By Peter Sarosi
The Civil Society Forum on Drugs, an expert group of the EU Commission, is urging the Commission to provide adequate funding and staff to drug coordination and support demand and harm reduction interventions.
The European Commission is preparing the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to define budget priorities for the post-2020 period. There are many concerned civil society voices warning us that EU decision makers would like to deprioritise social and health programs while there is a growing focus on security, border control and migration issues. Drug policy is a multidisciplinary field that has strong connections to both security and health policies – and its health and social elements are often left out of consideration. The drugs unit of the European Commission, that coordinates work in this area, has been renamed the Organised Crime and Drugs Policy Unit and is seriously underfunded and understaffed. This is a significant obstacle to the strengthening of coordination efforts in the implementation of the European Union Drug Strategy and the newly adopted Action Plan for 2017-2020, an example of pragmatism, humanism, and evidence-based policies unique in the world.
The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD), an expert group of the European Commission, has sent a letter to the Commission recommending to strengthen drug coordination in the administrative structure of the European Commission, by providing adequate funding and staff to this issue. We also urge the Commission to prioritise social and public health interventions to reduce drug demand and drug-related harms in the new MFF. You can read the text of the letter below.