Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 196

will actively participate in the programme,
working in collaboration with Peru and
exchanging experience and expertise.
Several actions are being taken in order to
realise these objectives, including providing
treatment for drug users, rehabilitation
measures to help get users back into society,
and preventative steps to raise awareness of
the dangers of using drugs in order to
discourage first use. The Commission hopes
that, through such measures, EU support will
also help to reduce the volume of cocaine
entering the Union.
Offering an alternative
Drug overdose is a major, preventable cause of
mortality among EU citizens. With data showing
that young people are becoming less informed
through traditional methods, steps need to be
taken to ensure channels such as the internet
provide the vital information necessary to avert
first time drug abuse, as well as assisting those
who are aiming to overcome their addiction.
The EU is also taking key steps through research
and international collaboration to tackle the
effects and causes of illegal drugs, and it is
through a combination of these methods that
the social challenges will be overcome.
drugs is a shared priority and a shared responsibility, something that
should be combatted from both sides. Peru’s fight is our fight and one
that, together, we can win.”
The EU’s support of the national strategy involves taking a sustainable
and manageable approach to reducing the production, trafficking and
consumption of illicit drugs. The EU anti-drug programme sees Union
funding going directly to the national budget of the recipient country and
the support targeted to where EU resources and expertise are most
needed, the greatest impact being for both Peru and the EU. The
programme also aims to encourage alternative economic development
based on legal activities. In addition, EU member states, for the first time,
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
2 0 2 0
Tackling hepatitis C
In February, Dr Eberhard Schatz, co-ordinator of the Hepatitis C
Initiative, spoke to Portal’s sister publication
PEN: Science &
about a European Commission-backed project aimed at
‘improving the knowledge regarding hepatitis C policies and
practice’ and ‘influencing hepatitis C virus policies at the national
and European level’.
Viral hepatitis is a major global health problem and, according to
the project, ‘disproportionately affects injecting drug users’ in
Europe. It is estimated that, on average, around 60% of injecting
drug users have hepatitis C, though this can rise to over 90% in
some countries.
Speaking to Schatz, PEN asked how he would like to see the
hepatitis C virus better recognised at the policy level and what
attention needs to be paid by institutions, such as the World Health
Organization, to highlight the sheer scale of this ‘epidemic’.
“The WHO and the World Health Assembly recently published
important recommendations and guidelines for better hepatitis C
virus (HCV) policy and practice. In addition, the development and
implementation of European and national HCV strategies and action
plans that include appropriately funded multidisciplinary approaches
for HCV prevention and control among communities engaged in high
risk behaviours, including people who inject drugs, in line with the
2014 WHO resolution, have also been recommended.
“Policy makers, NGOs/ service providers, representatives from high
risk populations, such as organisations of people who use drugs, and
workers in the healthcare, social and justice sectors must collaborate
(at both European and national levels) for the development of
comprehensive HCV strategic plans and service recommendations.
“Public funding must be allocated for the development,
implementation and evaluation of effective HCV strategic planning
and services. Agreements must be made among pharmaceutical
companies and EU member states to reduce the prices of new
medications and to allow the scale-up of treatment, thereby
allowing for equitable access to affordable treatments.”
The Commission hopes
that its collaborative
initiative with Peru will
help reduce the trade
of cocaine into the EU
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