EU drug conference in Athens

European civic leaders call for a review of UN drug policy Failure of the "Global War on Drugs" requires more effective solutions.

In Athens, civic leaders from the European Drug Policy Fund's "Comité des Sages" met with high-ranking government officials and drug policy experts from European Union member countries at a conference on drug issues convened by the Greek EU Presidency. The "Comité des Sages", represented by Raymond Kendall, Honorary Secretary General of Interpol, assembles European civic leaders who advocate changes in the United Nations' drug policy framework. The "Comité des Sages" believes that there should be more emphasis on prevention and demand reduction.

A five years review of the failures and the successes of the global war on drugs will take place at a United Nations ministerial conference in Vienna on 15­17 April. With drug consumption on the increase virtually everywhere, European countries are expected to demand a review of this hard-line policy, to make more room for the flexible approach to drug abuse which, focusing on therapy and risk reduction, has been successfully tried in several European countries.

In his speech to the Athens meeting, Mr. Kendall criticised the failed "drug war" approach and called for "a healthy and constructive discussion" leading to "pragmatic and effective policies". In view of the urgent need for effective solutions to a problem which increasingly affects both industrial and developing nations, courageous political decisions need to be made.

The meeting was organized by the Senlis Council, a network of high profile academics, experts and NGOs, established by the European Drug Policy Fund to strengthen the role of civil society in drug policy and create a dialogue avoiding two-sided arguments and focusing on new idea.


Contact: European Drug Policy Fund / The Senlis Council ­ Emmanuel Reinert reinert@senliscouncil.net

Action PR ­ Athens ­ Eugenia Kassimeri eugenia.kassimeri@actionprgroup.com

The Skills Group ­ Pro & Co ­ Vienna ­ Paul Sills paul.sills@skillsproco.com