Ahead of the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs next week, Italian NGOs have sent an open letter to the government, urging it not to repeat the mistakes of the past and to stand up for European and humane drug policies.
European Drug Policy Initiative
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.
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
The Council encourages member states to divert drug using offenders from the criminal justice system and refer them to educational and/or treatment programs.
The Civil Society Forum on Drugs, an expert group of the EU Commission, is urging the Commission to provide adequate funding and staff to drug coordination and support demand and harm reduction interventions.
Iveta Chovancová is the director of Odyesus, a harm reduction NGO based in Bratislava, Slovakia. We interviewed her about trends in drug policies in her country.
Read the story of Bojan Arsenijević’s (NGO Re Generation, Serbia) influencing experience about taking PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, which represents a combination of antiretroviral drugs that minimises the possibility of infection after accidental exposure to a potentially infectious material.
Amendments of the Law on Psychoactive and Controlled Substances in Serbia. Read about the controversial and not-transparent process of the adoption of the amendments, and the fight of NGOs to be involved.
How the Polish Ministry of Health wants to fight new psychoactive substances. Analogy with the myth of the Hydra and Heracles.
“Together with you, we create a city we want to live in.” David Pesek’s video and article about how local residents, NGOs and drug user activists recapture the city for a day.
“The numbers show us that the current Polish drug policy is not working,” says Adam Stasiak from the Polish Drug Policy Network.
“An example of not learning from good practice.” Darko Kostovski, a psychiatrist from Skopje, highlights the problems the clients of opiate substitution treatment face in Macedonia.