Open Letter to the National Antidrug Agency

We, the undersigned organisations, some of Romania’s most representative NGO’s in the field of drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction, are hereby notifying with regard to our decision to begin a boycott in working with the Romanian National Antidrug Agency (NAA) which we consider to be mostly responsible for the deplorable state of the Romanian system for drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The institutions of the Romanian State and specifically the NAA should be reminded of their responsibilities towards drug users, communities affected by addiction and the Romanian civil society that has been for the last five years, struggling to survive and still build services for the population.

As stated in the official documents, the Romanian National Antidrug Agency (NAA) “elaborates, creates, implements, finances, monitors and evaluates the National Program and the Program of National Interest of prevention and medical, psychological and social assistance of the people who use drugs” and “collaborates with the non-governmental organizations in order to achieve the goals in the National Antidrug Strategy”. Recent history shows though that the “financing of the Program of National Interest of prevention and medical, psychological and social assistance of the people who use drugs” and the “collaboration with the non-governmental organizations in order to achieve the goals in the National Antidrug Strategy” have been hindered by the slow rate of implementing the Program of National Interest (PNI 2015-2018) and by the very hard to achieve conditions imposed in the guidelines of the subprograms opened for calls in this Program..

Background:

  • Timeline of the activities in the PNI 2015-2018
19.08.2015 The Governmental Decision no. 659/2015 is adopted (the approval of the Program of National Interest of prevention and medical, psychological and social assistance of the people who use drugs 2015-2018)
15.07.2016 Public debate on the financing methodology (though in the GD no. 659/2015 this methodology should have finished in 30 days from the law’s publication)
26.10.2016 The guidelines’ drafts for applicants in the subprograms IV, VII and VIII of the PNI 2015-2018 are published
12.12.2016 Open call for applications (with the necessary documentation), dead-line: 31.01.2017
07.02.2017 A new call for applications (with the necessary documentation), dead-line: 06.03.2017, time-frame for projects’ assessment: 13.03.2017-24.04.2017
21.03.2017 Invitation from the NAA to the NOS’s to a public debate in order to modify GD no. 650/2015 and to prolong the period of the PNI till 2020
15.11.2018 Dead-line for finishing the projects funded by PNI 2015-2018
  • The indefinite delay on the implementation of the PNI 2015-2018 that should have started in 2015 and are necessary to the communities of people who use drugs,
  • The conscious delay policy of making public the documentation for PNI 2015-2018 all through the year 2016, a policy belongings to the National Antidrug Agency and the Ministry of Interior,
  • The launch of the open call at the end of 2016 and a relaunch at the beginning of 2017 even if there was no budget allocated for 2017,
  • Romania can not fulfil the obligations assumed under the national strategies and action plans,
  • There is no public funding (from the government) for private providers of services for people who use drugs,
  • There are no services (public or private) for underage PWUDs and the legislation is lacking in this area,
  • There are no guidelines yet for the subprograms I, II, III, V and VI in PNI 2015-2018,
  • The guidelines published contain conditions quite hard to achieve, such as the one holding that the salaries of the people hired in the project must be 10% of the total budget,
  • The increase in the levels of new cases of HIV, Hepatitis, TB, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, newborns with chronic diseases or various incapacities, deaths, high criminality in communities, in the absence of any real, coherent and focused relationship of the NAA with the NGOs.

Considering all these arguments, the organizations in the Romanian Harm Reduction Network have decided to indefinitely suspend all communication with the National Antidrug Agency, seeing that the NAA does not fulfill and has no will to fulfill its mission (always assumed in theory, never in practice), consequently the meeting called by the NAA will not be honored.

Romanian Harm Reduction Network – Mihai Tănăsescu (president), Dragoș Roșca (executive director)

ARAS (The Romanian Anti-AIDS Association) – Maria Georgescu (president)

ALIAT (The Alliance to Fight Alcoholism and Addictions) – Bogdan Glodeanu (executive director)

PARADA Foundation– Ionuț Jugureanu (executive director)

Sens Pozitiv Association – Alina Dumitriu (executive director)

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