Belgrade is a city at the crossroads of a number of heroin trafficking routes. It has a significant injecting drug user population, many of them belonging to a marginalised ethnic minority, the Roma. Most of these users live in extreme poverty, segregated from society. Thanks to grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, several harm reduction services, such as the distribution of clean needles and syringes to prevent infections, were introduced into Serbia during the first decade of this century. HIV infection rates among drug users have so far remained low, but access to harm reduction services is far from adequate – the best indicator of risk being the high prevalence of Hepatitis C infections.
Hopes, on the part of service providers, that programs could be scaled up, seem to be going up in smoke: the country is not eligible for any more money from the Global Fund, and the last grant ended this year. Programs that help drug users now face an uncertain future – some of them will inevitably cease to operate. Neither the national government, nor the local government in Belgrade, are providing adequate funding to reduce the harms of street drug use. Please support the fight by local civil society organisations to push decision-makers to take action based on the four-pillar approach!
Our partner in the campaign from Serbia is Re-Generation. To learn more about he situation in Serbia, watch the movie the Drugreporter produced with Re-Generation.
If you support our campaign for making our cities safer, please take action and sign the petition!