The Drug Policy Network South East Europe is an initiative of NGOs from the countries of South East Europe. Currently, there are 26 member organisations of the Network coming from Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
The cooperation between the organisations in South East Europe dates back to autumn 2009. In March 2010, an informal network of NGOs was created to continue the cooperation with the relevant authorities responsible for drug policy. Good experience of partnership and joint projects resulted in formal creation of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe in October 2015.
The DPNSEE is a network of key affected populations and the Network organisations are primarily providers of preventive, therapeutic, harm reduction and rehabilitation services.
The DPNSEE shares the concern that national and international policies and programmes responding to the cultivation, production, trade and use of controlled substances are excessively focused on harsh law enforcement and punishment. Such an approach has been ineffective in reducing the scale of the drug markets and use, have limited impacts in reducing the harmful consequences of the illicit market and have themselves lead to significant adverse consequences.
The Network aims to create close and constructive relationships through open and objective dialogue with experts, key policy makers in national governments, regional bodies and international organisations in order to promote humane and effective drug policies.
The vision of the DPNSEE is that:
- National and international drug policies and programmes are grounded in the principles of human rights, social inclusion and public health.
- Policy making processes should be transparent and policy makers should engage meaningfully with civil society, particularly with affected populations (such as people who use drugs, parents and NGO initiatives).
The Drug Policy NGO Network in SEE aims to promote objective and open debate on the effectiveness, direction and content of the national, regional and international drug policy and to advance constructive recommendations for policy makers that lead to the adoption of more humane and effective drug policies in SEE. The Network will do this through the following activities:
- Creating channels and advocacy tools for the Network members and building their capacity to better engage with and influence the policy making processes of national governments, regional and international agencies.
- Facilitating communication and co-operation between civil society stakeholders and supporting collaborative activities/endeavours.
- Producing and disseminating information and analysis to highlight the shortcomings of the current drug control system with its strong law enforcement-dominated approaches and promote a public health and human rights based approach in the SEE region.