Conference on drugs, Greek Presidency of the EU

Zappeio, Athens 4-6 March 2003

Towards an Effective Policy on Drugs: Scientific evidence, day-to-day practice and policy choices. Overcoming obstacles for the implementation of evidence-based drug policies andinterventions.

The ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and welfare, Justice and Public Order in co-operation with the European Commission and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) organised from 4-6 of March 2003 a High Level Conference on Drugs, which has been held in the city of Athens.

With this conference the Greek Presidency wanted to create the opportunity for scientific researchers, workers at the day-to-day practice, policy makers, politicians and representatives from NGO’s to meet, exchange experiences and propose ways for a more effective EU policy on drugs. The three main items of the conference were demand reduction; from prevention to rehabilitation; drugs and the criminal justice system; drugs, organised crime and law enforcement. Presentations and interventions were focused on concrete questions on the effectiveness of the current policy, its shortcomings and the possibilities of new forms of action.

The aim of the conference was:

  • to make proposals for the improvement of the interaction between science, policy and practice;
  • to contribute to the further implementation of the EU action plan 2000-2004, taking into account the results, conclusions and recommendations of the mid-term review and formulate guide lines for the new action plan at the end of 2004;
  • to make suggestions for an EU-position at the 46th conference of the UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) which will be held in Vienna in April 2003;
  • and to stimulate cooperation between regional and international organisations for the realization of an effective drug policy.
    Participants were from the members states, the new accession countries, the European Commission, the Council secretariat, the EMCDDA, EUROPOL, the UN, members of the European Parliament and of National Parliaments, representatives from NGO’s, and professionals from the field of science and the every day practice.

The former member of the Dutch parliament, Mr. Thanasis Apostolou was the conference coordinator.

Read the Speech by minister George Papandreou: report of the conference