Greek NGO's require active role in shaping drug policy
In a letter to the Prime Minister of Greece, Greek NGOs require that their involvement in shaping drug policy must be formalized. The reason for the letter is related to the expected Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and Action Plan 2013-2016 that has to be proposed by the National Commission for Planning and Coordination.
The National Drugs Coordinator has recently stated in public meetings that the NGO’s will be asked to contribute in the process of shaping the new Drugs Strategy and Action Plan. But up to this moment there has not been any request to NGOs to submit their views. The NGOs have asked the National coordinator, in a letter, to inform them about the preparatory work of the National Commission and expressed their desire that the draft of the Strategy and Action Plan be subject of public consultation. The National Coordinator answered to the letter emphasizing that she considers civil society an important partner of dialogue with the Drugs Coordination office and is willing to develop cooperation at all levels. On the request of NGOs for public consultation and participation in the Committee for Coordination and Planning she states that «at this stage there is no provision for this in the law» and that she «will forward this request to the Inter-ministerial Commission, that is responsible for such a decision».
In their letter to the Prime Minister, who is the chair of the inter-ministerial commission, the NGO’s express their support to the proposal of the National Coordinator to forward their request to the Inter-ministerial Commission and emphasize that the omission in the law 4139/2013 on addictive substances to include NGO participation in the National Commission should be corrected. Diogenis Association, PRAKSIS, Positive Voice, Center for life, Association of people in treatment by OKANA and the Liver Patients Association "Prometheus" that sign the letter conclude: "We believe that our organizations who are service providers and deal systematically with Drug Policy should be involved in co-shaping drug policy from the outset and therefore be represented in the Planning and Coordination Committee of the National Strategic Plan. The Minister of Health who is responsible for the composition of the National Planning and Coordination Committee to Combat Drugs should include , by amendment, NGO representation in the Commission".
Read more: Letter to the National Coordinator, Reply of the National Coordinator (in Greek)
Read More: Letter to National Co-ordinator (in Greek)
Seminar in Sofia,Bulgaria 5-6 June 2014
Cooperation between law enforcement and social and health services in the field of drugs
On June 5 and 6 a seminar organized by the Association Diogenis as part of the program "New approaches and interventions in drug policy" took place in Sofia, Bulgaria The meeting was attended by about 25 people from the 10 countries of Southeast Europe, Germany and Cyprus. The seminar was co-hosted by the Center for the Study of Democracy that is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The theme of the meeting was about the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and service providers in the field of drugs. On behalf of law enforcement two initiatives have been presented: One about the cooperation between police and service providers to drug dependent people in the city of Frankfurt, Germany and another initiative about drug use prevention mainly by young people / teenagers in Nicosia, Cyprus. On behalf of service providers, practices have been presented about their services to drug users in their respective countries as well as about the attitude of the police towards users and the dialogue between service providers and the authorities in general.
The purpose of the seminar was to discuss innovative approaches about the cooperation between law enforcement authorities and service providers in order to achieve evidence-based, successful and effective prevention interventions in the field of drugs and especially in the prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases. The seminar was further aiming to make concrete proposals for effective collaboration and joint action programs between law enforcement and service providers in the countries of South Eastern Europe. The Association Diogenes will soon be publish the report of the meeting and will issue a briefing paper on the cooperation between law enforcement and social and health services in South Eastern Europe.
Report of the 11th Informal Drug Policy Dialogue, Athens, 24 and 25 January 2014
The eleventh Informal Drug Policy Dialogue, co-organized by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Diogenis Association, took place on 24th and 25th of January 2014 in Athens, Greece. Participants from Czech Republic, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the countries of Northern, Central and Southern America, United States of America, Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina attended the meeting. The Dialogue also included representatives from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Drugs Policy Unit European Commission and the Office of United Nations AIDS. The programme included five sessions: The first session looked at an overview of the national Greek drug policy and the drug situation in Greece, developments of drug policy in Greece; the second session was dedicated to the current state of affairs in Vienna: preparations for the CND high-level review and negotiations of the Joint Ministerial Statement; the third session discussed global cannabis policy developments; the control of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) was subject of discussion in the fourth session; and finally, in the fifth session, the road towards the upcoming UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS on drugs) in 2016 has been discussed.
Global drug use prevalence stable, says UNODC World Drug Report 2014
Drug use prevalence is stable around the world, according to the 2014 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with around 243 million individuals, or 5 per cent of the world's population aged 15-64 having used an illicit drug in 2012. Problem drug users meanwhile numbered about 27 million, roughly 0.6 per cent of the world's adult population, or 1 in every 200 people.
Τhe World Drug Report was launched in Vienna on June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, appealed for a stronger focus on the health and human rights of all drug users, but particularly those who inject drugs and are living with HIV. "There remain serious gaps in service provision. In recent years only one in six drug users globally has had access to or received drug dependence treatment services each year", he said, stressing that some 200,000 drug-related deaths had occurred in 2012.