

"Perspectives on prevention. International outlooks" (PDF)
Anders Eriksson, Development Unit, Social Services Administration, City of Stockholm, Sweden

"Italian drug policy: a deep investigation" (PDF)
Fabio Bernabei, Journalist, Associazione Osservatorio Droga, Italy

Here are some pictures:

 Read more: The Importance of Prevention: WeFree DayRead more: The Importance of Prevention: WeFree Day


Read more: The Importance of Prevention: WeFree DayRead more: The Importance of Prevention: WeFree Day

General information and preliminary programme (pdf-file)
ECAD thanks WeFree organizers and all seminar participants for coming to Rimini and sharing the experiences of these days that provide us with inspiration until we meet next year.


October 6th and 7th ECAD takes part in Irish annual conference "Getting a grip 2011 : Substance misuse - a health or criminal issue?"

 Killarney town, coat of armsThe Conference takes place in Killarney and is open to members of the public. ECAD director Jörgen Svidén will make a presentation about the role of municipalities and team work of core actors in the prevention-treatment-rehabilitation chain of work.

Read more about the conference and view the programme here.

On September 15-16 ECAD had a conference in Veliky Novgorod, Russia with the topic ”It works! Drug Prevention from an international perspective”. The Conference was organized in cooperation with the City of Veliky Novgorod and ECAD’s National Representative in Russia, Olga Vasilyeva.

In a couple of hours before the conference was launched, ECAD met Mayor of Veliky Novgorod, Yury Bobryshev, who regarded the topic of the conference actual, also on an international scale. The Mayor stated that drug addiction is a universal issue, where all parties should cooperate constructively to succeed.

Around 70 active participants, prevention researchers, sociologists, municipal officials, teachers, law enforcement officers and politicians from 5 Russian member cities and representatives from 10 interested non-member cities, also city administrative officials from Varna, Bulgaria took part.
Read more: Prevention policy reflections in Veliky Novgorod

Present ECAD cities in Russia expressed a wish of expanding and strengthening ECAD Russian branch.  This is based on the need coming from within the municipalities to prioritize prevention work and learn more about international best practice in this field. During 2 days´ conference, the participants discussed prevention strategies in theory and practice.

 Two internationally ranged studies were presented, ESPAD and Örebro comparative analysis of drug abuse patterns in Sweden and Russia.

Most of the speakers and discussions were channeled towards new and developing preventative programmes in Russia. These are not many today and are also mostly youth-oriented. Prevention programmes are still not a part of each school´s educational curriculum, only separate preventative lectures are introduced.

A lack of systemic solutions and educational basis within municipal drug policy coordination were regarded as obstacles by Russian prevention researchers.
At the same time, many speakers stressed the significance of rehabilitation facilities. There are only 4 state rehabilitation centers officially registered in Russia, and circa 300 rehabilitation NGOs.

There is a need for legislative support on the federal level, introducing prevention as a part of legislative framework would step up municipal preventative initiatives in Russia, agreed many participants.


It was concluded that along with social, economic and media climate changes, a general public reaction and motivation towards altering behaviour should stimulate young minds, stressing positively oriented will and thinking. Similar risk and protection factors and situation development patterns in Veliky Novgorod and Swedish city of Örebro were distinguished in particular.

 Protection from group pressure, unorganized leisure time spent in the streets, mass media with its advertisements, sometimes sending an ambivalent message to the young are rRead more: Prevention policy reflections in Veliky Novgorodegarded as challenges and risk factors by teachers and sociologists. On the other hand, spending more time with parents, contract method as a conscious choice of health and sports, organized free time are viewed as positive factors.


ECAD is grateful to all engaged and skillful lecturers, among them Professor Natalya A. Sirota, Moscow Stomatology Institute, Professor Charli Eriksson, Orebro University and psychologist Natalya Antonova, St. Petersburg State University.


A Conference is often a finale of a lot of work carried out, a sort of a peak. A successful conference, on the contrary, is a birth and launch of new ideas, important contacts and projects.

It was obvious that the conference in Veliky Novgorod resulted in all these effects, as there were many fruitful discussions both during the questions times and at the breaks.
ECAD thank Veliky Novgorod and Olga Vasilyeva for making this Conference such an interesting event!


At ECAD Mayors´ conference in Varna this May, Mr. Roland Simon, head of Unit for Interventions, best practices and scientific partners at EMCDDA, spoke of  recent reports from UNODC and several other studies that had indicated Russian and Ukrainian opiod problems were above the European average. EU average is around 4 cases per 1000 population aged 15 - 64, in the Ukraine it is 10-13 cases, in Russia - 16 cases per 1000 people. Millions of Russians are estimated to be addicted to illicit drugs. In 2009, 100 000 drug-related deaths were reported.

ECAD observed and took part in Russian drug policy developments for years thanks to many project contacts with drug enforcement, treatment facilities and NGOs, particularly in St.Petersburg, where ECAD representation in Russia was active. While Russian parliamentarians were focusing on improving an obsolete legal framework of the 90-ies in order to adjust drug policy to the actual situation, many private actors worked with drug addicts in the streets. One of the oldest and most successful turned out to be addiction treatment community New Life, close to St. Petersburg.

Read more: Russian Independent Drug Treatment Centre Sets Example Read more: Russian Independent Drug Treatment Centre Sets Example
This NGO was twice included into educational visit programme organized by ECAD Sweden for Swedish drug policy coordinators in order to get to grips with a survival and success kit the NGO invented without any sort of state support.

Last autumn, a fact finding visit was paid to the community by a project team from Institute for Security and Development Policy.
A policy brief paper was published afterwards, also reflecting on Russian drug policy developments
(download as PDF-file). 

This August, a group of drug policy coordinators from Sweden will continue with experience exchange and a study visit to St.Petersburg. ECAD will publish a review of the study visit soon.


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: https://2022.wfad.se/ 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!

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.