Encod will participate in the fifth Civil Society Forum on Drug Policies in the EU
Brussels, Residence Palace, Rue de la loi 155, B- 1040 Brussels
Introduction to discussion on Alternative Drug Control Systems
The central question is how drugs can best be regulated. The first question that we face is how the debate on this issue can best be structured and conducted.
Many debates have been held on this subject and invariably they are structured in such a way that many questions are touched upon shortly; and theoretical assumptions, moral judgments and statistical data are presented in an unstructured way. The debate jumps from one theme to the next; and at the end most of those present are convinced even more strongly of their own right judgment.
The challenge is to start a more productive debate, which will do justice to the importance and complexity of the subject. This debate should be conducted in a rational and scientifically informed way, and it should also give room to the strong emotional and moral value of this problem.
The drugs phenomenon has not only medical and criminological aspects, but also social, cultural, psychological, legal, economic, moral, educational and still other aspects. They must all be reckoned with, but for the decision on the optimal system of regulation, these aspects do not all have equal weight. Certainly discussion will be needed on questions such as: How deep do we have to delve into the different areas? And: Is there a hierarchy in the importance of the fields of study, and of the arguments?
My proposal is to start a discussion on these questions during the first of the four parallel sessions, and to decide on the structure of the debate before the end of the second session. That way, we will have two more sessions for the debate itself during the second day of the meeting.
Probably, on some of the issues the opinions within the CSF will remain divided. However, the procedure should provide us with an opportunity to weigh the evidence and the arguments, and to attain transparency on the nature of the divided opinions and their backgrounds. Are they based on different epidemiological data? On different definitions of purpose for drug policy? On different values and ideological positions?
In this memo I didn´t repeat the argumentation for or against studying ADCS (Alternative Drug Control Systems). See therefore “Time to Discuss the Alternatives”, [ENCOD Bulletin nr 67 September 2010
Frederik Polak, president of ENCOD