What is EDPI?

The European Drug Policy Initiative (EDPI) is a project of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) in cooperation with professionals and NGOs from six European countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Serbia. We selected these target countries in order to reflect the diversity of national drug policies and geopolitical characteristics found in the European Union and its candidates. Bulgaria and Poland represent new member states with restrictive drug policies, while older member states like Portugal are considered to have a more liberal approach. National drug policies cannot be differentiated using the East/West divide that exists within the EU. For instance, Sweden is famous for its democratic welfare society but has a traditionally restrictive attitude toward mind altering substances. On the other hand, the Czech Republic, having endured decades under a totalitarian regime, now endorses a relatively liberal drug policy.

The aim of the project is to advance drug policy reform in the European Union with providing tools for advocacy in the national and international level:

- public opinion surveys
- videos on national drug policy issues (posted on video sharing sites)
- media work (improving the press coverage of national/international campaigns)
- targeting political parties
- targeting international decision making forums (e.g. UN and EU forums)

We have tremendous amounts of evidence both on the harmful unintended consequences of current drug control policies and on the effectiveness of alternative harm reduction measures. However, the ciritcal voices of professionals and NGOs are not heard by the mainstream society. EDPI aims to implement policy change with oriented campaigns targeting society through the media. It connects scholarship with PR methods, attempts to use modern communication tools to advertise new, innovative answers to drug problems, mobilize drug user communities to come out of the closet. Even though Europe is considered small in a geographical sense compared to the United States, due to cultural and language barriers it is more difficult to raise awareness on the necessity of drug policy reform.

Our donors

EDPI is supported by the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Commonsense for Drug Policy Foundation.European Drug Policy Initiative News

EDPI news

April 9, 2014

Polish Legal System Needs a Clear Definition of "Small Amounts" of Drugs

Poland's drug law is the second most restrictive in Europe, after that of Belarus. The Polish Drug Policy Network is arguing for an immediate change to the Law on Counteracting Drug Addiction, while seeking to ease the draconian rules with temporary measures.

March 28, 2014

The Role of Heroin in Serbian History

Whether it was transporting silk, spices, tobacco, or opium, for centuries, the Silk Road from the Far East towards European countries passed through Serbia. Read how heroin permeated the country and made the region a transport hub for illicit substances.

March 21, 2014

Will this be a good year for Portuguese Harm Reduction?

Around seventy experts met under the flag of the Portuguese National Harm Reduction Network to discuss the state of Harm Reduction in Portugal.

March 19, 2014

Breaking Down the Vienna Consensus on Drugs

The consensus behind global drug prohibition is fading - watch the new video we filmed at the high level UN meeting in Vienna and find out why! 

March 11, 2014

Debunk the INCB! – Video Campaign

The HCLU’s Drugreporter is launching a video campaign to debunk the offensive of the International Narcotics Control Board against drug policy reform initiatives

March 6, 2014

Europe, it’s time to regulate cannabis!

A couple of young people have launched “Weed like to talk”, a grassroots campaign calling on the European Union to make cannabis legal. 

February 13, 2014

AT A CROSSROADS: Will Serbia Fund Harm Reduction Programs to Save Lives?

Serbia is not eligible for any more money from the Global Fund - harm reduction programs are in danger. Our movie gives you a glimpse of the desperate situation of Roma injecting drug users in Belgrade, help us to share the message! 

February 11, 2014

Legal Dreams and Folk Tales: The New Psychoactive Substances in Urban Drug Folklores

In Romania, the urban legends that ‘legal highs’ have inspired, speak of the traumas and hardships faced by injecting drug users.

February 4, 2014

Needle and Syringe Programs Save Lives and Money: Infograph

There are an estimated 16 million injecting drug users (IDUs) in the world - three million of them living with HIV/AIDS. Providing IDUs with clean needle and syringe saves lives. Help us to spread this message by sharing our infograph!

January 31, 2014

Профилактика передозировок: анимированное руководство

Опиоидные передозировки по-прежнему убивают молодых людей по всему миру. В некоторых странах от передозировок стало погибать больше людей, чем от огнестрельного оружия, убийств или ВИЧ/СПИДа.

January 31, 2014

Bunny and Wolf: An Animated Guide to Prevent Overdose Deaths

Opioid overdose continues to be a top killer of young people all over the world. In some countries, drug overdose deaths now outnumber those attributable to firearms, homicides or HIV/AIDS. Few people realise that most of these deaths are easily preventable with the right information, and an inexpensive antidote, Naloxone, which can reverse overdoses.

January 30, 2014

Polish Drug Policy by Numbers

On average,  someone is arrested every three hours in Poland on suspicion of drug possession, most often during a routine street frisk.

January 24, 2014

The Not-So-Balanced Approach - Policy Responses to New Psychoactive Substances

Our new report (PDF) aims to assess the various policy responses to new psychoactive substances (so called "legal highs") in five European countries - Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Serbia - , from the perspective of researchers, service providers, law enforcement officials and activists working with the most affected communities of people who use drugs. 

January 23, 2014

Dangerous turn in Bulgarian drug policy, as proposed in a new Penal Code bill

At the very end of December, the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice (MJ) published a new Penal Code project. In general, this bill makes no progress towards a more liberal policy for drug users.

January 3, 2014

Will 2014 Bring a Feasible Drug Strategy for Serbia?

2013 has come to an end. It's time to sum ​​up the past year, and make plans and wishes for the coming one. With the end of the year, the implementation period of the first Serbian national strategy related to reduction of supply and demand of psychoactive substances - representing the backbone of Serbian drug policy - has ended. EDPI’s Serbian partner takes stock of the period.

December 19, 2013

Drug Users and Bulgarian Prisons - Video

"Initiative for Health", (European Drug Policy Initiative's Bulgarian partner), has published its advocacy video on the situation of drug users in Bulgarian prisons.

December 10, 2013

Disagreement Over Meaningful Involvement of Civil Society at EU Drug Meeting

The Lithuanian EU presidency invited civil society members to present their views on UNGASS 2016 at the meeting of the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs

December 6, 2013

Party Leader Arrested for Smoking a Joint In Public

András Istvánffy, leader of a small opposition party, has been arrested by the police for smoking a joint in public, as a protest against marijuana prohibition

November 29, 2013

Public Hearing on New Psychoactive Substances

The European Economic and Social Council (EESC) organized a public hearing on new psychoactive substances in Brussels on Wednesday

November 6, 2013

Portuguese Drug Decriminalisation Needs To Be Strengthened

Now more than ever, we have to rescue the real principles that underpinning the Portuguese Model of Decriminalisation, says European Drug Policy Initiative's Portuguese partner, APDES, in its social manifesto rejecting stigma and discrimination in the sphere of drug use.