The Hungarian government decided to reject the progressive drug strategy of the country and to draft a new, prohibitionist one. The head of the Drug Policy Program of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union argues that this is an example how a government should NOT draft a drug strategy.
European Drug Policy
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
On December 9 the new Polish drug law came into effect and liberalized the drug policy – read the report of our Polish partner, Agnieszka Sieniawska!
Initiative for Health, a harm reduction NGO, organized the first street action in Bulgaria to promote drug policy reform. The event was part of a coordinated international advocacy campaign of the European Drug Policy Initiative – please read the report of our Bulgarian partner!
On December 5, 2011, the Romanian Government issued a new Emergency Ordinance (GED) which amends the current legislation on drugs. More specifically, the new provision simplifies the procedures for amending the lists with controlled substances: from now on it will be easier to criminalize a new substance, once identified.
Drug policy reform is possible in countries with conservative public attitudes and repressive policies…
Criminalisation of drug possession does not help to decrease illicit drug consumption. Instead, it distracts the attention and energy of the police from the real originators of the problem: mass producers and major and minor drug dealers – write the signatories of the letter of support, including former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, for liberalizing drug policy in Poland.
HCLU's film outlines Switzerland's successful drug policy
The Vienna Declaration is now available in five more languages thanks to the European Drug Policy Initiative (EDPI)
The winning articles of the 'Dark Side of Drug Policies' schloraships for journalists
HCLU is now calling for applications to its new media scholarship program