The Pompidou Group Executive Training session is a tremendous opportunity to share, to network and to learn firsthand for the various stakeholders involved
By Dr. Antonio Molina – As in previous years, Dianova registered one of its representatives for the Pompidou Group’s executive training sessions, which took place from 21 to 24 June in Trinity College, one of the oldest and most famous universities in Ireland, located in the centre of capital city, Dublin. 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. This year, 23 people from various European countries participated in the training session. All of them were selected based on their involvement in some of the 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.
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. The training session was designed to examine each and every aspect of the problem, from the neuropsychological and reward system viewpoints to the rather more data-oriented treatment interventions and strategies. During the four-day session, participants have been working in discussion groups to try and find new perspectives on the issue, including ways of identifying and defining the problem adequately, so as to focus on the problem at its core which is fundamental to develop efficient policy planning as well as effective and useful solutions for those concerned. In the second part of the training, to be held in Wraclow (Poland) this coming October, the participants will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of the technological addictions’ concept, including related evidences, potential interventions and solutions, and responsibility of policy makers.
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, and the experiences being developed in, the region concerned. For this purpose, we’ve had the chance to learn more about the epidemiological and social aspects of addiction in Ireland, and to visit the National Treatment Centre in Dublin whose representatives presented such innovative interventions as the Chemsex Harm Reduction Programme, the Retarded Injected Buprenorphine programmes for opiates users, and the results of Needles Exchange Programme by the toxicology laboratory.
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 professionals 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 firsthand for the various stakeholders involved.