Civil Society Involvement in Drug Policy
Drug related health risks and social problems are major concerns in Europe. Civil society organisations (CSO), working for and with drug users play a vital role in implementing effective measures to tackle negative consequences of drug use, because they directly work for and with the drug users and face the problems daily.
This is acknowledged by many major agencies and political institutions (e.g.: ‘WHO – the role of civil society in health’, ‘EU Drug Strategy 2012’, ‘EC green paper 2006’). At the UN level, the UNGASS process offers an important opportunity for civil society in Europe to unite around a shared goal and to shape the European voice and position on drugs. The Lisbon Treaty outlined the principle of involving citizens, in public dialogue. The European Commission reflected these recommendations by creating the Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS (2005) and the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (2006), which aim to support policy development and implementation through practical advice.
Despite of this European acknowledgement, the civil society involvement (CSI) in drug strategies in the European countries is low. In some countries CSOs are consulted on an informal basis, however in most countries the involvement of CSOs is very ad hoc and fragmented, if any.
This leads to a mismatch between policy and practice, due to the large distance between policy makers and the field and the rapidly changing environment (new drugs appear weekly). Combined with a lack of knowledge and structures within CSOs on how to get meaningfully involved in policy making, lack of cooperation between CSOs (national and European level) and a lack on awareness of the positive effects of CSI among policy makers, a European approach for tackling this problem is needed.
- Ana Liffey also provides the chair of the civil society working group in the current CSF on Drugs.
- Lila provided the co-chair of the Civil society Forum on HIV/AIDS.
- European Civil Society Forum on Drugs
- European Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS
- International Drug Policy Consortium
- Harm Reduction International (European Harm Reduction Network),
- European Network of People Who Use Drugs
- European AIDS Treatment Group
Civil Society Involvement in Drug Policy (CSIDP)
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"This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Migration and Home Affairs Programme of the European Union (Home/2015/JDRU/AG/DRUG/8842). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Correlation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission"