Street action in Bulgaria: Count the costs!

8 December 2011

European Drug Policy Initiative, December 12 2011, by Anna Lyubenova

Initiative for Health, a harm reduction NGO, organized the first street action in Bulgaria to promote drug policy reform. The event was part of a coordinated international advocacy campaign of the European Drug Policy Initiative - please read the report of our Bulgarian partner!

The campaign of the EDPI is dedicated to the promotion of the Prague Declaration and the Count the Costs campaign. The street action in Sofia raised awareness on other important documents (Vienna Declaration, Global Commission’s report, etc.) in support of a human rights and public health oriented drug policy as well. Unfortunately this issue has not got enough public attention in Bulgaria in the past - but times are changing!

The street action took place in the metro subway next to Sofia University, which is an extremely crowded public place. We placed a stand with shades “Count the Costs”, put a TV screen and broadcasted the HCLU films “Prague Declaration”, “Count the Costs” and the four films of drug lords thanking UN for the drug prohibition. A team of 10 people, team members of Initiative for Health, distributed leaflets and talked to people passing by. We also distributed Bulgarian language copies of the Prague Declaration, Vienna Declaration and a summary of the Global Commission’s report. We distributed 500 leaflets, which was an underestimation, because we reached far more people and the leaflets weren’t sufficient.

The response from people – surprisingly – was quite positive. Some of them were just understanding the problem and expressing their support, but there were many, who instantly wanted to join, to sign, to support. That is why, two days later we launched an online petition for the change of the drug policy and it is already collecting supporters.

Unfortunately there was no response from media, because at the same time the country was flooded by strikes and protests of different social groups and the media space was occupied. Still we think that the action was a very good start and it will perfectly fit into some other drug policy activities that we plan in the next few months.

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