Drug Consumption Rooms: majority vote for provision allowing their establishment

Today, Thursday 7/3/2019, the legal provision allowing the establishment of Drug Consumption Rooms in Greece was adopted by majority vote (229 ‘in favor’, 32 ‘against’ and 1 ‘present’) in the pleanary session of the Parliament.

According to this provision, Article 91 par.3 of the proposed law submitted by the Ministry of Health (“Private Clinics Statutory Framework, Modernization and Reformative recommendations, The National Public Health Organization establishment, the National Institute of Neoplasms and the other provisions establishment”): 

“The approved bodies of Article 51 (Law 4139/2013) can operate supervised drug consumption sites. Within these supervised drug consumption sites services for safer drug use and harm reduction and reduction of drug-related negative consequences are provided. The objective of supervised drug consumption sites’ operation is to promote the health of active drug users, to protect public health, to reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases among drug dependent individuals, to prevent and effectively address overdose cases through early intervention, to reduce public nuisance, to motivate and prepare drug users for entering treatment programs. Terms and conditions for the establishment and operation of supervised drug consumption sites, staffing and facility issues,  the creation, compliance and operation of service recipients’ Registry record and every other related issue will be determined upon decision of the Minister of Health. The supervised drug consumption sites will operate following an authorization granted by decision of the Minister of Health. The possession and use of drugs from service recipients and within the supervised drug consumption site will not be considered a criminal offence provided that they are registered in the Service Recipients’ Record” 

Greek Parliament set to vote on new bill establishing Supervised Drug Consumption Sites-The contribution of civil society organizations

The debate over the recent draft law entitled “Private Clinics Statutory Framework, Modernization and Reformative recommendations, The National Public Health Organization establishment, the National Institute of Neoplasms and the other provisions establishment” is in the homestretch. The proposed draft bill, submitted by the Health Ministry, includes – among others-  various amendments of the Law 4139/2013 on drugs as well as a specific provision for the legal establishment of supervised drug consumption sites in Greece. 

On February 20, 2019, a hearing meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament took place, during which the proposed Draft Law was discussed. Mrs. Galinaki Sofia, Advocacy Officer of Diogenis and representative of the greek Organizations’ Platform for psychoactive substances, participated in the hearing, during which in cooperation with other Platform’s member-organizations presented a series of proposals aiming to improve this legislative initiative.

Α relevant proposals’ memorandum was submitted on behalf of the Platform to the Committee and the Minister of Health, Mr A. Xanthos.

Next Tuesday, 26/2/2019, the second reading of the draft law by the Committee is expected to take place, so that later be introduced  in plenary for voting.

Human Rights Day: Persons Who Use Drugs Count!

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day (December 10th), organization “Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue”, concludes its awareness campaign entitled “Persons Who Use Drugs Count”. This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948.

Worldwide, we have seen large-scale abuses of international human rights in the name of the drug control system. The “Persons Who Use Drugs Count” campaign, is calling for a drug policy focused on human rights, where the epicenter is the human being and its fundamental needs, ensuring that “no one is left behind”.

You can read the full document here.

 

Greece needs an approved Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs.

The Special Subcommittee of the Greek Parliament on studying and addressing the Drug Problem met on Tuesday, 15 May with representatives of organisations specialized on drug issues to exchange and formulate views on a policy on drugs. Among the organisations invited to participate was also the non-profit organization Diogenis, drug policy dialogue. Diogenis was represented by the Director Mr Thanasis Apostolou and the advocacy officer Mrs Sophia Galinaki.

In Diogenis’ presentation, Thanasis Apostolou thanked the Commission for the invitation, referred to the organization’s history, goals and actions, and in to some views of the organization regarding the policy on drugs. He emphasized that the objective of the current drug control system to eliminate drugs is not realistic. Drugs have always existed and will exist. The law enforcement authorities should give priority to the security of citizens and the fight against organized crime, not to prosecution and punishment of the users. Drug use and treatment of its harmful effects is primarily a medical issue and should be addressed as a public health problem. The law 4139 of 2013 contains positive points in that direction, but it has not been implemented so far. NGOs have repeatedly complained about the lack of strategy and planning, and they propose that civil society should also be involved in the National Drug Coordination and Planning Committee. We hope that the initiative of the Parliamentary Committee will contribute to make the National Strategy and the Action Plan a reality.

See the intervention of Diogenis here (in Greek)

International Harm Reduction Day: Persons Who Use Drugs Count!

On the occasion of the International Harm Reduction Day (May 7th), organization “Diogenis – Drug Policy Dialogue”, continues its awareness campaign entitled “Persons Who Use Drugs Count”. May 7th was established as the International Harm Reduction day by the international civil society in 2014, with the aim to promote evidence-based harm reduction interventions, focusing on respect for human rights and public health.

“Harm Reduction” is used as a general term to define interventions, programs and policies that seek to reduce the harmful consequences related to drug use and which affect individuals, communities and society (Regh et al. 2010). This is a pragmatic and integrative approach, consisting of a comprehensive package of interventions tailored to the local conditions and the corresponding needs of people using psychoactive substances as well as those of the wider community.

Read more here.