The first Harm reduction programme in Macedonia was initiated in 1996, and since then a total of 17 programmes have been developed in 13 cities across the country. These programmes provide complementary services integrated at one spot, including needle exchange, condoms, basic medical services, social support, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, as well as free-of-charge legal support. Because of these characteristics, the programmes are recognised as good practices in the region and much wider. Many study visits have been hosted in Macedonia, whereby participants from different countries have visited the services operated by HOPS in Skopje to learn how to develop a successful harm reduction programme.
Support the petition which is a call for the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia to provide funding and continuing the HIV prevention and harm reduction programs!
Further survival of harm reduction programs and HIV prevention is uncertain. The current financial support of the Republic of Macedonia from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ends in June 2017, which will result with over 10,000 people who use drugs as well as their family members without proper social and health care.
Thanks to harm reduction programs, only two new HIV cases have been recorded in Macedonia in the last ten years as a result of drugs injecting, and less than 5% of 315 registered cases of HIV were people who inject drugs. These figures are far smaller than the neighboring countries. Macedonia can boast with the lowest HIV rate in Southeast Europe, but if these programs are not implemented, there is a risk of HIV epidemics as a result of interaction with the epidemics in neighboring countries and the possibility of increasing risk behaviors.
- University degree; Advanced degree in social work, psychology, pedagogy, public health or other relevant field would be considered a strong asset;
- At least 5 years of experience in the area of social or health protection of young people at risk,
- Knowledge of relevant international standards and good practices in service provision for children and youth who use drugs, and ability to adapt these to the regional context;
- Familiarity with the health, social and child care systems in Western Balkan countries;
- Familiarity with the civil sector in the region;
- Fluency in any of the Western Balkan languages or English; Applicants who can produce the Guidelines in English would be preferred;
- Strong communication skills and ability to work within short deadlines;
- Excellent writing skills with proven record of publications within the last 5 years.
On May 23, 2017 hops had the honor to receive thirty-eight students from the Netherlands who are on a study tour in Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo.
The students of anthropology at the University of Leiden, Netherlands previously expressed their desire to learn about the mission of HOPS.
It was a honor to invite them into our organization and to introduce them a little more about our work, as well to exchange knowledge and experiences with them.
As they said, they were really amazed by the work of the HOPS and the services offered to sex workers and people who use drugs.
"I really like what you are doing. You do really great work here, "said one student, and her colleague added. „What I especially like is that you do not judgmental attitude towards people you 're helping, Because, you know, people usually set judgmental toward those who use drugs and those dealing in sex work. "
Of the other topics, visitors were particularly interested in policies for drugs and sex work in Macedonia, but also for legislation on cannabis for medical use.
In the period form 15.05-21.05.2017 there was a workshop in Belgrade for improving social inclusion and protection of human rights of young people using drugs by YODA - (Youth Organisations for Drug Action in Europe)
Twelve countries met in Belgrade, Serbia, London, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Belgium, Albania, representative of Council of Europe, Bulgaria and Macedonia, which was represented by members of HOPS, Katerina, Simona and Radomir.
Simona: We have discussed of various problems, which by forming groups from different countries and sharing experiences from each country we were finding solutions for the given problem.
“Family is the institution to which we owe our humanity. We know no other way of making human beings except by bringing them up in a family.” – Margaret Mead. Family is the basic social group also known as the basic unit of society.
An observation in family development throughout history, from the very beginnings of civilization, when people lived in hordes, to present days, reveals that family has changed its shapes and functions depending on the general social norms and the development of society itself. However, by satisfying the basic living human needs, protecting or discarding their children, very often families face a problem that develops into an illness. Illness is absence of health, however, addiction illness implies not only illness of the individual, rather of the family.
Drug use among children is a complex and serious problem that demands involvement of numerous factors related to the policy makers, but also social, health and educational factors. It is an issue that requires a serious approach from competent ministries, the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics above all, and the Ministry of Health, into finding a way to include children users in treatment, rehabilitation, re-socialization and reintegration in society.
Social services have one aim. To offer support to the individual, the family and the group in general. Children’s social services are there to offer support towards a regular and normal psycho-physical development of every child. The child learns from its immediate surrounding at birth. Its inclusion in society is conditioned by numerous factors, primarily on the family, on the one hand, and the social factors, for instance peers, school and surrounding in general. Their positive influence determines the development of a healthy, mature person, however sometimes they can have negative impact on the child’s growth and development. An insufficient balance can cause the child to find itself at risk or faced with a certain social problem. In such cases, social services intervene and give the support and help needed to resolve the problem.
Responsible drug use essentially implies reducing or eliminating negative and harmful impacts, current or that might occur in the user or among the individuals from his closest surroundings.
The use of psychoactive substances is a socio-cultural phenomenon, an occurrence present from the past till today throughout the world. Despite all possible prohibitions, legislative regulations and billions of dollars spent on the so-called “War on drugs”, in essence, none of the restrictions led to putting an end to or eradicating drug use. On the contrary, drugs, legal or illegal, are mass produced, sold and used.
The predominant stereotypical excuses for drug use are curiosity, experimentation, stress release, escape from reality and other problems etc. Users describe the effects of drugs or the “high” as extraordinary, unusual, transcendental, deep experience that changes the perception of things, life or one’s view of life.
HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje’s Center for Education, Documentation and Research and Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” announce call for articles for 9th issue of the Drugs – Policies and Practices magazine.
Drugs – Policies and Practices promotes topics about drugs, drug use, drug treatment, and other related topics, such as: sex work and drugs, HIV/AIDS and drugs, Hepatitis B and C and drugs, Tuberculosis and drugs, rights of the marginalized groups/communities, gender perspectives, free access to public information, researches, policies, advocacy, civil society, activism, social work, social policy, health, through the drugs perspectives.
Drugs – Policies and Practices target audience are people who use drugs, people on drug addiction treatment, experts for drug use and drug treatment issues and all for people with interest for these topics. It is published both in Macedonian (printed and online) and in English (online).
Support. Don’t Punish is a global advocacy campaign calling for better drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights. The campaign aims to promote drug policy reform, and to change laws and policies which impede access to harm reduction interventions.
2017 is the 5th year for the Support. Don’t Punish campaign, and we will be coordinating another Global Day of Action on 26th June. We have created this short survey (it should take you no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete) to hear from you about what you think has worked best for the campaign, and what could be improved for this year and beyond.
On the following link you can become part of the survey.