In early July, the European Union issued the long-awaited action plan on drugs, 2017-2020.
The final text includes actions and recommendations on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and reintegration, as well as on better handling of illicit psychoactive substances.
However, Article 8 highlights the role of civil society organizations either as a source of information or as supervisors for the development of the implementation of the action plan by country and in the European Union. In particular, it refers to the Civil Society Forum on Drugs, as the official forum for dialogue with the relevant Commission bodies, in which “Diogenis” is a member of its thematic committees, as well as participant of the annual meeting in Brussels.
You can read or download the action plan text here.
The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSF), an expert group of the European Commission with more than forty members representing leading European NGOs, held its annual plenary meeting in Brussels last week (7-8/11). The Forum has become an important voice, but it needs more inclusion and funding from EU institutions. “Diogenis” is an official member of the CSFD and at that meeting was represented by Nikos Stergiou.
The Forum, is a diverse group of NGOs representing different fields, regions and ideological approaches an it has four working groups. Read more
The European new psychoactive substances (NPS) market has increased at a speed that established drug control laws struggle to match. Various countries have therefore introduced new legal responses to this phenomenon, based either on existing laws that focused on consumer or health protection or medicinal products, or by developing innovative new legislation. In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that substances are not medicinal products if they do not have beneficial effects on human health, thus restricting the use of such laws for NPS control. This joint report prepared with Eurojust combines the EMCDDA’s top level monitoring activities with Eurojust’s operational experience in transnational prosecutions. The first part of the report is aimed at policymakers, and lists the challenges in NPS control and the solutions adopted in selected Member States. The second part is for legal practitioners, and focuses on the judgment of the Court of Justice and its practical effects on the transnational prosecution of NPS cases, describing the responses of some of the Member States most affected by the ruling.
You can access the publication at the follow link:
Paris is the next European capital to inaugurate the function of the first supervised drug consumption room in the country. This facility, fully funded by the national health system, opens for a six-year pilot period as approved by the relevant legislation, which was adopted last year by the socialist government. It is expected that the service will be used daily by about 100 – intravenous drug users (IDUs) – starting from Friday 14 October, where the room will open officially its doors to the beneficiaries. The facility is located in a busy area in northern Paris near the Gare du Nord Train Station, which also according to the authorities is the main point of sale and consumption of illegal drugs in the French capital.
Unfortunately, in Greece, so far it seems to lack the necessary political will to reopen the site. Examples like that of France, is encouraging and enhancing dissemination of knowledge in this area with a view to developing and extending corresponding Harm Reduction programs.
You can read more here (in Greek)
Commenting on the Commission’s Communication “Towards a stronger European response to drugs” the Association Diogenis, notes that the Commission’s proposals are not in conformity with the principle of a balanced and integrated approach. There is a disconnect between theory and specific measures proposed in the Communication. This contradiction is one of the most vulnerable points of the Communication which the Commission must necessarily correct. It is disappointing, notes the Association Diogenis, that the European Commission wants to focus its activities mainly on repression, supply reduction and law enforcement, and little on demand reduction, prevention and treatment and programs to help citizens to choose healthy life styles and behaviours, protect their health and actively participate in society.
The new impetus to European policy on drugs that the European Commission plans to promote does not meet the requirements of our times. We need to follow new ways of dealing with drugs. There are interesting proposals to try other ways of control , such as consumer safety or medicines legislation to stop, for example, the open sale of so called “legal highs”. The same applies to regulation of cannabis the most used controlled substance. The main advantage of such solutions is that they avoid criminalisation of the users while the objective to limit the availability remains the same. In this context, users are not confronted with the criminal law, punishment and imprisonment but the main point of reference is the protection of their health.
You can read more here.