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

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.
September 18, 2015

French Senate Gives Green Light to Drug Consumption Rooms

After a heated debate, Senators have decided to approve an experimental project to provide a safer environment for drug users, in order to prevent death and disease.

September 8, 2015

Life After the Closure of the Needle Exchange in Budapest

Last year, Drugreporter gave a detailed account of the attack on harm reduction in Budapest, which resulted in the closure of the two largest needle and syringe programs. This year, we have produced a movie, based on interviews with key professionals and drug users, about what has changed on the streets of the District 8 of Budapest since then. Watch our video with English subtitles! 

September 8, 2015

Mystifying Designer Drugs: Serbian Media Does It’s Utmost

New psychoactive substances - temporarily legal substitutes for traditional illicit drugs - have been around in Serbia for several years, but the biased local media coverage tends to leave one poorly informed about them.

September 3, 2015

Drug Consumption Rooms in Barcelona

Watch this inspiring video interview with a Catalan harm reduction activist, about how drug consumption rooms have helped to reduce drug problems in Barcelona!  

August 28, 2015

The Room for Change campaign launches a petition among citizens in Sofia

The Initiative for Health Foundation is building on the Room for Change campaign, with street action and a petition.

August 26, 2015

Room for Change: But in Which Direction?

On 26th of June 2015, as many as 150 cities all over the world joined the “Support, Don’t Punish” campaign, to mark Global Action Day. For eight cities in Europe, it was also the opening day of the “Room for Change” campaign, advocating for safe injection rooms for people who inject drugs. In this context, the situation of the Warsaw Harm Reduction Foundation is especially alarming.

August 25, 2015

Cannabis Social Clubs in Catalonia – A European Model of Cannabis Legalisation?

Please watch our video interview with a Catalan cannabis activist, about how political attitudes to cannabis are changing in Spain. 

July 12, 2015

Odyseus Calls for Common Solutions on Drugs in Slovakia

Slovakia needs to find a common solution to guarantee harm reduction for all in need - argues a local harm reduction provider, Odyseus, in a video produced jointly with Drugreporter.

July 7, 2015

Harm Reduction Services End in Montenegro

Harm reduction service provision ended in Montenegro on June 30th 2015, due to the fact that Montenegro is classified as an upper- middle-income country, and as such, is not eligible for further funding from the Global Fund to Defeat Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria.

July 2, 2015

The Myth of a Final Solution in the War Against Legal Highs

"Legal highs: could this be the end of the road?" – asks Joe Shuts in his article, published in The Telegraph. He refers to the new blanket ban the UK government has recently introduced to stop the flood of so-called legal highs, new psychoactive substances which have been spreading all over Europe since 2009. Should other governments follow the British example and adopt similar bans? The answer has to be a resounding "No". 

June 26, 2015

We Need Room for Change!

Drugreporter, in cooperation with seven other NGOs, proudly presents the new international campaign Room for Change—because we need to change the way we respond to urban drug problems.

June 11, 2015

In Search of a Drug Consumption Room - The Open Veins of Drug Users

A blend of poverty and lack of education, coupled with public hypocrisy and the absence of any real and efficient policies – it’s a recipe for a lethal Romanian cocktail which could prove to be more dangerous for drug addicts than the drugs themselves. The number of hard drug users in the country is steadily rising, while their average age is falling, with consumption-related diseases spreading faster than ever. It’s a situation that requires an urgent change in public views and national policies.

May 26, 2015

Cannabis – Healer or Killer?

During the last few months in Poland, cannabis has been receiving a good deal of attention. This is a result of a few events - both positive and negative - which have placed the issue of cannabis regulation in the mainstream media limelight.

May 14, 2015

The Battle for Harm Reduction Continues in Budapest

The HCLU’s Drugreporter has warned that rates of hepatitis-C infection among injecting drug users in Budapest almost doubled between 2011 and 2014 – in a period when access to harm reduction programs rapidly decreased. Government politicians are still denying the reality, and accuse harm reduction advocates of exaggerating the problem.