ECAD Balcan network has many very active cities, one of these is Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria. On Wednesday, October 26th, ECAD Secretary General attends the awardinRead more: ECAD speaks for the UN conventions in Blagoevgrad, Bulgariag ceremony of the nominated judges and police officers in the memory of Giovanni Falcone:

 "The coward dies every day, the courageous - only once" at the Municipality of Blagoevgrad.

The contest was established in 2009 by the city of Blagoevgrad with the assistance of the Italian Embassy in Bulgaria and also a personal support of Professor Maria Falcone and the foundation "Giovanni and Francesca Falcone", Palermo.

By pursuing its aims to support the efforts of these magistrates and police officers who risk their lives protecting public interests and prestige of the profession and to contribute to the reduction of criminal behavior, seen as a trend, both locally and at national level.

Erik Leijonmarck`s speech at the ceremony (can be also downoladed as PDF) :

Dear Mr Mayor,

Dear Mr State Governor,

Dear Mr Minister,

Your Excellency Ambassadors,

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the hospitality of the city of Blagoevgrad shown to me and for inviting me here to speak on the award “the cowardly dies every day, the brave – only once” in memoriam of the Italian magistrate Giovanni Falcone”.

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

ECAD was founded in 1994 by cities that wanted stronger actions on illicit drugs and reject legalization of drugs. 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.

Use of illicit drugs is a preventable malady and a risk factor for a wide range of negative outcomes including mental and other illness, school dropout and academic failure, road accidents, unemployment, low life satisfaction and relationship problems. Drug use and other social problems are intertwined so that drugs use is associated with and commonly exacerbates other problems.

ECAD is a warm supporter of the UN drug conventions which restricts the use of drugs to medical and scientific purposes only. The success of the conventions is evident when comparing use of illicit drugs, which amounts to roughly 5 percent annual prevalence, to levels of use of licit drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, which are up to ten times higher.

Those seeking to replicate policies of commercialization and legalization of mind altering substances like those already in place for alcohol and tobacco, have a hard time accounting for the health burden to our societies and cities from those legal drug industries.

There is no inherent conflict between the international drug control and human rights. Control over drugs does not equate mass incarceration of drug users. It is important to maintain societal norms of non-drug use supported by enforcement of the law while ensuring that those with an addiction problem are directed towards treatment to prevent them from relapsing in crime and addiction. This is not a choice between using either the law or the health care but a choice to utilize both whenever appropriate.

It is important to recognize that the trafficking and retail sales of illicit drugs constitute an important source of revenue for organized crime. Drug demand reduction is therefore imperative to break the power of the mafias by undermining a vital source of income to them. To seriously combat organized crime each of us must come together and do our part. We must never give up on policing and prosecuting criminals and their organizations but we must also be tough and address the vulnerabilities in our communities that legitimize crime and fuels demand for drugs. ECAD is working hard to do the latter and we are very encouraging to those who do the former.

We are very glad to have the city of Blagoevgrad on board for this important work and we are very proud over the work being done by Giovanne Falcone and his successors, in Italy, in Bulgaria and across Europe.

Thank you.

Significant reductions in drug consumption levels are possible through concerted action. That is the message given by the Mayor of Reykjavik, Dagur B Eggertsson, the director of Icelandic Centre for Social Research, Jon Sigfusson and the secretary general of ECAD, Erik Leijonmarck who met in ECAD city of Bucharest last week to celebrate 10 years anniversary of the prevention program Youth in Europe.

Read more: Reykjavik Mayor: Prevention works!
Jon Sigfusson director YiE, Dagur B Eggertsson Mayor of Reykjavik, Georgiana Pogonaru Honorary Counsul, Ben Oni Ardelan Senator, Cosmina Simiean Nicolescu, Bucharest Municipality

"Back in 1998 the situation of adolescent substance use on Iceland was terrible. Substance use among adolescent was the highest in Europe based on ESPAD data. We were losing the kids and their families. The city of Reykjavik and the Icelandic government felt they needed to do something. Now substance use is the lowest in Europe” says the director of Icelandic Center for Research and Analysis and Youth in Europe, Jon Sigfusson

Read more: Reykjavik Mayor: Prevention works!

How has that come about?

It has been a systematic approach and commitment to prevention by the whole society. But it’s not just about the drugs it is about healing the society. Change the society and the behavior of children will follow. We needed to strengthen the preventive factors for children and eliminate the risk factors. It is as hard, yet simple as that.

What did you do?

Dagur B Eggertsson, mayor of Reykjavik explains that in 1994 the city entered into ECAD and Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir entered as the first woman-mayor of Reyjavik. Reykjavik launched a five year drug prevention programme Drug free Iceland 1997-2002 in cooperation with the Icelandic Government and ECAD. Up till that point nothing they did in prevention was really working. In 2003 the positive changes were already evident and we decided to keep on. Since then, the numbers just keep on dropping.

The methodology expands to European Countries

In 2005 the work on Iceland was decided to be expanded to other European countries. The methodology is now being transferred to other cities in Europe and is reducing levels of substance use across the European continent. We are already seeing changes in European cities which have adopted the methodology, Jon Sigfusson says. Jon emphasizes that he wants others to steal his work and continue to work systematically to reduce levels of substance use and improve overall health of youngsters in Europe.

Dr Adrian Sarbu from the city of Bucharest explains that Bucharest is utilizing the data from Youth in Europe not only to reduce substance use levels but also to bring down levels of suicides in the city.

Read more: Reykjavik Mayor: Prevention works!

Presentation by Dagur Eggertsson

Youth in EuropeYouth in Europe - Icelandic primary prevention programme celebrates 10 years` Anniversary in Bucharest on the 22nd of September.

ECAD has been closely cooperating within the Youth in Europe programme since 2006, we introduced the concept to many cities and the programme has been running successfully for 10 years.

ECAD Secretary General Erik Leijonmarck will be moderating the event at the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest, Strada Izvor 2-4.
Please register before September 19.

Contact Youth in Europe Programme Manager Jon Sigfusson for further questions:

Conference language is ENGLISH

Gaevle kommun logotypECAD member, the city of Gävle, hosts Swedish National Fair "Sverige mot narkotika" this week, September 7-8. The Fair is a platform for taking an offensive stance against the use of drugs among Swedish policy makers, NGOs and the public. ECAD is one of the organizers, together with the city of Gävle and 18 other NGOs - proponents of sober and drug-free lifestyle.
This event gathers lots of key drug policy officials in Sweden and some prominenet guests coming from abroad, journalists and public are welcome to join at the Open Scene for free.

This year`s Fair circle around Swedish and Norwegian drug policy specifics. We will also talk in English about Effective Community-based prevention when Sue Thau, public Policy Consultant at Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), USA arrives to Gävle these days.

Welcome to visit ECAD website in Swedish here

"Sverige mot narkotika" Programme in Swedish (PDF)

Read more: New Psychoactive Substances - a challenge for the Baltic Region
Picture: EMCDDA

98 new synthetic cannabinoids came to surface and were registered in 2015. European monitoring agency for drugs and drug addiction (EMCDDA) sees no decline in the availability of new drugs on the internet market.

A growing number of NPS in Europe puts a significant pressure on the capacities of the forensic laboratories in the countries affected. Synthetic cannabinoids and opioids are also considered to be more toxic, having caused mass poisonings and deaths.

In addition to that, NPS – producers target a rather vulnerable sector of non-controlled synthetic opioids, fentanyls and suchlike, raising concerns on the medicines diverted from therapeutic providers and synthetic opioid products used for substitution treatment in some countries, according to the European Drug Report 2016.

ECAD is organizing the 3rd  project conference Synthetic opioids and cannabinoids – a growing challenge for the region on Thursday, November 3. The conference will be angling Swedish specifics in the field of synthetic opioids. The plan is also to look closer at Latvian and Estonian drug markets in regards to synthetic opioids and to finalize our project findings.

Download the details in our Conference Announcement here (PDF).

To register for the Conference, you need to fill in and send back the Booking form (Word) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before October 28.


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

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.