Several activities took place as part of this year’s “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign in Macedonia, among which central was a Public debate on recreational drug use and harm reduction.
In preparation for the debate, informational flyers were prepared; containing information on most commonly used drugs in Macedonia in recreational settings, as well as advises on harm reduction and rights. An event page was created and promoted on Facebook, and the event was announced via the media.
The Public debate took place on 26 June 2018. Dr. Davor Smilanov (HOPS’s collaborator) moderated the debate, while the discussion panel was composed of Dr. Darko Kostovski (psychiatrist), Ivana Dragshich (sociologist and activist) and Dragana Drndarevska (lawyer and activist). Around 50 people attended the event. They had the chance to purchase t-shirts and bags prepared by the HOPS’s creative workshop, the funds from which were donated back to the workshop towards its sustainability. In addition, the debate was streamed live (and later posted) on HOPS’s page, reaching about 1.200 views. The conclusions from the debate were shared via HOPS’s communication channels, with special focus on laws and practices that criminalize drug use and their adverse effect on individual rights, health and other aspects of living.
The campaign concluded during D-Fest (music festival that took place 6-8 July 2018), where HOPS’s team had an informational stand, organised educational workshops and hosted creative workshops, all with the purpose to inform attendants about effects of different drugs, strategies for harm reduction, as well as individual rights.