Authors: Irena Molnar & Amarildo Fecanji
On 26 June 2019, on the occassion of the Global Day of Action within the campaign "Support Don't Punish" and in the framework of Pride month, ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association joineed Serbia based NGO Re Generation (read blog here) on the launching of the film "Chem-Sex and the city", followed by a discussion panel on the phenomenon of chem-sex in Serbia as well as the Balkan region in general.
The short documentary film, which was prepared with the support of the Right Reporter Video Advocacy Network, was first premiered at the Harm Reduction International 2019 conference in April this year in Portugal, and was made within Re Generation's video advocacy public campaigns to raise awareness on psychoactive substance issues. As Belgrade's chemsex scene is on the rise, and more and more people are getting into it, the cases of overdose and sexual assaults are more and more frequent.
After the screening, a panel was held to discuss more in-depth on the issue. Panelists were, Stefan Pejić from NGO Re Generation "Chemsex and what stands behind this phenomenon", Zoran Milosavljević, independent researcher "Chemsex in Serbia - Strategic (in)visibility of practice and its implications" and Amarildo Fecanji fro ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Associaiton, ""Regional perspectives and initial steps in mapping respond to the appearance of ChemSex".
With this event, marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the organisers wanted to raise awareness and make and open and safe space for people engaging in chemsex and for organisations and institutions working with communities that practice chemsex, to discuss on the issue, ask questions and seek advice on the current state and available resources. The event, marked the begining of an open dialogue on chemsex in Serbia, as a result of which Re Generation started new cooperations and mapping the needs of communities practicing chemsex in Serbia with the aim to create services that can respond to their specific needs. In the #Supportdontpunish global day of action, campaign organised by IDPC, Re Generation is providing space for dialogue and open talk about drug use, trying to connect the phenomenon to the wider public, making it closer and more understandable, trying to de-stigmatize it, advocating for harm reduction programs and drug policy reform, that are needed not only for the community of drug users but also other marginalised communities that intersects with use of drugs. Re Generation finds the SDP campaign each year as a tool to provide an overview of the differing needs and challenges associated with drug use among diverse communities and this year the idea was to show people that steps to respond to this emerging situation are being taken and that the responses are being tailored in a way that they are inclusive and free of judgment.
Amarildo Fecanji, from ERA, presented a briefing on chemsex, which aims to raise awareness within the network and beyond on the chemsex phenomenon and provides recommendations on the actions that need to be taken across the region be that from civil society sector, service providers, state institutions and so on.
Read ERA's briefing on "Chemsex - Starting a conversation" on this link.
To watch the film, click here.