The Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Sebia, participated in this year’s meeting of experts from the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans on drugs, which was held on October 6, 2021, through an online platform.
Slovenia, as the presiding country of the Council of the European Union, opened this year’s meeting and pointed out that the problem of drug abuse in the Western Balkans region is one of its leading priorities as the presiding country.
Through the exchange of information and examples of good practice, the participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with drug prevention programs, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug demand and drug supply, the development of the situation in Afghanistan and the system of alternative sanctions. some of the important topics of this year’s meeting.
The Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Milan Pekić, on behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Serbia, introduced the participants to the problem of drug production in Afghanistan, and especially referred to current events in the country.
According to the reports of the United Nations Office against on Drugs and crime (UNODC) from 2019, it was determined that about 300,000 hectares of opium poppy were sown on the territory of the state of Afghanistan, of which about 1,400 tons of opium were obtained, ie 360 to 610 tons of heroin. makes it one of the world’s largest producers of opium poppy. The change of government in Afghanistan, together with the impact of the COVID 19 virus pandemic, may lead to a change in the route for supplying the European market with these psychoactive substances.
The cooperation of the security services of the countries in the region and the efficiency in their actions is the only effective means of preventing further smuggling of narcotics, said the director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Sebia, Milan Pekić.
As the second representative on behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Serbia from the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Jovan Vojnović informed the audience about the importance of raising public awareness of the harmful effects of drug abuse through involving the general public in preventing substance abuse.
In this regard, he presented a global campaign called “Listen first” to the United Nations Office on Drugs and crime (UNODC) which is being implemented in the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia starting in July 2021. The planned period for the implementation of this project is six months, which makes this project the longest project in the field of prevention of drug addiction. This project is unique opportunity for collaboration of all state administration bodies and organizations dealing with the problem of drug abuse, as well as local self-government units: Loznica, Sabac, Novi Pazar, Bor, Sremska Mitrovica, Majdanpek.