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Friday, January 27, 2023
HomeOpinionOKANA at the Pan-European Conference on Drugs in Lisbon - The interest...

OKANA at the Pan-European Conference on Drugs in Lisbon – The interest of foreign organizations

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The largest pan-European conference on addictions was held in Lisbon by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction

The biggest pan-European conference on addictions was held in Lisbon by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

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In this, OKANA had a dynamic presence with announcements, e-posters while presenting the holistic practice model it applies to harm reduction in Greece. OKANA’s presence at the LxAddictions 2022 conference highlighted the best practices applied in Greece, in the context of a human-centered and holistic model for dealing with addictions.

With more than 10 announcements and presentations, the President of OKANA Thanasis Theocharis and senior executives presented the know-how and methodology followed by the Organization in the presence of the General Director of the EMCDDA Mr. Goosdeel, senior executives of the EMCDDA, executives from the European Commission, Professors of Psychiatry , addiction professionals from Europe but also other countries, such as Canada and Australia, as well as the European Harm Reduction Network C-HERN. There was, in fact, a particularly strong interest in how OKANA and Greece manage the problem of addiction, but also in how it essentially contributes to the reduction of harm to active users, while the first Supervised Use Area was put in the foreground and how it was created in such a short period of time, covering a constant demand of active users of psychoactive substances, but also demonstrating respect for the right to access services for these people.

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As part of the Conference, a video was shown, presenting the creation of the first Supervised Use Area (XEX) in our country, while also showing the support it received from the political leadership, the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, in a highly symbolic move that for the first time For the first time, political support for the philosophy of harm reduction at the European level becomes a practice and substance, but also by the political leadership of the Ministry of Health and the Municipality of Athens. The video impressed the attendees, who asked to visit XEX in Athens, so they could see its pioneering one stop shop operation up close. In fact, executives working in the field of addictions requested the expertise applied by OKANA, in order to achieve the operation of so many new structures and services in such a short period of time and indeed in a difficult period where it had been overshadowed by the pandemic.

On the sidelines of OKANA’s visit to Portugal, the executives and the President of the Organization also visited the Harm Reduction structures (HEX, mobile methadone units) operating in Porto and Lisbon, with the aim of exchanging know-how and best practices, and carried out an action in the field (street work). The recognition received by Greece, with the innovative model it applies in the field of addictions and its international recognition, highlight the important initiatives that have provided a basis for dealing with drugs and addictions in the context of a wider human-centered social policy.

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