Pompidou Group Training Session, Week II

The Pompidou Group Executive Training session is a tremendous opportunity to share, to network and to learn first-hand for the various stakeholders involved

Pompidou Group training session participants

The Pompidou Group is an influential body in the field of drug policy – photo: all rights reserved

By Dr Antonio Molina – at the beginning of October, I had the pleasure to participate, with a number of colleagues from across Europe and as a representative of Dianova, to the second module of the yearly executive training session organized by the Pompidou Group, on the theme “Substance use, addictions and online practices”, in Wroclaw, Poland.

Established in 1971, the Pompidou Group is an intergovernmental body dedicated to providing knowledge, support and solutions for effective, evidence-based drug policies that fully respect the core values of the Council of Europe, including human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Pompidou Group promotes an equitable approach to address substance use and illicit trafficking, putting emphasis on both demand and supply reduction.

Executive training: Substance use addictions and online practices

For over a decade, the Pompidou Group executive training sessions have been held each year for all stakeholders involved in drug and addiction issues. During this second week of training, 22 people from various European countries participated in the session. All of them were selected based on their involvement in the various aspects of substance use addictions and online practices. The participants were composed of people in charge of developing, implementing or coordinating policies on drugs in governmental organizations, as well as activists, researchers, and civil society representatives, such as myself.

The impact of Substance use addictions and online practices on the design of policies and programmes

This year’s session’s theme has been selected due to the rapidly increasing phenomenon of technology addiction, with a view to discussing its causes, consequences and etiology. You may find additional information about the first module here.

During the session’s second module, the participants have had the opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of the technological addictions’ concept, including related evidences, potential interventions and solutions, and responsibility of policymakers. Speakers and representatives from academia, policymaking bodies, prevention and intervention agencies, as well as sports betting regulation agencies explained the various perspectives of the problematic use of technologies and its influence in our social context.

On behalf of Dianova, I had the opportunity to present the universal prevention programme for families entitled “Together we grow“. During the presentation, I first set out to detail the main challenges in the prevention of addictive behaviours, including non-substance-related, before addressing the special role families can play as dedicated health agents and how to provide them with the necessary skills and abilities to do so. The presentation was particularly well received by my peers who showed great interest in the process and the results of the programme.

Presentation of prevention programme by Dr Molina

Sharing experiences is one of the great added values of the Pompidou Group training sessions – photo: all rights reserved

Study visits and relevance of real-world practice

Another key element of the Pompidou Group training sessions is that they are also designed to give participants the opportunity to immerse in the social context of the region concerned through hands-on observations of the experiences developed therein. For this purpose, we’ve had the chance to learn more about the epidemiological and social aspects of addiction in Poland, especially harm reduction programmes and psychosocial intervention.

Dianova and the Pompidou Group executive training

Dianova was fortunate enough to participate in some of the previous sessions of the Pompidou Group executive training, namely in 2021 (Reducing Addiction Stigma), 2019 (Incorporating gender dimensions in drug policy practice and service delivery) and 2016 (Training for effective cooperation: interaction between governments and civil society organisations).

It should be noted that this year’s session stood out because not only did it involve high-level trainers but it also was geared towards practical implementation and participation thanks to the superlative organization by the Pompidou Group.

On behalf of Dianova, I would like to thank the International Affairs Division of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health for presenting and supporting Dianova’s candidacy and the financial support provided by the Pompidou Group whose training activities are always a tremendous opportunity to share, to network and to learn first-hand for the various stakeholders involved.