Peer Speakers at EHRC 2021

20 October, 2021

The 5th European Harm Reduction Conference will take place in Prague from 10-12 November, 2021. Several panels are being organised by members of INPUD, EuroNPUD, ENPUD and other peer-led networks. We have compiled these panels, and others of interest to the community, below to make them easy to find. 

You can find the full EHRC program here. 


 

Pre-conference Workshops: Wednesday 10.11.2021

 

Workshop 3: C-EHRN - EuroNPUD: A Starters kit for testing in the community by the community
11:30 - 13:00
Room: Neklan
Chairs: Jason Farrell, Choices; Rui Coimbra Morais, CASO

The Workshop will discuss experiences of community services to facilitate HCV testing and care and present a step-by-step Starterskit, which supports community groups to establish such an intervention. Please register via your registration account. 

Satellite II: UNODC HIV/AIDS Section - HIV prevention, treatment and care among & with people who use stimulant drugs
Room: Main Hall
Chairs: Mat Southwell, EuroNPUD; Monica Ciupagea, UNODC HIV/AIDS Section

For many years, the focus on HIV prevention among people who use drugs has concentrated on the injection of opiates. Compared with other drugs, the contribution made by the use of stimulants to increases in HIV infection rates is difficult to quantify, yet most evidence points towards a positive association between stimulant use, higher-risk sexual and injecting behaviors and HIV infections.

Both non-injecting and injecting stimulant drug use has been associated with sexual transmission of HIV, particularly among men who have sex with men and sex workers.The overlapping risks between key populations are not sufficiently addressed by current interventions. As a result, relevant HIV services are not tailored to the needs of specific sub-groups and remain inaccessible.

Participants in the workshop will learn more about specific situations and how to address HIV among people who use stimulant drugs, focusing on specific key populations (Men Who Have Sex with Men, People Who Use Drugs including Women Who Use drugs, Sex Workers, Transgender people).

The goal of the workshop is to increase the knowledge and capacity of participants to develop effective strategies to ensure that people who use stimulant drugs and are vulnerable to HIV have access to HIV services.

The training will consist of:

  • Overview of the epidemiological situation related to HIV and stimulant drug use – presentation of the results of the UNODC literature review followed by discussion;
  • Barriers and opportunities for addressing the specific needs of the key populations – interactive group exercise followed by plenary discussion;
  • Overview of Chapter 5 “Implementation Considerations” of the UNODC technical guide “HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support for People Who Use Stimulant Drugs” – plenary presentation;
  • Lessons learned, evaluation, closing.

Please register via your registration account. 


 

Day One: Wednesday 10.11.2021

 

Plenary opening session S1
14:30 - 16:30
Chairs: Eberhard Schatz, Katrin Schiffer

Welcome words:
Milena John, Councillor for Social Policy and Health, Municipality of Prague; Jiri Richter, Sananim

Keynote speech: Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA

Moderated discussion – Ricardo Bapiste Leite, Global Parlamentarians Network Unite
Panellists discuss drug policy developments in the European region

Panellists:

  • European Commission, DG Justice, tbc
  • Senator Lynn Ruane, Ireland, Global Parliamentarian Network Unite
  • Jindrich Vobrovil, Institute of Rational Addiction Policies (IRAP)
  • Iga Jerziovska, Civil Society Forum on Drugs
  • Mat Southwell, EuroNPUD
  • Thomas Kattau, Council of Europe, Pompidou Group
  • Mariam Jashi, Member of Parliament, Georgia
  • Massimo Barra, Rome Consensus (Red Cross)
  • Ganna Dovbakh, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)
  • Milutin Milosevic, Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE)

 

Day Two: Thursday 11.11.2021

 

Major Session 1: Drug policy: decriminalisation – the next logical step for Europe?
9:00 – 10:30
Room: Main Hall
Organiser: International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
Chair: Eliza Kurcevič (EHRA)

The criminalisation of people who use drugs (PWUD) compounds drug-related harms and worsens health and welfare outcomes worldwide. However, a growing number of jurisdictions have decriminalised the possession of some or all drugs for personal use, including many pioneering examples from Europe.

When done in line with the evidence and partnership with PWUD, decriminalisation has the potential to improve public health and human rights dramatically. However, when sub-optimal models are created or models prejudice some drugs over others, this potential can be missed, and new problems can emerge.

Decriminalisation policies have always been permitted within international drug conventions. There has also been increased acknowledgement and promotion of this approach in recent years – most recently from a common position for the entire UN system.

In this session, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) invites you to explore the arguments for decriminalisation and some of the complex and challenging questions which remain. Europe can become a global champion for effective, ‘gold standard’ decriminalisation approaches – just as it was for harm reduction adoption decades ago.

Speakers:
Marie Nougier (IDPC)
Rui Miguel Coimbra Morais (CASO Drug Users Union)
Zaved Mahmood (OHCHR)
Tore Sørensen (Norwegian Ministry of Care and Health Services)

Major Session 4 - Key issues during the pandemic: naloxone and overdoses
9:00 – 10:30
Room: Bruncvik
Organiser: EuroNPUD and Deutsche Aids Hilfe
Chairs: Daphne Chronopoulou, Dirk Schäffer

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of significant gains for people on Opioid Agonist Treatments (OAT), naloxone distribution and overdose prevention. The pandemic forced the drug treatment system to provide weekly take home doses and light touch supervision models using telehealth care systems. This experience has challenged the use of overly intrusive and paternalistic models of drug treatment and allowed people  to demonstrate their ability to manage their medication and be meaningful partners in their own treatment.

This  session will present an overdose implementation study,  highlight new naloxone interventions in Denmark, Sweden and Bavaria (Germany) and showcase peer-led research with people in OAT to highlight concerns before reviewing EuroNPUD’s OAT Client Guide and the UK OAT Take Home Doses Advocacy Brief as tool for promoting meaningful therapeutic alliances between people with opioid dependence and drug treatment.

  • S-O-S Study: UNODC-WHO multi-site implementation study on community management of opioid overdose including the use of naloxone for preventing overdose deaths, Anya Busse , UNODC
  • From pilot-project to national system. Implementing a National naloxone training system in Denmark, Hendrik Thiesen
  • Results and experiences of the Bavarian Take Home Naloxone Pilot Project and the new German naloxone project NALTrain, Olaf Ostermann
  • The quality gap! People on OAT in the Republic of Ireland highlight the limitations of traditional drug treatment models, Richie Healy
  • Championing OST Literacy and Rights with the EuroNPUD OAT Client Guide, Christos Anastasiou
  • Defending OAT Take Home Doses and building the advocacy capacity of people using OAT in England, Chris Hallam

Parallel Session 2 - Peer-led harm reduction
11:00 - 12:30
Room: Premysl
Organiser: European Network of people Who Use Drugs
Chair: Magdalena Harris

Governments signed a new Global AIDS Strategy in 2021 that commits the world to community-led organisations delivering 30% of the HIV response. Community outreach and peer-led harm reduction are highly effective and efficient models for distributing harm reduction commodities and promoting safer drug taking practices. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a renewed focus on public health responses. Many observers have noted how community-led organisations have been critical to sustaining access to harm reduction for people living on the margins.

This session aims to

  • showcase models of peer-led harm reduction with a particular focus on Peer-to-Peer Distribution of Naloxone (P2PN) and Peer-to-Peer Needle and Syringe Programmes (P2PNSP).
  • support the launch of EuroNPUD’s new Technical Briefing on Peer-to-Peer NSP.

Speakers:
Richard Popp (UK); Peer-to-Peer NSP – reviewing the Bath UK pilot and launch of EuroNPUD Technical Briefing on P2PNSP

Emilia Piermartini (Portugal) CASO and ItaNPUD; P2PNSP and the response to COVID-19: reflections on the Italian and Portuguese experiences

Antoniu Llort (Spain-Catalan) CATNPUD; Peer Needle Patrol and NSP Machines – community solutions to injecting issues

Lynn Jeffries (Ireland) UISCE; Using peer-to-peer distribution of Naloxone (P2PN) to educate and mobilise the peers in Republic of Ireland. George Charlton

Magdalena Harris, researcher; Summary and reflections on the opportunities of peer-led approaches with people who use stimulant drugs

Parallel Session 3 - Girls power in HR2: womxn leadership to ensure access to Harm Reduction
11:30 - 12:30
Room: Libuse
Organiser: Re Generation, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), Metzineres, ENPUD
Chair: Irena Molnar, RE Generation

Women who use drugs are still frequently overlooked in their access to broad harm reduction meaning health and social care despite the complex harms, stigmatisation and structural violence they face. A substantial increase in gender-sensitive services is necessary to appropriately address their needs . Women who use drugs are often caught up in a vicious cycle of gender-based violence and drug use where the stress and trauma of violence perpetuate the women’s drug use, and the actions and behaviours associated with drug use expose them to heightened risk of violence  which grows tremendously due to COVID-19 restrictions, lack of job and lockdown. The reproductive and health rights, protection of standards of living and parental rights of WWUD are violated .

In response to discrimination, right violation and injustice activists from all over the Europe build the Narcofeminist movement. Narcofeminists support the ideology of FEMINISM, intersectional feminism in particular, which focuses on the intersection of different female identities and tries to look at how women and others, including trans and gender non-conforming people with different experiences face discrimination.

Womxn- lead harm reduction organisations are developing gender sensitive and gender transformative services, all over the broad Europe manage to improve access to health, legal protection and social care services for women who use drugs in case of violence – directly via improving a service of their own or building partnerships and providing capacity building for service providers.

Objective of the session is to promote womxn-lead harm reduction and activism and to provide interactive platform for experience sharing about:

  • Barriers for women to access harm reduction and ways to overcome it in different subregions of the Europe
  • Ways to counteract gender based violence toward women using drugs in the context of COVID-19
  • Gender sensitive women-lead harm reduction approaches
  • Narcofeminism and womxn activistm – building movement and finding allies among human rights and feminist movements

During the panel artist from the Metzineres team will be doing a graffiti or editing the animated movie, with the new ideas that could come from the panel

Speakers:

  • Why women-led initiatives and services are needed and How do they work? Aura Roig, Metzineres
  • Help impossible to ignore: basis needs and barriers in access to health and social care services and shelters in case of violence for women using drugs in the EECA region, EHRA
  • Sexism Free Night – project involving nightlife promotes, NGOs and academia – promoting safer and more egalitarian nightlife enviroments for all, Irena Molnar, RE Generation
  • Self-care and saftey protocols, supervision and mutual support for Narcofeminist leaders: mental health during Covid-19, Olga Belyaeva, ENPUD with participation from Alla Bessonova
  • Overcoming stigmatisation of women using drugs in media and social care programmes in Ukraine, Halyna Kornienko, All-Ukrainian union of women using drugs VONA
  • Mothers who use drugs: stigmatised and parenting, Alexandra Gurinova, Deutsche Aids Hilfe

Parallel Session 7 - Supporting person-centred choice in determining treatment options
14:00 - 15:30
Room: Libuse
Organiser: International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU)
Chairs: Perrine Roux (INSERM); Mauro Guarinieri (INPUD)

Until recently, opioid agonist treatment has been restricted to oral medications administered once-daily and in some countries via a supervised dosing treatment model (predominantly methadone or buprenorphine; alone or co-administered with naloxone). The introduction of injectable extended-release depot buprenorphine formulations (either once-weekly or once-monthly) could represent a significant development as it lightens treatment-associated constraints (e.g. daily dosing, frequency of clinic/pharmacy visits).

In some settings, COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions have also resulted in positive changes and flexibility to the delivery of drug treatment, including increased availability of takeaway methadone and buprenorphine. However, some people have difficulties ceasing injecting or are in situations with an adulterated drug supply (e.g. fentanyl). It is then also important to provide other injectable formulations (e.g. daily buprenorphine, hydromorphone, and heroin) or safe-supply options (e.g. hydromorphone). So, people are attracted to care and to reduce risks associated with injecting practices. The introduction of new extended-release buprenorphine formulations, the availability of other formulations, and changes in the flexibility of delivery for opioid agonist therapy is likely to benefit people accessing services as well as service providers.

However, opioid-dependent people have different characteristics and preferences that may influence treatment needs and outcomes. To avoid a negative experience, people must be empowered to make informed decisions about their treatment through accurate information and informed consent. Decisions around treatment options for opioid dependency must consider patient preference and choice while also ensuring retention in care and improved patient outcomes.

Session Objectives:

  • Demonstrate the impact personal choice can have on drug treatment outcomes.
  • Provide a summary of the evidence supporting innovative options for the treatment of opioid dependence.
  • Discuss the benefits, concerns, and barriers to implementing different strategies for the treatment of opioid dependence to facilitate greater patient choice and uptake.
  • Demonstrate the impact COVID-19 has had on approaches for the treatment of opioid dependence from both a clinical and affected community perspective

Speakers:

  • Marc Auriacombe (University of Bordeaux)
  • Judy Chang (INPUD)
  • Barbara Broers (Geneva University Hospitals)
  • Magdalena Harris (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)
  • Mat Southwell (EuroNPUD)

 

Parallel 8 - NPS and mental health: humbug or an alarming situation? The ECCA example. 
14:00 - 15:30
Room: Bruncvik
Organiser: Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)
Chair: Ganna Dovbakj, EHRA

In recent years, the growing use of new psychoactive substances has exacerbated the threats to the health of people who use drugs. These threats include overdoses, more risky drug use practices (such as frequent injections, sharing drug use equipment, etc.), the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, and mental health issues.

Research conducted with people who use new psychoactive substances in 8 Eastern Europe and Central Asia region countries showed that one of the most common consequences among people who use new psychoactive substances is mental health issues. These include paranoia, aggression, psychosis, panic attacks, parasuicide and other mental health issues. The research respondents stated that mental health issues were rarely a case while using ‘traditional’ drugs. However, it has become an alarming issue in the last few years, especially with the use of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones.

Even though sometimes mental health issues can occur due to drug use, it does not mean that this is the only and primary factor that can cause mental health issues.

This session aims to exchange views and discuss how to accurately respond to mental health issues among people who use new psychoactive substances without harmful consequences to the community, in the context of the current social, political, and economic situation in countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The objectives are:

  • to present findings of the studies on new psychoactive substance use in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, focusing on mental health issues;
  • to present views and insights of practitioners working with people who use new psychoactive substances and mental health;
  • to discuss the possible interconnection between drug use and mental health issues;
  • to discuss whether some of the mental health interventions should be included in the harm reduction package; and
  • to propose public health responses and interventions for people who use new psychoactive substances.

Speakers:

  • Introduction, Ganna Dovbakh, EHRA
  • Basic Needs and Barriers in Access to HIV Related Medical and Social Services for People Who Use NPS/Stimulants in Moldova and Ukraine: focus on mental health, Zhannat Kosmukhamedova, (UNODC)
  • Use of NPS in EECA region: threat to public health or temporary trend? Eliza Kurcevic, EHRA
  • Statement on people who use drugs and mental health, Mauro Guarinieri, INPUD
  • Possible public health responses and interventions for people who use NPS. Do we need to include mental health within harm reduction package? Antons Mozalevskis, WHO Europe

Panel discussion on possible harm reduction and public health response to mental health issues among people using drugs, specifically among those who use NPS
 

Parallel Session 10 - Objects of subjects? Youth in drug policy and harm reduction services
14:00 - 15:30
Room: Neklan-Vlasta
Organiser: YODA
Chair:Iga Jeziorska, YODA

‘A Better Tomorrow for the Worlds’ Youth’ was the title of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drug policy.
Was it just a slogan?

Protecting children and youth is often a crucial argument of policymakers to adopt and implement harsh drug regulations. However, on the other hand, young people are hardly involved in a meaningful way in the policymaking processes on local, national, and international levels. Even more importantly, in many countries, the youth is one of the key vulnerable populations with limited access to various services, especially harm reduction.

This session will address the controversies mentioned above in several European countries. The participants will discuss various dimensions of the youth access to harm reduction, from legal barriers and public policy to media narrative and public opinion. Focusing on the differences between Western and East-Central European political systems, economic development and culture, and engaging the audience in a discussion, we will try to find some answers regarding the determinants of youth access to harm reduction in various regions in Europe.

Speakers:

  • Eliza Kurcevič (EHRA)
  • Teodora Jovanovic (ReGeneration)
  • Beatrix Vas, (Youth RISE)

 

Major Session 5 - Peer work and research - securing an ethical partnership
16:00 - 17:30
Room: Main Hall
Organiser: APDES and European Network of People Who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD)
Chair: Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA

Research provides an essential means of capturing and learning from the experience of people who use drugs. Quality standards urge the meaningful participation of research study populations which is particularly important when studying marginalised populations and researching the process and effectiveness of peer work itself. APDES led an EU-funded project developing and researching peer work called Peer2Peer.

Their learning and recommendations are to:

  • explore ethical research processes and standards with people who use drugs.
  • consider the ethical development of peer work to support scale-up.
  • reflect on the meaningful participation of people who use drugs in research projects.

Speakers:

  • Jose Queiroz (Portugal) APDES; Designing studies about peer work that meaningfully involve people who use drugs in the design and delivery of the research – the experience of the Peer2Peer Project
  • Justyna Struzik (Poland) Country Researcher; Learning about starting out with peer work – the Polish experience Peer2Peer
  • Marta Pinto (Portugal) Country Researcher APDES; Studying a well-developed peer work programme – the Portuguese experience Peer2Peer
  • Louise Vincent (USA) Urban Survivors Union – USU; When drug user rights organisations set standards for partnerships with research agencies. Learning from the US experience. (pre-recorded)
  • Ernst Wisse Harm Reduction Coordinator MDM (Netherlands); Introduction to the process and recommendations of the Global Peer Work Consultation.
  • Video: Global Peer Work Consultation Feedback – 5-minute advocacy video.