The 57th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.Search for new approaches but lack of consensus on basic principles for future drug policy.

The 57th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs held in Vienna from 13 to 21 March 2014 , gave an opportunity to Member States, international organizations and civil society organizations  to exchange views and to evaluate the efforts to effectively implement the political declaration and plan of action of 2009.

The session started on March 13 with the informal meeting of Ministers, High Level Representatives of the UN member states and representatives of organizations of civil society . The Queen of Sweden, Honorary Chairperson of the NGO Mentor expressed her appreciation for the organization of the open dialogue between Member States and civil society. It has been an opportunity to hear opinions from all sides and to discuss possibilities for cooperation and common progress of Member States and non-governmental organizations . The findings of a civil society public hearing which has been organised the previous day (12/3) have been presented in the first high-level meeting . At the same meeting the conclusions of the panel of scientists who also met on 12/3 have been presented and young people from different countries of the world expressed their views on a required drug policy.
The member states presented  subsequently in the plenary their views on the policy pursued in relation to drugs . The speeches of the states representatives revealed that there was a difference, compared to the past,  in the attitude of most countries concerning the effectiveness of the existing drug policy. It has been stressed that the future drug policy should focus on protecting the health of people , take due account of the fundamental human rights as agreed under the UN conventions, approach drug users not as criminals but as people who need assistance especially when they are dependent to addictive substances and pay special attention to prevention by promoting choices that contribute to human health .
Member states are not unanimous on all issues relating to drugs. The 57th session was dominated by negotiations around the issue of harm reduction , the death penalty for violations of Drug laws , the reform of the international drug control treaties and the process towards the Special General Assembly on Drugs in 2016 .
In these matter no consensus has been reached despite intensive and lengthy negotiations .

Report: Cannabis in Albania, Policy and Practice

On 20 September 2013 a seminar on policy and practice of cannabis in Albania has been organized by the  Association Diogenis, Drug Policy Dialogue in Southeast Europe,  and the Albanian NGO Aksion Plus. The aim of the meeting was to bring together policy makers, experts and representatives of relevant institutions  and non-governmental organizations in order to exchange information and experiences on the current situation, national legislation in Albania, law enforcement and its impact on production marketing and distribution of cannabis, prevention programmes and related issues in the everyday practice. The presentations and the discussion  resulted in several recommendations to improve the situation, promote opportunities for cooperation between authorities, civil society and international organizations. The seminar was a successful collaboration between the Association  Diogenis  and NGO Aksion Plus in Albania. The UNODC Regional Office in Tirana, supported the organization of the seminar and participated actively in the discussions. The report refers to the presentations  and the  discussion of the following topics: cannabis trafficking routes in Southeast Europe, the Albanian legislation on cannabis, the illicit production and trafficking and the sanctions for possession and use, cannabis / toxicological aspects ,  health disorders, abuse of substances and emergency treatment, education, awareness and demand reduction of drugs and other dangerous substances and recent developments in international policy on cannabis.

More: Report a seminar on Cannabis in Albania

Conference "Drugs in Greece"
On Saturday, February 8, 2014 a conference was organized by the Office of the Regional Authority, Unit of South Athens, in the Auditorium of the Cultural Center " Theodoros Angelopoulos " in Mοschato, entitled "Drugs in Greece ".  The Mayor of Moschato and  Tavros - Andreas Efthymiou , the Deputy of the regional authority Maria Karaklioumi and the Regional Consultant and Advisor to the Minister of Health Rena Vassilakis welcomed the particpants. The topics of the conference were:
Drugs in Greece : recent past and present / photo presentation by Iakovos Chatzistavrou and presentation by Manina Terzidou
Drugs and Health: Diseases , Infections / Supplement to the National Health System presentations by : Nikos Dedes and George Kalamitsis
Treatment , and treatment methods : Presentations by Meni Malliori and Manolis Fiorakis
The role of local government - Good practices presentations by Philippos Dragoumis and Calliopi MullaA report of the conference will be published soon

More: New approaches to drug policy in Europe and other parts of the world (in Griek)



Greek NGOs ask the immediate replacement of the existing health provision 39a and the amendment of the legal framework on the control of infectious diseases

The NGOs POSITIVE VOICE - CENTRE FOR LIFE- PRAKSIS - Association of of people in therapy by OKANA - Association DIOGENIS and PROMETHEUS express in a letter to deputy Minister of Health Zetta Makri their satisfaction for signing the " Action Plan to address the HIV / AIDS epidemic among intravenous drug users in the centre of Athens and throughout Greece ". They also highlight some points that , in their opinion , need to be settled in order to properly implement the plan. The organizations argue that the objectives to be achieved are unclear, which makes them non- measurable by the evaluation and propose to describe the specific objectives more clearly. The plan should include a timetable for implementation of the proposed actions and also a budget as has been proposed by the committee of coordination and action . The Non Governmental organizations reiterate their criticism to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention (HCDCP)  for its cooperation during the operations for mandatory  HIV  tests and violations of privacy principles and calls the deputy minister to put pressure on the board of HCDCP to meet more adequate the transparency rules . The NGOs note that the Ministry of Health will significantly  help to avoid the mistakes of the past, when it will decide to replace immediately the existing health provision 39a and will amend the legal framework for the control of infectious diseases . If these changes are not accepted the NGOs have serious doubts whether the coordination and the action plan itself will succeed to avoid serious mistakes of the past .

more: Letter of the NGOs (in Greek)

Τhe page “News” presents current topics on developments in drug policy in Southeast Europe, the European Union and other countries as well as the European and international institutions and organisations. Initiatives and actions of NGOs will be reported regularly. The page will update on new initiatives, comment on news and inform on events, seminars and discussions related to drug policy.