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

March 29, 2015

The Romanian “King of Legal Highs” on Interview

Alin Rotaru, dubbed by the Romanian media, ”The Kings of Legal Highs”, was the owner of what was probably the first physical “ethnobotanical shop” in Romania, which opened in early 2008 in the eastern city of Galați. Read Drugreporter’s guest author Ștefan Iancu’s interview with him.

March 25, 2015

Is the European Medical Cannabis Movement Gaining in Power?

Researchers and medical cannabis patients met at the Prague Medical Cannabis Conference to discuss the latest developments in the field. On the sidelines, Drugreporter's guest author Iga Jeziorska interviewed two activists who were involved with the recent founding of the International Medical Cannabis Patients' Coalition.

March 17, 2015

Make-or-break year in HIV prevention in Bulgaria: The “Goodwill” campaign

A joint campaign by Bulgarian NGOs is warning that by the end of 2015, Bulgaria will completely lose its HIV prevention services. Read what needs to be done to keep rates of infection low in this Balkan country.

March 12, 2015

Second Needle and Syringe Program Shut Down in Budapest

It is a dark time for harm reduction in Hungary: another life-saving service has fallen victim to political paranoia.

March 9, 2015

A Good Patient

What it's like to be a Serbian HIV-positive mother in treatment. Read the story by our guest author from Belgrade.

February 26, 2015

Drugreporter Annual Report 2014

Films about drug policy reform from New Zealand to Europe, video advocacy trainings, conferences, reports and campaigns about harm reduction, consultation with decision makers at the national and European level - the Drugreporter Team had a very active year in 2014. Please read & download our colorful 2014 Annual Report and learn more! 

February 19, 2015

Slovakia Heading Towards Full Decriminalisation

Drugreporter has for some time now been hearing rumours of the possible decriminalisation of drug use in Slovakia. Unlike the Czech Republic (the country with which it was previously joined, famous for its liberal drug policy) this central-European country has until now remained one of the shrinking number of EU countries which punish simple drug possession with imprisonment.

February 16, 2015

Scientology’s “Drug Prevention” Programs Infiltrate Hungarian Schools

According to a new report, published by the HCLU’s Drugreporter on Monday, organisations backed by the Church of Scientology are infiltrating Hungarian schools, in order to increase the Church’s social influence.

February 4, 2015

The Illegal Trade in Previously Legal Highs in Romania

Since laws were passed in Romania in 2010 and 2011, prohibiting the trade in previously legal highs and any other commercial products with psychoactive effects, the sale and use of these substances has gone down significantly. Nevertheless, amphetamine-like stimulants and other previously legal highs are still readily available, via a number of different routes, to users who are in the know.

January 29, 2015

CHECK!N – 8 years of Intervening in Party Settings in Portugal

Portugal not only broke the taboo by decriminalising all illicit substance but also recognised the importance of on-site harm reduction in party settings. Read here how their holistic CHECK!N party service helps young people and others.

January 13, 2015

Infographic: Harm Reduction in Party Settings in Serbia

All you need to know about harms and harm reduction at party settings in Serbia summed up on the latest episode of Drugreporter's Drugfacts infographic.

January 6, 2015

Coffee Shops and Compromise: The Success of the Dutch Model

In 1976, the Netherlands separated the cannabis market from the market in other illicit drugs, and allowed coffee shops to sell small amounts of cannabis to adults in a controlled environment. Our new movie, supplementing the report of the Open Society Foundation, tells the story of the Dutch model and highlights its successes, as well as the challenges ahead of it.  

December 15, 2014

High Hopes in Serbia for Regulated Medical Marijuana

Regulated medical marijuana has come out of the blue as a feasible alternative in Serbia, where overwhelming public support favours regulating hemp-based medicines. The promised draft law is still awaited, however, and will then require the approval of the national parliament.

December 8, 2014

Romania: drug-related offenses reduced as New Criminal Code is enforced

This year, the Romanian drug law was amended in the direction of decriminalisation, though the law still retains imprisonment and fines as an option, while penalties generally discriminate against the poor and socially disadvantaged.

November 20, 2014

Constitutional Court of Poland Backs Medical Marijuana

Poland's Constitutional Court recently concluded, in a legally binding ruling, that the county’s drug law needs to be amended. Find out why!

November 17, 2014

Infographic: Romania’s second plague - Tuberculosis

Check out our new infographic on Romania, where the poor health services provided for injecting drug users lead to increased shared needle use driven by new psychoactive substances. All of this has caused a surge in new HIV cases, and the revival of tuberculosis among people who use drugs.

October 17, 2014

Legalisation of Marijuana is a Political Taboo in Bulgaria

Bulgarian society seems to be in a state of apathy when it comes to decriminalisation of drug use. Neither a so-called “reform” of the drugs law (making it harsher than ever), nor an outrageous fine for the pro-legalisation Green party, was a loud enough wake-up call for Bulgaria to distance itself from the current punishment-based approach. Read the guest article from human rights expert journalist Krassen Nikolov.

October 14, 2014

This is Why Needle Exchange Services are Needed in Budapest

The recent closure of the largest needle and syringe exchange program in Budapest raised a lot of concerns. Read how the leader of a similar service, ArtEra, sees the changing landscape for injecting drug users in the Hungarian capital.

October 7, 2014

Structural Changes Threaten Harm Reduction in Portugal

Do the recent structural changes to Portuguese harm reduction services threaten the stability and integrity of the country’s system? Our local EDPI partner, APDES, guides readers through this issue.

September 30, 2014

Serbian Youth Deserves Proper Party Scene Harm Reduction

Recreational drug use is  common in party settings among Serbian youth– a recent large scale study concluded  - bringing further evidence for the need to make party harm reduction services widely available across the country.