Welcome to the first episode of our new live online video show, Drugreporter Café, where we will regularly discuss new developments in the world of drug policy with professionals, activists and decision makers. Today our show will feature drug policy reform in a small country in Southern-Eastern Europe, North Macedonia. We will discuss the chances of reform with two guests, two activists from the country, Vlatko Dekov (HOPS Skopje) and Natasa Boskova (Coalition Margins).
Drug Policy and Law
Drug laws in most countries of the world follow the principle defined by the three international drug conventions (1961, 1971, 1988), that is, they prohibit the non-medical and non-scientific use of some mind altering drugs. This principle is not only outdated but it has become anachronistic: the reality is that millions of people use mind altering substances for recreational purposes and most of them do not experience significant harms from drug use. What is more, many harms people do experience are directly connected to the war on drugs, which created a lucrative black market that only benefits criminal organisations. A drug-free world is an illusion, drug policies should be aimed at reducing the harms of drug use and drug policies instead. We believe that drug use should not be punished and drugs should be regulated as legal products, adjusted to the specific characteristics and risks of those drugs.
The new security-focused EU Drugs Agenda proposed by the EU Commission was criticised by civil society and member states. The German EU presidency is now in charge of revising it.
The second part of our series reveals how young people advocating drug policy reform cope with the new challenges and opportunities brought by the COVID-crisis.
When it comes to drugs, Hungary is the country of extremes. It has one of the most repressive drug laws in the EU – and the most liberal regulation of alcohol at the same time.
For a long time, Malta had a repressive approach to drugs, but there is an increasing understanding and acceptance of harm reduction measures now. We interviewed Karen Mamo, a researcher and harm reduction professional.
While a growing number of American schools are now considering removing policemen from schools, the Hungarian government has cut drug prevention budgets, and will hire police officers equipped with handcuffs and batons to punish misbehaving students.
The members of Drugreporter’s video advocacy network produced a movie about the new generation of synthetic drugs that conquered Poland in 2008 – and are still popular.
In this time of crisis, harm reduction activists must go beyond their regular demands and urge governments to act quickly to prevent a public health crisis transforming into a social collapse (Greek translation).
Drugreporter’s video advocacy team gives you a global overview of cannabis reform – watch our interviews with key activists from 6 countries where major reforms are underway!