Summary of the Regional Forum on Drug Addiction and Recovery – Belgrade, Serbia

Between November 8th and 10th, 2022, the Second Regional Forum on Drug Addiction and Recovery was held in Belgrade, Serbia, organised by our partners Proslavi Oporavak (Celebrate Recovery – Bosnia and Herzegovina), Izlazak (Serbia), and Preporod (Montenegro). The Regional Forum fell under the framework of our collaborative Tri Balkan – Choose Recovery Project, funded by ForumCiv. The overall aim of the project was to strengthen society’s response towards people who use drugs and people affected by drug use and promote recovery.

This Forum was well attended by over 200 professionals from the field of addiction and recovery, ranging from representatives from NGOs to relevant public institutions. The speaker agenda included renowned scholars, representatives from NGOs and public institutions from the Balkan region as well as from other parts of Europe. Local, regional, and international best practices, research on recovery, stigma, recovery capital, recovery methods, and regional policy developments were presented. The Forum’s main focus was addiction recovery but also included other essential topics in the field, such as treatment in clinics, current liberal drug policies and their implementation, new addictions, and the stigma among professionals working in the field. The Forum got opened with a testimony of a woman whose mother was addicted to heroin for many years until she sought treatment. The testimony showcased the impact substance abuse has on not only the person using but also the family surrounded.

Find the presentations of the speakers here

Dianova International has shared their reflections of the conference on their website also. Their reflections can be found in English, Spanish, and French.

Impressions of Day 1

On November 8th, the Forum was opened by representatives from the public [health] institutions from Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina by sharing their current efforts in the field and willingness to further include recovery in their future efforts. Additionally, our President, Amy Ronshausen, welcomed the participants and shared information about the Tri Balkan – Choose Recovery Project and the positive outcomes.

During the day, researchers and representatives of NGOs spoke to the participants sharing their research, best practices and recognised needs in the field.

Impressions of Day 2

On the second day, the organisers shared the work implemented by their organisations, representatives of public organisations highlighted their efforts, a panel discussion, including presentations, was held on the legalisation developments of Cannabis around the world, and research was highlighted.

Impressions Day 3

The third day focused on the gender component in recovery and treatment. It showcased the need to include a gender perspective to understand the differences to be able to provide effective treatment and recovery for all genders.

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