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

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.
May 11, 2015

Why Was Ibogaine Banned in Hungary?

The Hungarian government banned 42 new psychoactive substances this year - but some of them are not new at all, for example Ibogaine. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union is suing a government agency for not providing access to the assessment reports on the risks of these drugs.   

April 29, 2015

Dirty Work in Velvet Gloves in Poland - The Organisation vs. the Politicians

The Polish parliament recently pushed through a series of amendments - mostly relating to new psychoactive substances - to the country's law on counteracting drug addiction. Read about the Polish politicians’ total contempt for the opinion of civil society, as well as for evidence-based drug policy.

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.