from Illicit Drug Markets Institute

Rome July, 25 - A special agreement between the Italian Government’s DPA (Drug Policy Department) and the US ONDCP was signed to foster cooperation between the two organisations. Therefore the agreement is likely to give more importance to the Italian experience on drug policy, which remains rather conservative, especially regarding harm reduction. Read more (in Italian).

Since the negotiations of the EU resolution in the lead up to the CND 2011, for example, the Italian Government has been challenging the European position on harm reduction. The policy paper presented by the Italian Government and entitled “Measures and concrete actions for the prevention of drug related diseases” attempted to narrow down the definition of harm reduction by excluding certain measures, such as pill testing, heroin assisted treatment and drug consumption rooms, as quoted in the addendum to the policy paper. This appears to be paradoxical, given that Italian Government had signed the 2005-2012 European Commission Drug Strategy where harm reduction is defined broadly, harm reduction interventions are clearly and comprehensively spelled out, and their implementation encouraged. Fortunately these services still have a good success in some Italian regions.

This is worrying because other important cooperation agreements developed between Italy and Serbia, Albania, Morocco and other counties of East Europe, Maghreb and the Mediterranean area are likely to be affected by the above US-Italian agreement.

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