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Pike, Brigid (2008) EU civil society forum discusses new EU action plan on drugs. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 27, Autumn 2008, p. 23.

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 On 20–21 May 2008 the Civil Society Forum on Drugs in the European Union assembled in Brussels for its second meeting.1 Its purpose was to give constructive feedback to the European Commission for the new EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012.2

 The key points to emerge from the two-day session, as summarised in the final report, were: 
  •  EU drug policy must be based on the principles of public health and human rights. The principles of non-stigmatisation and non-discrimination need to be emphasised.
  • Co-ordination between civil society, EU institutions and member states should be strengthened and encouraged.
  • Specific attention should be paid to the needs of particularly vulnerable groups, gender differences, parents, youth and adolescents, migrants, ethnic minorities and drug users.
  • The new action plan should promote the development of quality standards in demand reduction, including prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social rehabilitation and reintegration.
  •  The quantity and quality of data collection should be improved.
  •  Responses to polydrug use need to be strengthened and the links between drugs, alcohol and drescription drugs should be further explored.
  • The action plan should pay attention to the relationship between drug use and mental health problems.
  • In co-operation with third countries, the new action plan should advocate alternative development, while taking into account poverty and social deprivation.
  • The action plan should try to improve the situation in prisons, important places for prevention, education and rehabilitation programmes, and the support to drug users after release from prison.
  •  Efforts should be made to reduce drug-related deaths by making available treatment or harm reduction services.
  • Coverage of, access to and effectiveness of drug demand reduction measures should be improved.
  •  Substitution programmes should be made more effective and integrated with other programmes.
 In conclusion, the report outlined the steps to be taken to finalise the action plan. The European Commission will publish a draft EU action plan on drugs 2009–2012 in the third week of September. This document will go to the European Council, where it will be discussed by the Horizontal Drugs Group. By the end of the year the plan should be adopted and should be part of the conclusions of the European Council. The next civil society forum will probably be held in 2009.
 
1. Directorate-General Freedom Security and Justice (2008) Civil society forum on drugs in the European Union, Brussels, 20–21 May 2008, Final Report. Retrieved on 21 August 2008 from
     http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/drugs/forum/docs/final_report_2008_en.pdf. For an account of the first meeting of the forum, see Randall N (2008) EU civil society forum on drugs. Drugnet Ireland, (25): 24.
2. The final report on the meeting states: ‘The current EU Treaty gives the Commission only a limited formal legal basis on drug policy and its chief role is to represent and defend the European interest. The Commission works through consensus building and consultation, acting mainly as a facilitator between member states. Civil society representatives have direct knowledge of the reality in their countries and they can provide the Commission with realistic and useful expertise to feed into the work on the new Action Plan on Drugs 2009–2012’ (p. 4).

 

Item Type
Article
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 27, Autumn 2008
Date
2008
Page Range
p. 23
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 27, Autumn 2008
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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