Member of the City Council in Charge for Health Professor Zoltan Horvat, MD, PhD, attended the ceremony marking the jubilee of 20 years of addictive illnesses prevention in Novi Sad. On this occasion, current and former members of the Working Group and representatives of the City were awarded memorial plaques.

City Board for psychoactive substance abuse prevention was formed 20 years ago. Throughout the two decades of continual and organized prevention it has been done a lot what later became a standard practice in our country’s primary, secondary as well as tertiary health protection levels.  Once Board, now City Committee for fight against drugs, works as a tema of professionals from various social areas. The common goal was to set up programs assisting the community as well as individuals, and they have been ongoing ever since, eventually making the Novi Sad Model a paradigm and pattern of all prevention programs in Serbia.

- Unfortunately, today drug is easily accessible and it is a great danger. We have been fighting against it, along with our experts, for over 20 years, in order to decrease the influence of drug addiction in our city. For all that time, we managed to gather and mobilize all city sectors – healthcare, education, judiciary, the church, the Red Cross, rehabilitation centers, as well as various NGOs, with whom we successfully cooperate for the entire 20 years. City of Novi Sad allocates funds every year for drug prevention activities, which through projects, are realized by both healthcare institutions and by associations. In this manner, we promote healthy drug-free youth lifestyle, we educate school children and youth, the parents, as well as train them for peer education. We will always commit significant funds in all means of prevention, and it certainly represents a much smaller investment than treatment and rehabilitation of the addicted – stated Mr. Horvat, who was awarded a memorial plaque for his selfless and wholehearted assistance of the Committee’s work throughout his entire mandate. 

Memorial plaque were also awarded to the Mayor Mr. Miloš Vučević, to the founder of the City Board Professor Nikola Vučković, MD, PhD, judge Miroslav Alimpić, Deputy Head of the Criminal Police Mr. Ostoja Jovišević, “Žarko Zrenjanin” Primary School Psychologist Ms. Maja Vucelјa, Head of the Novi Sad Healthcare Administration Ms. Mila Uverić-Radović, Head of the Committee Professor Aleksandra Dickov, MD, PhD, as we as to the Red Cross of Novi Sad.

Professor Nikola Vučković, MD, PhD, said that the most important ingredient is continuous interdepartmental abuse prevention, and that Novi Sad is unique in having one such program for 20 years.

- In all that time, we educated several hundred thousand children, over 50 thousand adults, we conducted a range of activities in student dorms, primary and secondary schools. we achieved significant results in those 20 years, since we achieved drug addict robberies decrease in methadone center from 57% to 7%. The important thing, however, is that the number of heroin addicts in Novi Sad dropped within those 20 years by two thirds. – said Professor Nikola Vučković, MD, PhD.

At the City Assembly, the same occasion gathered representatives of relevant city institutions and organizations, who shared their experiences and knowledge.

In Novi Sad, November 18th 2015