A conference entitled “Social Cohesion and Building Sustainable Recovery – Response to Stigma and Social Exclusion” was held at the Klub poslanika in Belgrade on September 6, 2021, organized by the Association “Izlazak” with the strategic support of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of The Republic od Serbia, within the project “I choose recovery”.

The conference was attended by representatives of state bodies that deal with the problem of drug abuse, civil society organizations and representatives of international organizations, which presented the results of research on the prevalence of stigma among professionals working with drug addicts and people recovering from addiction.

In addition to the results of the latest research on stigma among professionals, the provision of gradual support as a form of prevention of recidivism, resocialization and social integration of persons in recovery are just some of the important topics that conference participants were able to learn about.

According to the results of the research, 184 respondents believe that people addicted to drugs do not receive adequate help, while 287 respondents believe that people avoid working with people addicted to drugs.

“Social stigma and the process of stigmatization of individuals, but also groups, is a social phenomenon that is created within the bond of various social interactions, thus disrupting the quality of life of those who apply there,” said Prof. Dr. Elmedin Muratbegović presenting the results of the research.

The representative of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Sebia, Jovan Vojnović, introduced the present representatives of state bodies and civil society organizations at the local level who have the problem of drug abuse in their jurisdiction, with the project “Listen first”. It was pointed out that the “Listen first” project is a global campaign created on the initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which is being implemented in the Republic of Serbia, starting in July 2021. The project is divided into ten units, each of which is dedicated to a special part of raising children.

The “Listen first” campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of listening to children and young people in a fun way through animated videos and written material of an educational nature – a pamphlet as the first step towards growing up healthy and safe. Accordingly, the campaign is aimed at parents, teachers, policy makers, especially health workers, prevention workers, as well as the general public