Statement of ENCOD to drug policy authorities in the European Union
Drug Policy Coordination Unit (European Commission)
Members of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament
Antwerpen, 23 October 2012
In the coming weeks, a new drug strategy for the European Union will be approved. Earlier this year, the so-called Civil Society Forum issued a majority recommendation on harm reduction which we as European coalition of citizens affected and concerned by drug policies could not sign due to reasons unrelated to the issue of harm reduction.
Therefore we find it important to stress our support to Harm Reduction measures in the new EU strategy and we would like to share with you the following recommendations for policy-makers that were made during our General Assembly meeting held in Antwerp on 22 – 24 June 2012.
– The establishment of an EU directive or policy requiring all Needle and Syringe Provision and Opiate Substitution Therapy services in EU prisons to be provided according to standardized operational policy, procedure and eligibility guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (ECMDDA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
We strongly recommend that all health care related services to be of equal standards both inside and outside correctional facilities.
– The drafting of legislature or policy prohibiting law enforcement from confiscating personal drug supplies, preventing access to harm reduction services and harassing individuals seeking such services.
The on-going harassment and preventing access to the provision of legal life saving services by law enforcement must stop and any law enforcement member caught and/or identified must be subject to legal consequences, fines or imprisonment. This is an outright infringement on human rights.
– The development of a mandatory EU directive or policy requiring harm reduction and HIV prevention programs to remain funded to achieve maximum results in preventing infections.
Any decrease or discontinuation of funding for HIV, STI and viral hepatitis prevention services for drug users will increase infections and public spending for the treatments needed for those who needlessly became infected.
– The creation of Emergency Funding budgets for harm reduction/HIV prevention programs and NGO’s in countries or regions with documented high infection rates.
We are alarmed by the Global Fund discontinuing support for harm reduction programs in EU countries and protest the closing of harm reduction programs. We recommend the EU Commission, the European Parliament, as well as national governments and parliaments to establish emergency funding for operating funds for the next 3 years.
The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD) brings together 150 European organisations and citizens who believe that drug prohibition is an immoral, ineffective and counterproductive policy. We call for legal regulation of all drugs (in a similar status to alcohol and tobacco) as the only sensible and effective way to diminish drug-related problems, reduce organized crime and free up tax money for health, education and social programs. Please read our statement on the global EU drug strategy
We invite you to join us in making these polices a reality, whereby establishing on-going communication with key stake holders to discuss strategies and tasks including identifying other issues that are of mutual concern. We would greatly appreciate arranging a day and time to discuss ways we can work together. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.
ENCOD Steering Committee
Jan Vindheim Boyer