Drugs related health and social harm, and drug related crime are perceived as a major concern by public opinion. Since the 1990's, a European model, based on a balanced and integrated approach to drugs has been developed. Action against drug supply, including the adoption of EU legal instruments to fight trafficking, and action on reducing demand and protecting health are equally important and mutually supportive. In implementing the EU Drugs Strategy for the period 2005-2012 and the Action Plan for 2005-2008, it is crucial that drugs policy continues to benefit from the ideas and experience of the many civil society organisations active in field. In a Green Paper adopted today, the European Commission proposes to formalise on a more permanent basis and to structure the dialogue between the EU and the wide range of organisations active in this field.
“It is vital to connect with citizens in order to reach the millions of Europeans - mostly young people - for whom taking drugs has become a normal recreational activity, to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, and to convince drug users across the EU that they are harming themselves and others, not only in our own societies, but also in more distant countries- in that context it is my objective”, says Franco Frattini, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, “to bring civil society organisations most directly concerned by the drugs problem more closely into the policy process at EU level."
Commissioner Kyprianou said: “We know that health policy can only be effective if it is informed and supported by those working in the field. This is why it is important to ensure the involvement of drug-related NGOs, which can only improve our policy focus and relevance.”
Based on the political approach defined at EU level and a long standing tradition of involving civil society in health policy, it is important to unite forces. Within the Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008, great emphasis is put on the dialogue with organisations from civil society. The Commission is presently consulting (until the end of September) the European organisations with a view to structure such a dialogue and place the specific experience and knowledge of these organisations at the disposal of the policy making process at EU level in a practical and sustainable form.
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