On 6 and 7 October, EATG took part in the first meeting of the new EU CSF on Drugs (CSFD), which discussed amongst others the evaluation of the EMCDDA, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has had on service provisions, funding and sustainability of civil society work. The CSFD met with the EU Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG), a body composed of member states representative which is responsible for leading and managing the EU’s work on drugs. The meeting focused on the implementation of the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025, role of the CSFD and Drug-related deaths and how to best prevent them.
The Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE) presented on the situation with services for people who use drugs and drug strategies in the region in Southeastern Europe (SEE). CSFD speakers highlighted the role of civil society in the drug response and welcomed the inclusion of ‘peer involvement in treatment services’ in the EU Strategy and Action Plan. It was also stressed that people using drugs be engaged in research as equal partners. Concerns about inadequate funding for the CSFD project were raised.
In the discussion on drug-related deaths and how to prevent them, EATG’s representative Marios Atzemis stressed that drug related deaths are correlated to factors beyond the drug use itself, including lack of access to national health system due to stigma and discriminatory attitudes, untreated mental conditions, poverty, lack of proper hygiene due to homelessness and very hostile police behaviour. He concluded that drug related deaths are policy failures and that a high percentage of them are preventable.
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