Home > Pompidou Group celebrates its first 30 years.

Pike, Brigid (2010) Pompidou Group celebrates its first 30 years. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 34, Summer 2010, p. 21.

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The Pompidou Group (PG) consists of 35 member states, including Ireland, which work together to develop drug policies to combat ilicit trafficking in drugs and drug abuse.  The PG was formed at the instigation of the French President Georges Pompidou in 1971, and incorporated into the Council of Europe in 1980.1 

In celebrating its first 30 years, the PG states that its unique contribution has been to provide the only forum of open discussion on the drugs issue that is not constrained by ideological or political considerations. Because of this, the PG has been able to develop and promote effective drug-related policies, i.e. policies that have actually reduced supply and demand. Among its achievements over the past three decades, the PG lists the following:
1.     The concepts of monitoring trans-national drug abuse and indicator development were introduced by the PG, and then taken over by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Methods to measure the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs were developed by the PG, and the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) is now an independent programme that serves governments in 51 countries as the principal data source in drug-use trends.
2.     Control of drug trafficking in civil aviation through co-operation between customs and law enforcement agencies across member states has been supported by the PG’s Airports Group, which regularly updates member states on the modus operandi of drug traffickers in civil aviation.
3.     The PG has sought to develop effective approaches to drug prevention. It compiled the Prevention Handbook for policy managers and practitioners, and school-based life-skills training modules developed by the PG are widely used in Europe.
4.     Effective involvement of civil society in reducing drug use and the associated negative social and health consequences owes much to two PG initiatives, the European Consultative Forum and the European Drug Prevention Prize, which have engaged young people, particularly those in at-risk groups, in preventing drug use among their peers.
5.     Targeted drug treatment policies leading to the re-integration of drug users into society have been the result of the PG’s integrated approach to linking policy with practice and research. Achievements include treatment as an alternative to prison, treatment standards for young drug users and women, drug addiction treatment in prisons, and principles and guidelines for reducing drug-related HIV/AIDS infections.
6.     The PG was the first body to develop and promote policies for effectively dealing with open drug scenes in cities. The significant reduction of open drug scenes in Europe over the past 15 years can be attributed to a great extent to the PG’s work.
7.     The PG is the only body to address ethical and human rights issues related to drug control policies. Attention to such issues has been identified by the International Narcotics Control Bureau (INCB) as key to effective implementation of drug policies. The PG has already provided member states with guidance on the conduct of drug screening.
8.     The MedNET network, which is supported by the PG, has made it possible to measure for the first time the scope of the drug problem in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon and has informed the development of drug strategies in these countries based on risk-reduction policies. Under MedNet the PG has organised training for medical staff in drug addiction treatment, including opiate substitution treatment taking into account the right to health of the drug user.
Looking to the future, the PG has announced its intention to concentrate on three main themes:
1.     involving target groups in developing, implementing and reviewing drug demand reduction policies,
2.     combining policy with research and practice in order to overcome barriers to policy implementation and increase efficiency and effectiveness, and
3.     bringing the human rights dimension to the forefront in tackling drug problems , and in particular,
-       the human rights and ethical aspects concerning vaccinations against cocaine use,
-       human rights as a key factor to better balance repression and prevention
-       the ethics of using developments in neuro-science to influence behaviour
-       the crucial role and added value of human rights in drug treatment and rehabilitation.
1.The Social Inclusion Unit of the Department of Health and Children is Ireland’s Permanent Correspondent to the Pompidou Group. For further information on the Pompidou Group, visit www.coe.int/t/dg3/pompidou/AboutUs/default_en.asp
Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Issue Title
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Page Range
p. 21
Health Research Board
Issue 34, Summer 2010
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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