The Tri Balkan – Choose Recovery project was established in 2016, funded by the Swedish Development Agency Forum Civ. The project is a cooperation with three-member organisations in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro: Izlazak, Celebrate Recovery, and Preporod. All project partners are working in the field of drug addiction with motivation to treatment and re-socialisation after treatment as the primary focus.

The overall project aim is to strengthen society’s response towards people who use drugs and people affected by drug use. The project is a continuation of a smaller project that was conducted during 2015-2016, which mapped the needs of the society and the possibility for the cooperation between state actors and the civil society. The organisations have established the structures of the project and increased the capacity in the organisations to improve the services and become stronger in the Balkan area. A free help-line and Substance Abuse Community Counselling Centres, SACCC, have been established in all three countries.

During the third phase, which will be implemented until the end of 2022, the Choose Recovery project will address multiple segments, including expanding phone-based and online interventions, as well as developing online communities and strengthening multidisciplinary approach by developing cooperation with key actors in Balkan society. The emphasis will also be placed on raising awareness about the stigma surrounding addiction while working towards an inclusive society that does not exclude and marginalise its citizens, including people with addictions, those in recovery, and their families.

Our Balkan project has made a significant impact on the target group, and people with addictions and those in recovery now have direct access to the organisations’ services. During the period from June 2017 to December 2020, the organisations provided a total of 4678 services (helpline, online and in-person) out of which  55% have been provided to family members, partners, and friends, which shows a crucial role of the family in the recovery process. Significant outcome and a huge shift, compared to the situation we had a couple of years ago, is that 53% of services have been provided to women.

More information available on the project’s website: www.biramoporavak.com.