A great insight into the new EU Drugs Strategy

DPNSEE hosted the Webinar on EU Drugs Strategy 2021 – 2025 on Wednesday 24 March 2021. The Webinar was supported by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

The webinar was supposed to serve as a source of inspiration to support all those involved process of design, implementation and evaluation of drug strategies.

The EU Drugs Strategy 2021 – 2025 was presented by Danilo Ballotta, Coordinator – Institutional relations at the EMCDDA (link to Danilo’s presentation>>>).

Iga Jeziorska, from Youth Organisations for Drug Action, Chair of the Working Group on the EU Action Plan at the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs (link to Iga’s presentation>>>) and Adrià Cots Fernández, Research and Advocacy Officer, International Drug Policy Consortium spoke about the civil society involvement in the process of designing the Strategy.

A more critical view on the Strategy was offered by Péter Sárosi from the Rights Reporter Foundation (link to Péter’s presentation>>>).

Discussions in three separate discussion rooms followed on three main pillars of the Strategy: Reducing supply (facilitated by Željko Petković, Assistant Director, Service for Combatting Drug Abuse at the Croatian Institute of Public Health), Reducing demand (facilitated by Matej Košir, Deputy Chairperson, Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs, UTRIP Institute, Slovenia) and Harm reduction (facilitated by Marios Atzemis, DPNSEE Board member, European AIDS Treatment Group Greece).

More than 70 representatives of governmental organisations, both on national and local level, academia, civil society organisations, international organisations and donor community participated.

The Webinar offered a comprehensive and interesting insight into the Strategy and caused an interesting discussion and exchange of views.

Webinar on EU Drugs Strategy 2021 – 2025

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) invite you to participate in the webinar that will provide information on the new European Union drug strategy.

The EU Council approved the EU Drugs Strategy on 18 December 2020 setting out the political framework and priorities for the EU’s drug policy in the period 2021-2025. The strategy aims to ensure a high level of health promotion, social stability and security and contribute to awareness raising. On the basis of this strategy, the Council will prepare an action plan which will set out concrete measures to achieve these priorities.

With this strategy, the EU and its member states reaffirm their commitment to an approach which is based on evidence, comprehensive and balanced between demand and supply reduction of drugs, with the preservation of human rights at its core. At the same time, this strategy uses the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis in the drugs area and takes a future-oriented approach, promoting research, innovation and foresight to respond more effectively to increasing challenges and to anticipate them.

The webinar may serve as a source of inspiration to support all those involved process of design, implementation and evaluation of drug strategies. It is especially suitable for regional drug strategy makers, regional civil society groups, European and other interested participants.

The EU Drugs Strategy 2021 – 2025 will be presented by Danilo Ballotta, Coordinator – Institutional relations at the EMCDDA.

We also expect inputs from the civil society activists. The full list of speakers will be published before the webinar.

The Webinar will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 24 March 2021 starting at 13:00 CET. The Webinar will last for 90 minutes.

The Webinar will be delivered in English, with translation into Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian. We are exploring opportunities for translation into other languages of South East Europe.

As the number of participants is limited, please register by Tuesday 23 March using the following link>>>.

 

EU drugs strategy for 2021-2025 approved

EU press release

The EU Council approved the EU strategy on 18 December setting out the political framework and priorities for the EU’s drug policy in the period 2021-2025. The strategy aims to ensure a high level of health promotion, social stability and security and contribute to awareness raising. On the basis of this strategy, the Council will prepare an action plan which will set out concrete measures to achieve these priorities.

With this strategy, the EU and its member states reaffirm their commitment to an approach which is based on evidence, comprehensive and balanced between demand and supply reduction of drugs, with the preservation of human rights at its core. At the same time, this strategy uses the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis in the drugs area and takes a future-oriented approach, promoting research, innovation and foresight to respond more effectively to increasing challenges and to anticipate them.

Under drug supply reduction/enhanced security the strategy targets all aspects of the illicit drug market, and includes the prevention of, dissuasion from and disruption of drug related crime, in particular organised crime, through judicial and law enforcement cooperation, intelligence, interdiction, confiscation of criminal assets, investigations and border management. This priority area has been further enhanced as compared to the 2013-2020 strategy, to respond to the challenging developments in European drug markets. These are characterised by a high availability of various types of drugs, ever larger seizures, increasing use of violence and huge profits, as well as the use of social media platforms, apps and the internet and darknet for illicit drug trafficking. Such features have not faded during the COVID-19 crisis, to the contrary.

The drug demand reduction policy area consists of a range of mutual reinforcing measures including prevention, early detection and intervention, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and recovery. Such action needs to be appropriate to the local social context and the needs of the target population, be informed by scientific evidence and be safe and effective. It needs to be developed through the close collaboration of a number of health and social support services. The COVID-19 crisis has further revealed the need to ensure continuity of these actions.

A new, dedicated chapter has been added on addressing drug related harm. This section includes measures and policies to prevent or reduce the possible health and social risks and harm for users, for society and in prison settings. It covers aspects such as reducing the prevalence and incidence of drug-related infectious diseases, preventing overdoses and drug-related deaths and providing alternatives to coercive sanctions.

The strategy also identifies three cross-cutting themes in support of the policy areas:

  • international cooperation: enhancing the role of the EU as a global broker for a people-centred and human rights-oriented drug policy through cooperation with third countries, regions and international organisations, while strengthening the commitment to development-orientated drug policies and alternative development measures.
  • research, innovation and foresight: providing the EU and member states with the necessary comprehensive research and foresight capacities to address drug challenges in a more agile and proactive manner, increasing preparedness to respond to future challenges.
  • coordination, governance and implementation: ensuring optimal implementation of the strategy, including via the key action of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and of Europol, involving civil society and providing adequate resources at EU and national level to achieve this.

The Strategy is available following this link>>>.