By Agnieszka Sieniawska, Chairwoman of Polish Drug Policy Network
In Poland, as in other EU countries, it is in cities and urban settings that drug use is most concentrated and drug problems are most prevalent. Implementing evidence-based city-level policies which bring together multiple stakeholders is imperative for addressing drug-related challenges. The 2016 Urban Drug Policy Conference, organised in Warsaw by the Polish Drug Policy Network (PDPN), the National Office for Drug Prevention, and the City Hall of Warsaw, brought together many stakeholders from European cities, with the objective of sharing experience and best practice in urban drugs policies. Building on the 2010 Prague Declaration and new insights brought forth at the conference, it produced the Warsaw Declaration, as a key tool for implementing evidence-based drugs policies in European cities. The Declaration, which was promoted by the Polish government at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and UNGASS 2016, comprises ten concrete and action-oriented recommendations, summarised as:
- Policy responses should be coordinated, and decisions should be based on evidence and consultation with civil society.
- Cities should allow innovation in drug policy.
- Police should not target drug users, and should cooperate with health and social services.
- The human rights of drug users should be protected.
- A comprehensive menu of health and social services should be provided, including harm reduction.
- Cities should create regulations and guidelines on safe nightlife and partying.
- Local governments should allocate adequate and sustainable funding for services.
- Local communities should be educated, and forums for dialogue to resolve confilcts should be created.
- Local policies should be monitored and evaluated.
- Partnerships and networking should be established among European cities.
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