We were very glad to welcome the Correlation European Harm Reduction Network’s Expert Meeting in Budapest, on the 4-6 of December 2023. We produced a short summary video of the network’s 2023 activities, and live streamed several sessions, that you can watch now!
C-EHRN was established in 2004 in Amsterdam as a European civil society network and centre of expertise in the field of drug use, harm reduction and social inclusion. C-EHRN is hosted by Foundation De Regenboog Groep (FRG) – a non-governmental low-threshold service organisation in Amsterdam, providing harm reduction services to people who use drugs and other individuals and communities that are affected by social and health inequalities. Drugreporter is a long time partner of the network. The summary film of the 2023 activities of C-EHRN, which we produced during the meeting, can be watched here:
Péter Sárosi, director of the Rights Reporter Foundation and editor of the Drugreporter website, gave the keynote speech at the opening ceremony. he spoke about the situation of drug policy and harm reduction in Hungary. Harm reductionists face different political and cultural realities in different geographical regions of Europe. In some countries in the West the question today is mainstreaming and innovation. But in other countries, mostly in the East, even basic harm reduction programs are confronted with a more existential question: that of mere survival. There is a growing populism and shrinking space for civil society. On top of this, the drug scene is changing and constantly challenges us to find new methods, to reach out to new groups and to redefine what harm reduction means. The keynote speech addressed the challenges and highlighted some opportunities ahead of the harm reduction movement in Europe.
We live streamed several sessions, you can access them below. We divided the video to chapters on YouTube, so you can easily find the specific parts.
Contents of this video:
Welcome & Opening Moderator: Tony Duffin (Ana Liffey Drug Project) Speakers: Gabor Kerpel-Fronius; Deputy Mayor (on video) of Budapest & Katrin Schiffer, C-EHRN Director. This session included welcome words and an introduction to C-EHRN activities and results.
Keynote Speech – Drug Policy and Harm Reduction in Hungary
Policy Dialogue Moderator: Tony Duffin (Ana Liffey Drug Project) Panel Members: Ákos Topolánszky (European Social and Economic Committee / Hungarian Federation of the Drug Therapy Institutions), Róbert Csák (Hungarian Association on Addiction), Anna Tarján, Péter Sárosi (Rights Reporter Foundation) According to its last national drug strategy, Hungary was supposed to become “drug-free” by 2020. Despite this ambitious goal, the government failed to eliminate drug use – it only succeeded in nearly eliminating funding for treatment and harm reduction programs. Several key programs had to close down and the philosophy and practice of harm reduction became a taboo. Panellists in the policy dialogue outlined the current drug policy situation in Hungary, addressed the ethical dilemmas of civil society in a hostile political climate and presented some survival strategies.
Civil Society Monitoring & Data Collection Moderator: Rafaela Rigoni (C-EHRN) Speakers: Iga Jeziorska (C-EHRN) – Harm Reduction Essential Services, Tuukka Tammi (THL) – Hepatitis C, Daan van der Gouwe (Trimbos)- New Drug Trends, Guy Jones (TEDI) – New Drug Trends via TEDI, Laoise Darragh (C-EHRN) – Mental Health, Rafaela Rigoni (C-EHRN) – City Reports. The session briefly presented the different publications for the C-EHRN Civil Society-led Monitoring in Europe 2023. These focus on 1) The state of implementation of harm reduction essential services in the cities covered by C-EHRN Focal Points, 2) The state of implementation of the continuum of care for Hepatitis C for people who use drugs in the same cities, 3) New Drug Trends captured by harm reduction providers and trends captured by drug checking services members of the TEDI network, 4) Mental Health of harm reduction staff, and 5) Emergent issues and harm reduction innovations in five European cities. Short presentations focusing on key messages will be provided by the authors, followed by a Q&A session.
C-EHRN activities: Civil Society Involvement Case Studies, Harm Reduction in Prison, Advocacy, Drug Consumption Rooms, Harm Reduction and Gender Moderator: Tony Duffin (Ana Liffey Drug Project) Speakers: Péter Sárosi (Rights Reporter Foundation), Graham Shaw (Consultant), Beatrix Vas (UNITE), Roberto Perez Gayo (C-EHRN). This session highlighted different C-EHRN activities, which were carried out in 2023. Short presentations were provided by C-EHRN experts, followed by a Q&A session.
The content of this video:
Civil Society Involvement & Advocacy workshop Moderator: Péter Sárosi (Rights Reporter Foundation) This session focused on the meaningful involvement of civil society in the field of drug policy. We presented the findings of a qualitative research, carried out by C-EHRN in 2023. The study consisted of focus group discussions, both with decision-makers and civil society representatives in four countries, including Finland, Ireland, Hungary and Greece. After the presentation of the findings, we discussed the potential impact and follow-up activities.
The plenary sessions on Wednesday the 6th of December included:
Migration and Drug Use SEMID – EU Moderator: Machteld Busz (Mainline) The SEMID-EU project focuses on marginalised migrants who use drugs in the EU. The aim of the project is to see into the needs and (harm reduction) service access of various groups with a migration background. During this plenary, we will present the results from a literature research and Delphi round, from a community-led participatory research (100 interviews + focus groups across the cities of Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin and Paris) and a series of policy documents and fact sheets. A panel will discuss the implications of the project and will look for opportunities to improve the health and rights of migrants who use drugs in the EU.
Closing Session Moderators: Tony Duffin (Ana Liffey Drug Project) Speakers: Katrin Schiffer (C-EHRN), Péter Sárosi (Rights Reporter Foundation) & Marta Pinto (University of Porto) This session summarised and wrapped up the outcomes of the Member and Expert Meeting 2023.