On 13 & 14 December 2007, the European Commission organised the
of a Civil Society Forum on Drug Policy in the European Union. This forum is meant to strengthen cooperation with civil society in the field of drug policy at EU level.
The forum is the outcome of a process that started in January 2006 with a Conference on Civil Society and Drugs in Brussels. Approximately 60 civil society representatives attended this event.
In June 2006, the European Commission published a
on the role of civil society in drug policy in the EU. Organisations representing citizens concerned by the drugs phenomenon were asked to produce comments to this Green Paper. The Commission received 56 responses of civil society organisations.
In July 2007, the Commission called for organisations
that wished to take part in the dialogue forum to send an application before 19 August. There were 75 respondents. On 31 October the Commission finally selected 26 organisations to take part in the first meeting of the forum. In the letter, the Commission promised to publish the list of all respondents to the call, but this did not happen. After many efforts to obtain the list, ENCOD finally obtained a copy early April 2008.
On 23 November, ENCOD wrote a public letter to the European Commission to ask for explanations about the reasons why organisations were selected and others not.
On 29 November we received a reply from the Commission on this letter.
On 13 December we presented a statement to the participants at the civil society forum.
The forum took place on 13 & 14 december. Here you can read ENCODs report on the forum.
On 31 January 2008 the European Parliament started the discussions on report concerning the Civil Society Forum.
On 11 March 2008 the European Commission announced a call for proposals for Civil Society organisations to obtain grants in order to participate in the dialogue on drug policies. ENCOD refused to apply for this grant, which it considers as an effort to buy the silence of citizens.
On 20 and 21 May 2008, the second session of the civil society forum will be organised in Brussels. ENCOD organises a consultation among its members concerning its role in this session.
Here is a list of the organisations that have been selected to the CSF, some information on their background, who they claim to represent and their earlier role in the consultation.
All the versions of this article:
The European Commission announced in the summary of replies it received on the Green Paper, that it will apply the following criteria for selecting applicants:
1. The organisation has to correspond to the concept of civil society as set out in the Green Paper:
“The associational life operating in the space between the state and the market, including individual participation, and the activities of non-governmental, voluntary and community organisations”
2. The organisation has to have its main base inside the EU, or in candidate countries
3. Priority will be given to organisations established in the form of transnational networks covering a number of Member States or candidate countries.
4. The organisation has to have drug-related activities as the core focus of its activities. Organisations covering directly different aspects (e.g. treatment, prevention) would be selected to ensure broad coverage of the drugs issue.
5. The organisation should have a clear track record of its activity.
6. The organisation should be recognised as being able to speak on behalf of those it claims to represent
The organisation must be legally registered in a Member State or candidate country, membership of the organisation must be open to those that fulfil transparent criteria and the organisation must be financially accountable.
Directly affected populations (drug users and their relatives): 3
Advocacy organisations (professional and voluntary): 4
Public health organisations: 17
Local authorities: 2
Local/Regional authorities: 2
NGOs operating locally: 2
National networks, NGOs operating nationally: 10
European/International networks: 12
For harm reduction in the current legal system: 19
For a drug free world: 4
For drug policy reform: 3
France, Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom: 3
Italy, Spain: 2
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia: 1
Interesting detail: of the 26 organisations selected to the forum, only 12 participated in last years’ consultation (Green Paper), and only 15 attended the Conference in January 2006.
1. A-Clinic Foundation, Finland
National health service agency
A-Clinic Foundation is the leading substance abuse service provider in Finland, with 19 outpatient and inpatient service units, and activities in the areas of prevention, training, research and information provision. The Foundation employs appr. 800 staff and has an annual turnover of EUR 38 million.
The Foundation receives funding for the provision of treatment services mainly from municipalities. Training, research and information activities are funded through national funding sources, such as Finland’s Slot Machine Association and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
A-Clinic Foundation represents its staff members (800), it is funded by municipalities and national funding sources, such as Finland’s Slot Machine Association and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
A - Clinic did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment on the Green Paper. It is a member of the Correlation network (see below), which is financed by the European Commission.
2. Association Française de Réduction des Risques, France
National association for the promotion and implementation of harm reduction policies.
AFR unites French organisations that work on harm reduction in the use of street and party drugs.
AFR represents 6 members, being French NGOs working on harm reduction: AIDES, ASUD, Médecins du Monde, RuptureS,
SOS Hépatites YOZ, Techno+
AFR assisted to the 2006 Conference but did not comment on the Green Paper.
3. EURASIAN HARM REDUCTION NETWORK, Lithuania
European network of organisations working in favour of harm reduction policies
EHRN is a network of organisations that share a unified ideology and employ a diversity of policies and approaches to reduce drug related harm. The function of the network lies in the support of efforts of regional and topic-driven sub-networks to address urgent issues.
EHRN represents 183 members, organisations and individuals working on harm reduction in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Asia.
EHRN assisted to the 2006 Conference, but did not comment on the Green Paper.
4. KENTHEA, Cyprus
National organisation working on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation.
Kenthea’s website is all in Greek It is a member of the European Centres on Drug Addiction, that work with the model of Therapeutic Communities (abstinence based)
It is unclear if Kenthea has any members.
Kenthea did not participate in the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green Paper, Kenthea suggested that civil society organisations should not primarily implement government policies, but conserve their independence.
5. CITYWIDE DRUGS CRISIS CAMPAIGN, Ireland
Local, Dublin-based association for a community development approach to drugs
CityWide works to promote and support a community development approach to the drugs problem - this means involving the people who are most affected by the problem in dealing with the problem - drug users, their families and communities.
It is unclear if Citywide has any members.
Citywide did not participate in the 2006 Conference. In its comments to the Green Paper, Citywide suggested that the dialogue be used to spread experiences of community based initiatives. According to Citywide repressive policies have not been helpful to solve the problems.
6. CIVIL ASSOCIATION PRIMA, Slovakia
National association for harm reduction and prevention.
No website found, only a reference in a document prepared by Slovak government for EMCDDA.
The PRIMA citizens’ association is active in the area of harm reduction and prevention in specific. groups of drug users, prostitutes, and the homeless.
It is unclear if PRIMA has any members.
PRIMA did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment on the Green Paper.
7. DEUTSCHE HAUPTSTELLE FÜR SUCHTFRAGE, Germany
National association for treatment of addictions.
The German Centre for Addction Issues (DHS), as a main representative of the associations active in addiction treatment in Germany, develops effective strategies to reduce the harmful consequences of alcohol and illicit drugs are a priority of our work.
DHS has 34 members, all organisations or platforms of organisations working on drug treatment in Germany (with different ideological orientations).
DHS assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comments to the Green Paper, DHS supports the idea of involving those most affected by drugs issues (among others organisations of(ex-)users) and facilitating access to the dialogue for a broad public through the Internet.
8. DRUG POLICY ACTION GROUP, Ireland
National lobby group for drug policy reform
DPAG aims to promote an approach to drug policy that challenges ineffective, unfair and counterproductive laws on drugs, and advocates for positive health and social service responses to drug use in Ireland. It also seeks to progress effective evidence based treatment models that engage drug users, families, and communities in the reversal of the harms associated with problem drug use.
DPAG has 25 members, individual persons living in Ireland.
DPAG did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment on the Green Paper.
9. DRUGSCOPE, United Kingdom
National information centre for harm reduction policies
DrugScope is the UK’s leading independent centre of information and expertise on drugs. Its aim is to inform policy development and reduce drug-related harms – to individuals, families and communities, provide quality drug information, promote effective responses to drug use, undertake research, advise on policy-making and good practice, encourage informed debate (particularly in the media) and speak for its members working in drug treatment, education and prevention and other areas.
DrugScope is a charity supported by a variety of organisations, including Government, trusts and sponsors. We rely on donations and grants to support our vital work.
DrugScope has 10 staff members, the board of trustees consists of 10 individual persons.
DRUGSCOPE assisted to the 2006 Conference, but did not comment on the Green Paper.
10. EURAD, Ireland
International network of organisations in favour of a drug-free world
Europe Against Drugs is a volunteer non-profit drug information network and advocacy organization that promotes the creation of healthy drug-free cultures in the world and opposes the legalization of drugs.
EURAD does not appear to have any members other than 3 individuals at the Executive Board and 2 individuals at the Scientific & Advisory Board. It has 28 affiliated organisations, which are not all based in Europe though.
EURAD assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green Paper, EURAD stated that drug users should not be allowed to the dialogue as they would probably not be able to hold a community and population based perspective.
11. ITACA, Italy
European network of professionals working in treatment
ITACA is a network of scientists, physicans, (psycho-)therapists, educators, prevention workers, and people working in the legal/penal system. It fosters open-minded collaboration and debate between people from different national and professional backgrounds in order to develop common strategies, techniques and good practice which are evidence based and protect human rights.
ITACA does not appear to have any members other than the 6 individuals at the Executive Board and 3 "national delegations".
ITACA assisted to the 2006 Conference. It did not comment on the Green Paper independently, but in a new created structure called European Alliance on Drug Policy and Practice., which offered themselves to be the co-ordinating body between the European Union and civil society.
12. EUROPEAN CENTRES FOR DRUG ADDICTION, Austria
European network of organisations working in treatment (therapeutic communities)
EURO TC has 23 member organizations from 7 European countries. All members are NGO and are working in the field of treatment of drug addicted people and prevention.
KENTHEA (CYPRUS) are a member of EURO TC
EURO TC did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment on the Green Paper independently, but in a new created structure called European Alliance on Drug Policy and Practice., which offered themselves to be the co-ordinating body between the European Union and civil society.
13. EUROPEAN CITIES AGAINST DRUGS, Sweden
European network of muncipal authorities in favour of a drug free world.
ECAD is a network of people working in municipalities who share the drug-free approach. Among others, ECAD wishes to increase repressive policies, give more facilities to police etc. ECAD member cities work to develop initiatives and efforts against drug abuse supporting the United Nations Conventions which oppose legalization and promote policies to eradicate drug abuse worldwide.
ECAD is a network of local authorities, disguised as civil society. All ECADs staff members work for the Stockholm city government.
ECAD assisted to the 2006 Conference. In their comment to the Green Paper, ECAD proposes the organisation of the dialogue in two blocks: one for those NGOs who support of the UN Conventions, one for all the rest. Then both blocks can present their arguments.
14. EUROPEAN COALITION FOR JUST AND EFFECTIVE DRUG POLICIES, Belgium
European network of citizens’associations in favour of drug policy reform
At least 7 out of the approx. 160 members of ENCOD applied to the civil society forum as well, but were all rejected. One of them received the informal answer from the Commission that this was due to their membership of ENCOD. However, other networks (Correlation and EURO TC) are represented both by the network and some of their members)
ENCOD (and 15 of its members) assisted to the 2006 Conference commented on the Green Paper by questioning the concrete form of the civil society forum, above all due to the lack of transparency and the top-down approach applied by the Commission.
15. IREFREA, Spain
European network of professional working in prevention.
IREFREA is a research institute created in 1988, it is now acting as a European network with 7 permanent offices and different research partners located in 13 European countries; it develops professional partnerships with European experts in the field of youth hardships, drug prevention and drug demand reduction. The main field of activity is: research, primary applied prevention, intervention programmes, theoretical and scientific study of risk factors and training workshops.
IREFREA has 7 members (individual persons) and 5 "collaborating partners". It is co-financed by the European Commission.
IREFREA assisted to the 2006 Conference. In their comments to the Green Paper, IREFREA expressed concern with the organisation of the dialogue with civil society forum, as the concept of civil society is difficult to define.
16. ERIT, United Kingdom
European network of professional health workers in favour of harm reduction
ERIT includes associations of professionals who work with problem drug users in countries across Europe. It promotes and encourages an ethical approach that considers people with drug problems as full members of society who deserve respect, dignity and appropriate care and support. ·
ERIT has 11 members, organisations working with drug treatment and prevention.
ERIT assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comment on the Green Paper ERIT warns against the danger of an ideological debate,, insists on the issue of social inclusion, mentions need for funding opportunities.
17. Federation of Therapeutic Communities of Central and Eastern Europe, POLAND
Central and Eastern European Network of organisations working in treatment (Therapeutic Communities)
FTCCE is committed and
involved in supporting and working with its members in Central and Eastern Europe, to help problem drug abusers, and their families reclaim a life free of drugs, where possible.
This organisation has similar goals to EURO TC. It has approx. 50 members, individual persons working in drug treatement centers or agencies.
FTCCE did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment to the Green Paper.
18. EUROPEAN FORUM FOR URBAN SAFETY, France
European network of local authorities working on urban safety.
EFUS aims to strengthen crime reduction policies and to promote the role of local authorities in national and European policies.
EFUS concentrates on all major issues in urban safety and security and we build up links between European local authorities through practices, information exchanges, cooperation and training.
EFUS is a network of local authorities (300 cities) disguised as civil society. Also it seems drugs is not a core issue of EFUS.
EFUS assisted to the 2006 Conference. It did not comment on the Green Paper independently, but in a new created structure called European Alliance on Drug Policy and Practice., which offered themselves to be the co-ordinating body between the European Union and civil society.
19. FOUNDATION FOR A DRUG FREE EUROPE, Sweden
European network of organisations for a drug free world
FDFE has been formed in March 2004 with the firm purpose of uniting and coordinate the efforts of members of civil society involved in the fight against drugs in Europe. Among the members, and internal and external expert advisors of the Foundation, are a diversity of people of different ideological, religious and cultural backgrounds, who have a shared goal of ridding society of the drug epidemic.
FDFE has an Advisory Board of 15 individual members.
FDFE assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green Paper, FDFE warned against the open character of the forum. It should be protected against the “legalisers”. Based on electoral reality, says FDFE, drug users and legalisers can only play a minority role in the discussion.
Interesting detail: The Foundation for a drug free Europe is an initiative of the Scientology Church. A recent judicial investigation in Belgium is now in the process of prosecuting Scientology.
20. AMOC / CORRELATION NETWORK, Netherlands
European network of NGOs and public agencies for inclusion in social and health policies
CORRELATION was set up thanks to a grant of the European Commission. Its goals are to improve access to services for drug users, sex workers and other marginalised groups of the population. They do this by evaluating and measuring the effectiveness of the provided services, by increasing the support and the consultation between policy makers, service providers and service users, gathering data and information on the different hard-to-reach groups and by making service providers aware of the peculiarity of the different groups, and by developing, implementing and measuring different methodologies.
Correlation does not appear to have any members. It operates more as a project, co-financed by the European Commission, and for each activity of this project it contacts people/organisations.
CORRELATION assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green paper, Correlation supports the idea of a dialogue, insists on inclusion of people directly affected by drug policies.
21. INTERNATIONAL HARM REDUCTION ASSOCIATION, United Kingdom
International network of professional working in harm reduction.
IHRA engages in a wide variety of work to promote harm reduction on a global basis. Its work aims to improve public health, protect human rights and reduce the individual and community impacts of psychoactive drug use. IHRA works with local, national, regional and international organisations and our activities include conferences, advocacy and campaigns, networks, and research.
It is unclear if IHRA has any members other than the 10 individuals on its Executive Committee and 9 staff members.
IHRA did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment to the Green paper.
22. PARSEC CONSORTIUM, Italy
Local NGO working on prevention and outreach.
PARSEC is a consortium of centers based in Rome that work in favour of disadvantaged people (youngsters, women, migrants) especially those with drug related problems, implementing prevention, rehabilitation and low threshold service centres.
PARSEC consists of 11 centers that provide day care.
PARSEC did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment on the Green Paper.
23. ROMANIAN HARM REDUCTION NETWORK, Romania
National network of organisations working in harm reduction.
ARAS promotes the improvement of services and reduction of risks associated to injecting drug use. It also produces regula information, implements research. It is financed by both public and private channels.
ARAS consists of 9 organisations in Romania. It is financed by governments (USAID, European Commission) and perivate sources (OSI)
ARAS assisted to the 2006 Conference but did not comment to the Green paper. They are a member of the EHRN (see above)
24. SENLIS COUNCIL, France
International drug policy think tank focussed on innovative analysis and proposals concerning drug policy.
Senlis Council’s work encompasses foreign policy, security, development and counter-narcotics policies. The extensive programme currently underway in Afghanistan focuses on global policy development in conjunction with field research to investigate the relationships between counter-narcotics, military, and development policies and their consequences on Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts.
Senlis Council does not appear to have any members other than its approx. 30 staff members. It is financed by one Swiss philantropist.
Senlis Council assisted to the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green Paper, Senlis Council suggests to give the dialogue a formal character, but expresses concern with the “competences” of civil society organisations, especially around the issue of the “supply reduction problem”.
25. UNION DE ASOCIACIONES Y ENTIDADES DE ATENCIÓN AL DROGODEPENDIENTE, Spain
National association of organisations working in treatment.
The UNAD unites approx. 250 centres in Spain that promote social and personal development of drug users, improve their quality of life and that of their surroundings.
UNAD did not participate in the 2006 Conference and did not comment to the Green Paper.
26. WOMENS ORGANIZATIONS COMMITTEE ON ALCOHOL AND DRUG ISSUES, Sweden
National association of women organisations.
KSAN is a platform of 31 member organisations working on alcohol, drug and tranquilizing medicines from a girls’ and women perspective.
KSAN did not participate in the 2006 Conference. In its comment to the Green Paper, KSAN expresses its support to an abstinence approach, but in socially oriented manner. It promotes the role of voluntary organisations and especially women in the dialogue.