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

May 17, 2016

Let Us Live and Save Our Loved Ones

A struggle for making medical cannabis legal in Poland: an article by Iga Jeziorska on our new video produced by Paweł Libera and the Polish Drug Policy Network.

May 10, 2016

Polish Civil Society Reflects on UN Drug Summit

Why can you get a death sentence in Singapore for a joint, while in Colorado you can buy it at the shop? Read the report of our Polish guest authors about a discussion on UN drug policies in Warsaw! 

May 2, 2016

Cannabis Reformers in the Serbian Parliament

Medical cannabis activists formed an alliance with a political party, in order to contest the parliamentary elections in Serbia. Read Irena Molnar's report from Belgrade, and watch the video!

April 26, 2016

Living and Dealing with Stigma

A study conducted by the Portuguese harm reduction NGO, APDES, presents how stigma affects the daily lives of drug users. 

March 24, 2016

Polish Government Supports Legal Access to Medical Cannabis

A surprise decision from the otherwise super-conservative Polish government: it improves access to cannabis for medical purposes. 

February 26, 2016

The Warsaw Declaration on Urban Drug Policies

The Polish Drug Policy Network organised a conference on urban drug policies in Warsaw, where participants adopted a new declaration which will be promoted at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs by the Polish government. Read our report from the conference! 

February 17, 2016

The Municipal Assembly of Lisbon Decided to Open Drug Consumption Rooms as Soon as Possible

The first room will be opened in Alta de Lisboa, in the parish of Lumiar.  

February 11, 2016

Danish Parliament Discusses Bill to Allow Assisted Injections

Danish MPs today debated a bill which would allow people to bring a friend with them into the drug consumption room, to assist them with injecting. We interviewed Nanna W. Gotfredsen, head of Gadejuristen (Danish Street Lawyers) about the significance of this reform.

February 9, 2016

Report on the Criminalisation of Cannabis Users in Slovenia

ONEJ, a Slovenian cannabis reform NGO, has published a report on the criminalisation of cannabis users in Slovenia - a country which will soon see its first legal supervised injection room. The report also highlights the need to reform the country's drug laws!

February 4, 2016

Luxembourg’s Drug Policy: Jekyll and Hyde

Inside Luxembourg's drug consumption room - read the story of our guest author about drug policies in one of the smallest but most interesting countries of Europe. 

December 7, 2015

First Drug Consumption Room Pilot Program launched in Slovenia

Unlike other countries from the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is experimenting with drug policy in order to improve the public health response to drug use. After almost two decades of advocacy and preparatory legal work, a drug consumption room (DCR) pilot project was launched in Ljubljana, in 2015, by the local NGO, 'Stigma'.

December 2, 2015

Would the Real International Community Please Stand Up?

Seeing the reluctance of world leaders, will civil society finally stand up for itself and say enough with the human rights abuses and suffering caused by the war on drugs? Read the opinion of Jerry Dorey, our volunteer. If you have an opinion on this subject, please send it to us!

November 30, 2015

Cushion Effect: How do We Deal With Austerity in Drug Policy?

The consequences of the economic crisis are threatening the continuity of the integrated intervention system that characterises the “Portuguese Model”. Read what our local partner APDES is doing to preserve the country's achievments in the field of drug policy.

November 26, 2015

Where Do Poles Inject? - The “Room for Change” Campaign in Poland

Public discussion of harm reduction in Poland - especially the country's attitude to injecting drug users - is stuck in the 1990s. Read what needs to be done, in terms of the realities described by Polish drug policy experts, to save lives and lower the costs of treating users.

November 10, 2015

Cost-effective Yet Underfunded: The Harm Reduction Program of Odyseus in Slovakia

In Slovakia, the cost/benefit analysis carried out on a needle and syringe exchange program showed that every euro invested in C.A. Odyseus´s harm reduction program generated benefits worth almost three euros. Read what the figures show about why it's worthwhile investing in harm reduction!

October 8, 2015

Legal Highs Steal Your Life

In Poland, a ban on over a hundred new psychoactive substances coincided with a massive outbreak of poisonings related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids. The most pressing question must therefore be: Does an increase in prohibition do anything useful to protect our young people?
October 7, 2015

The New Civil Society Forum on Drugs Meets in Brussels

45 professionals representing civil society organisations working in the drug field gathered in Brussels to prepare advice for the European Commission and member states.

October 3, 2015

Republic of Georgia Cuts Back Its Street Drug Testing Program

Civil society activists welcomes the parliament’s decision to ease back on the world’s most restrictive on-street drug-testing program - but they say full decriminalization would be the real solution.

September 28, 2015

What’s New in Polish Drug Substitution?

Recent media uproar in connection with a new wave of poisonings from "legal highs" provides a timely opportunity to draw attention to the Polish system for helping drug-dependent people. Demand for new drugs is not only a problem of criminal law and the result of inadequate prevention measures, but also a problem of inadequate treatment, as a result of which thousands of people remain without help.

September 21, 2015

Advocating for Drug Consumption Rooms in Portugal

Read about the great example of how the civil sphere of Portugal is joining forces to convince the authorities and public service providers to take harm reduction related to drug use seriously.