Plan for a visit to San Patrignano Recovery Community and WeFree Days, October 11-12, near Rimini in Italy.
The main topic this year is Drugs and Violence.

WeFree Day is an annual high-level forum for international and Italian political bodies, media, artists, and relevant international associations to increase awareness about harms to health, society and the environment caused by drugs, trafficking and production of illegal narcotic substances. 

ECAD arranges a seminar on October 12th.

Register to participate using our Booking Form here (Word). Send it back to ECAD : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download Programme Outline (PDF)

Read more: Invitation to WeFree Days in SanPatrignano

San Patrignano Community

At the end of May ECAD held the second Baltic Spice Alert project conference in Tallinn. It was titled
"Why do most drug related deaths occur in the Baltic Sea Region?".

The conference was preceded by a study visit to the Estonian Forensic Science Institute and discussions on fentanyl fatalities -  the main cause ot Estonian highest drug-related mortality rates in the EU (EMCDDA Drug Report 2016, trends and developments).
This time the project gathered the most qualified researchers working with the drug overdose mortality rates in Estonia, Latvia and Sweden to explain the negative statistics reflected in the recent European drug reports. Police representatives, forensic specialists, youth coordinators working at schools, Tallinn and Riga City social policy officers amounted to 35 conference delegates from all 3 project countries.Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference

As the discussions progressed, some light was shed on the very different specifics of the highest overdose mortality rates in the region.Fentanyls and its fake analogues bother mostly Estonian partners, while Latvian and Swedish colleagues mention
the new psychoactive substances often mixed with benzodiazepines as the main factor contributing to the high mortality rates.

Both synthetic cannabinoids (that caused a number of deaths in Latvia and Sweden in 2014) and synthetic opioids (troubling Swedish law enforcement and forensic specialists at the moment) have become a critical challenge to detect and identify in seizures and in biological specimines. Synthetic cannabinoids and their chemical components are also under constant modifications that place them under an ambiguous legal status in national legislations. Detecting and identifying these new substances is in fact a precondition for excelling an effective prevention and treatment policy, and all the project partners already employ the EMCDDA Early Warning system to do so.

Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference

The project partners also identified effective risk communication as the main prevention tool. Raising public awareness on the risks of the NPS, in addiction to the legislative measures to control the incoming NPS seemed extremely important. In addition to that, sharing expertise on national health experience seemed a valuable experience within this project, which is why Baltic Spice Alert is building up a network.

ECAD presented a new project, an efficient prevention tool in tackling the spread of the synthetic mixes in the Southern Sweden recently. The project "Film for Real" proved to be a success in reaching for the younger generation by involving them in research on drug effects and in actual film production. It run in 3 Swedish cities : Ystad, Simrishamn and Staffanstorp and is about to be launched in the cities of ECAD. Please contact ECAD Office if you are interested to know more.

Three project network partners will meet again this autumn in Stockholm. ECAD will report on the progress of the conference and study visit plans during the summer.

Tallinn Conference materials (still keep coming):

Overview of Estonia`s Drug Policy, Anna-Liisa Pääsukene, Ministry of Social Affiars, Estonia

Drug Overdose Mortality in Estonia, Gleb Denissov, Head of the Estonian Causes of Death Registry, Estonian National Institute for Health Development

Lethal outcomes and drug overdoses in Estonia. Statistical overview. Mailis Tönisson, forensic toxicologist, Estonian Forensic Science Institute

Latvian Police on Drug Fatalities, Jānis Berzkalns, Deputy Chief, Edgars Bukšs, Chief Inspector, Riga Municipal Police Department, Latvia

An innovative Prevention project and Spice-related deaths in Southern Sweden

Drug-induced deaths in Latvia,
Diana Vanaga, researcher, Reitox National Focal Point, Latvia

Read more: Synthetic opioids and drug-related deaths in focus at Tallinn conference

Fabio Bernabei`s  work to stop the use and spread of illegal narcotic drugs was extremely important for ECAD and lots of other international associations and NGOs. He will be immensely missed by those who were on the same wavelength for the promotion of a drug-free society.

fabio bernabeiFabio Bernabei died on Monday, May 30, 2016. Born in Rome on 1 November 1963, his untimely death is due to the return of a bone tumor which had struck him when he was just 16 years.

Journalist and essayist, who was trained at the school of Brazilian catholic thinker Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, he was a promoter of many initiatives and battles in defense of Christian civilization, especially as a founding member of Associazione Famiglia Domani (Association of Tomorrow’s Family) and Centro Culturale Lepanto (Cultural Center Lepanto), whose president he became in 2006.

Fabio Bernabei was a founder-director of
Associazione Osservatorio Droga and editor of its online magazine, Italian National representative for ECAD, a correspondent of anti-drug international journal Narkotikafragan  and Drug Watch International (DWI, Washington), and a consultant for the Italian government’s Department of National Drug Control Policies. For his denunciation of the "drug culture", he received prestigious "International Veronica Guerin Award" in the category of freelance journalist.

Among his books, we remember those dedicated to refuting the drug ideology:
Storia moderna della droga (Modern History of Drugs), I Libri del Borghese, Roma, 2010; Cannabis medica?(Medical Cannabis?), Sugarco, Milan 2012;

Fabio updated the cover image of his profile on Facebook on July 15, 2014, with the face of Pope Francis and his following statement: «I would like to say very clearly: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise». And Fabio fought against this evil until the end, without concessions or compromises.

Read more: In memoriam of ECAD associate Fabio Bernabei

In 2014 Fabio Bernabei received Veronica Guerin Award from the ECAD City of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

We call upon our associates to keep him in their memories as a person who despite his health problems, has always fought for the good cause with utmost self-denial, generosity, sacrifice and courage. Suffice to recall that at times he was jumping from a plane to another, at least until he was physically able to do so, to attend drug-related meetings and events whenever they were taking place, from Wien to Tehran, from Istanbul to Sophia and Reykjavík in Iceland, and beyond.

RIP (Requiescat in pace) and let us remember him in our prayers.

Read more: EU Recovery project - update on study visit to Rome

A week in May, 16-20, was devoted to the EU project (Triple R) study visit to Rome and Centro Italiano di Solidarieta don Mario Picchi, or CEIS.

Triple RRR project has now its own website, click here for a detailed project description and all study visits.

The framework of the study visit reflected the need to understand the Italian rehabilitative model based on the "Progetto Uomo" ( "Project Man") ideals. A project "Man" has historically opened new opportunities for recovery in Italy, promoted acceptance for differences among the clients of the community, perceiving addiction as a humanity disease, different for each human being.

There are 1200 drug treatment communities in Italy and in 2015 there were 90 000 persons in treatment.
Italian perspective over the public and private governance in the rehabilitation of drug users has been oriented to the Christian and family values. It was developed with some assistance from the Vaticane,  explained CEIS Area coordinators, Massimo Caciolo and Andrea Pilloni.

"Project Man" implies that the more responsibility one gets as the treatment evolves, the less control is exercised on the way.
We were intorduced to the Progetto Uomo rehabilitation model applied at 2 therapeutic communities, at San Carlo residential facility in Castelgandolfo and at Santa Maria therapeutic Community. Both communities apply the 3-phase model  (physical intervention, phychological therapy and consciencious involvement) but have different residential programmes that can last 18-20 months.
Among therapy goals are individual autonomy (reaching autonomy, not sobriety (!)), remodelling cognitive maps (meaning that treatment centre is a place of awareness and care, where clients get their pharmacotherapy gradually decreased in a protected environment; and reshape their family relationships), and rapid resocialization.

 The project partners were involved in a psychodrama, reflecting a process of rapid resocialization. It is a technique to visualize in a graphic way a relationship in a group at one specific moment. The parameters used are "attraction" and "rejection".
We also had a glimpse into the double-diagnosis treatment by ECO programme.

The project partners worked on reorganizing the work load,  finalizing the main concepts for the manuals and set some new deadlines for the work on the Triple R Project publications on Rehabilitation, Recovery and Reinsertion as well as for the justice intervention handbook.

ECAD looks forward to publishing and spreading the manuals on Rehabilitation, Recovery and Reinsertion - the joint work of 4 established recovery communities in the EU and a handbook on Justice Intervention - the experience and knowledge of Drug Courts in Belgium put in print this autumn.

This is the first output of the RRR project that will be presented and spread at the EU headquarters in Brussels at the beginning of 2017.

ECAD invites all interested social workers, politicians, students, researchers, forensic scientists, policemen and teachers to our second project conference Why do most drug-related deaths occur in the Baltic Sea region?  in Tallinn, this Friday, May 27.

We shall take up the impact of new psychoactive substances in the Baltic Sea region, drug-induced deaths and highest mortality rates in the EU. The topic is mostly actual for Sweden and Estonia, and for our Latvian partners to a certain extent.

We will discuss the growing number of fatal outcomes as a result of drug overdoses in Estonia, Latvia and Sweden. To what extent does new psychoactive substances contribute to total mortality rates and why do most drug-related deaths occur in the Baltic Sea Region?
ECAD will also present a recent prevention project tackling the use of Spice in the southern Sweden. Maybe your city would like to join?

The Conference is arranged in cooperation with Tallinn City Council. We have the honour to use the beautiful Jaan Poska residence, at Jaan Poska str. 8 as our Conference Venue.

Conference Programme for download (PDF)

Warm welcome to Tallinn!

gamla Tallinn


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.

28th Mayor's Conference - Invitation - May 11th and 12th, 2023 - Malta
On May 11th and 12th, the 28th ECADs Mayor's Conference will take place at Dolmen Hotel in Qwara, Malta. We warmly invite you to join us and expand your knowledge on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. The conference will highlight best practices and research in the field. It will offer the opportunity to network with other ECAD members, representatives from local authorities, and non-governmental organisations. Registration is free for the first person attending from your organisation!

Additionally, the conference allows for a unique experience as it includes a full day of field visits on May 12th. All participants are invited to Komunita’ Santa Marija, which will be sharing information on their services, and their experiences, and will engage in discussions.

The Agenda has now been published! The deadline to register is April 22nd

Day 1

11/05/2023 | 09:00 – 17:30 | The Oracle Conference Centre - Dolmen Hotel Qawra, St. Paul's Bay
08:30hrs – 09:00hrs| Registrations
09:00hrs – 09:05hrs| Welcome Address by the President of Local Councils’ Association - Mr Mario Fava
09:05hrs – 09:15hrs| Welcome Address by ECADs Chairman of the Board from Kristiansand, Norway - Mr Viggo Lütcherath
09:15hrs – 09:20hrs| Welcome Address by the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government - Hon. Alison Zerafa Civelli
09:20hrs – 09:40hrs| Inspirational speech – “Push yourself to do it because no one else is going to do it for you” by the President Northern Regional Council & LCA Executive Member - Mr. Clifford Galea Vella Maslennikov
09:40hrs – 10:30hrs| Panel Discussion and Presentation – Discussing the Local Context

The prevention team within Sedqa would like to present the following studies.

Study 1: The Role of a Workplace Policy in Addressing Employees’ Substance Misuse Difficulties.
Aim: To explore the probability of an employee seeking support for a substance misuse difficulty elicited by the workplace ethic fostered by management. Through this paper, we seek to determine a possible correlation between the implementation of a substance misuse policy at the workplace, and employees’ probability to seek guidance and support from their employers for a substance misuse-related difficulty.
Study 2: A Substance Misuse Policy in the Workplace: Senior Leadership Teams’ Attitudes
Aim: To explore how senior leadership teams’ (SLTs) attitudes inform the drafting of a substance misuse policy and how those attitudes inform job retention procedures in the case of an employee disclosing a substance misuse difficulty. Uncovering SLTs’ attitudes toward addiction is essential to understand how these beliefs inform workplace policy aims and actions on substance misuse.

Keynote speakers representing Sedqa Prevention team:

Mr Jareth Grima – Social Worker
Ms Sheryl Spiteri – Prevention Team
Ms Stephanie Mizzi Cascun – Prevention Professional.

10:30hrs – 11:00hrs| Coffee Break

11:00hrs – 11:45hrs| Mr Jon Sigfússon Planet Youth – Evidence-based drug prevention.
Mr Sigfússon is the international programme director for the evidence-based Planet Youth Guidance primary community-based health promotion intervention. Over the course of 20 years, Mr Sigfússon directed the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA).

11:45hrs – 12:30hrs| Mr Matej Košir - Strategies and tactics to prevent cannabis legalisation in Slovenia - The power of prevention science and advocacy.

Mr Matej Košir has been working in prevention and advocacy in the field of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs for around 25 years. Since 2006, he has been involved in more than 30 European projects in the fields of health, justice, education, youth and research as a project or work package leader.

12:00hrs – 14:00hrs| Seated Buffet Lunch

14:00hrs – 14:45hrs| Profs. Christian Thurstone, MD - The impact of legalisation in Colorado, USA – challenges faced by [local] authorities and communities.
Profs. Thurstone is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and a child psychiatrist who specialises in addiction treatment. He published some of the first papers on the potential effects of marijuana legalisation on youth and has devoted his professional life to preventing and treating adolescent substance misuse.

14:45hrs - 15:30hrs| Ms Mulka Nisic - Recovery Cities - Creating sustainable connections and networks in cities.
Ms Mulka Nisic has been involved as a Regional Project Manager and International Relations Officer at the NGO Celebrate Recovery, and Secretary General of the Recovered Users Network-RUN.

15:30hrs - 16:00hrs| Conclusive Remarks
16:00hrs – 17:30hrs| ECAD Plenary for ECAD Members only
19:30hrs – 23:00hrs| Welcome Dinner at The Pavilion Suite, Westin Dragonara St Julian’s - Separate Registration is required in the application form.

Day 2
12/05/2023 | 09:15 – 19:00
09:15hrs – 09:30hrs| Transport leaves from Dolmen Hotel & Salini Resort to Komunita Santa Marija
09:30hrs – 09:45hrs| Registration and Welcome Coffee
09:45hrs – 10:15hrs| Introduction to the services offered by Komunita’ Santa Marija.
10:15hrs – 11:00hrs| Sharing of good practices and discussion
11:00hrs – 11:30hrs| Tour around Komunita’ Sanata Marija premises
11:30hrs – 12:00hrs| Transport to Ħagar Qim in Qrendi
12:00hrs – 13:15hrs| Ħagar Qim Visit
13:15hrs – 13:30hrs| Transport to Xgħajra
13:30hrs – 16:00hrs| Lunch (you will have time for a short stroll by the seaside)
16:00hrs – 18:00hrs| Cultural Visit in Mdina – Visiting the National Museum of National History
18:00hrs – 19:30hrs| Visiting Dingli Cliffs
19:30hrs - 15:30hrs| Transport to Salini Resort and Dolmen Hotel

Register to

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)


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


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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.