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ERIT’s key concerns continue to be in relation to drug related deaths across Europe, reducing the level of new blood borne virus infections and concerns around the growing impact of psycho-stimulant use.

We have been in dialogue, with the European Commission on these issues and have also been involved in discussions with the Commission regarding engagement with Civil Society.

ERIT was represented at a conference in Brussels organised by the Commission in 2006 this led to the European Commission at the end of June 2006 to produce a Green Paper on dialogue with civil society on drug policy in Europe, asking for comments to be sent in before 30 September.

ERIT’s comments were submitted. ERIT’s response.

On 2 July 2007 European Commission published the comments it received on the Green Paper. At the same time, it announced a call for proposals to be included in a “Civil Society Forum on Drugs” that will consist of 30 representatives of European Civil Society who will be selected by the European Commission. ERIT submitted an application to be part of this forum and is awaiting the outcome.

ERIT is now represented on this forum which met for the first time in December 2007, a further meeting is planned for May 2008.

ERIT is also concerned with the wider global picture in relation to drugs and to this end is a member of the International Drug Policy Consortium(IDPC). ERIT was represented at recent meeting Lisbon, September 2007 where discussion took place on the United Nations drug strategy and the process of review. The UN has held regional consultations with NGO across the world to develop a beyond 2008 programme ERIT participated in the Budapest meeting. A summary of the regional discussions is available.

Drugs policy: civil society can play a key role say MEPs

In April 2008 the European Parliament adopted a report on the Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union.

The report concluded

‘that civil society has an essential role to play in promoting the emergence, definition, implementation, assessment and monitoring of drug policies’.

And went on to say that

‘With its experience gained at grass-roots level, its innovative capacity and its potential in terms of the exchange of information and sound practices, civil society can bring significant added value to planned measures. However, in order to do so, civil society must be recognised and supported in both its internal and external dimensions’.

The report was adopted with 600 votes in favour, 35 against and 32 abstentions.

More details can be found here.