International Conference "Drug Use Tendencies: Facts and Decisions"

(posted 13/11/2009)

 

On the 5 th of November, 2009 Drug Control Department under the Government of Lithuania in cooperation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Lithuanian Parliament's Drug and Alcohol Prevention Commission and European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) organized an international conference "Drug Use Tendencies: Facts and Decisions". The main goal of the conference was to review the drug use tendencies in Lithuania and European Union, to present new researches about new psychoactive substances, to introduce recent prevention initiatives and to launch the annual EMCDDA report together with the annual Drug Control Department under the Government of Lithuania report. The conference attracted more than 500 participants.

The conference was opened by Ms. Irena Degutienė, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, Ms. Vincė Vaidevutė Margevičienė, the Chairperson of Lithuanian Parliament's Drug and Alcohol Prevention Commission and Ms. Audronė Astrauskienė, the Head of the Drug Control Department under the Government of Lithuania. Ms. A. Astrauskienė also gave a presentation on the trends in psychoactive substance use and control in Lithuania which was later followed by the launch of EMCDDA report on the drug use problems in Europe presented by Ms. Dagmar Hedrich. In her presentation Ms. D. Hedrich introduced drug use prevalence and drug use tendencies in Europe, reviewed the recent decisions and provided recommendations on the prevention measures to be taken. As well Ms. D. Hedrich gave a comprehensive presentation on polydrug use challenges in Europe.

United Nations Office on Dugs and Crime expert Ms. Zhannat Kosmukhamedova introduced recent policy developments and researches on effective interventions for injecting drug users, pointing that the estimated number of people in the world who inject drugs is about 16 mln. and approximately 3 mln. of them are HIV positive. Though UNAIDS, WHO and UNODC recommend a comprehensive package of services for injecting drug users, comprising needle and syringe programs, pharmacological and other drug dependence treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, voluntary HIV counselling and testing, prevention and treatment of STIs, condom programming, targeted information, education and communication, hepatitis diagnosis, treatment and vaccination and TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment, 92% of people who inject drugs in low- and middle income countries still have no access to HIV prevention services of any kind. Ms. Signe Rotberga, Head of UNODC Project Office for the Baltic States presented UNODC support to improve access to HIV prevention and care for injecting drug users and in prison settings in the Baltic States, introducing the project activities, including small grants programme, capacity building events, prepared information and education materials, training modules and guidelines, etc. As well Ms. S. Rotberga reviewed project mid-term evaluation results and recommendations, highlighting one of them - need to start methadone maintenance therapy in prison settings, as drug use prevalence is about 20 times and HIV prevalence in prisons is more than 90 times higher in comparison with the national average in the country. Ms. S. Rotberga praised Police Department for effective action to ensure continuation of methadone therapy in arrest houses.

During the third part of the conference European and Lithuanian best practices in drug prevention   were presented by Ms. Federica Vigna-Taglienti from Piedmont Centre for Drug Addiction Epidemiology, Ms. Ona Davidonienė from Lithuanian National Mental Health Center and other experts. Delegates from the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Lithuania and Prison Department under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania analyzed illegal drug circulation tendencies in Lithuania, use of psychoactive substances in schools and in prisons. ...
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From left to right: Ms. Vincė Vaidevutė Margevičienė, the Chairperson of Lithuanian Parliament's Drug and Alcohol Prevention Commission, Ms. Audronė Astrauskienė, the Head of the Drug Control Department under the Government of Lithuania, Ms. Dagmar Hedrich, Program Coordinator, European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction

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Drug Control Department under the Government of Lithuania photographs

 

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