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The FDFE - A Model For Success

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Rue de la Loi, 91 1040 Brussels - Belgium Tel.: +32 (0)2 280 4049 E-mail: info@fdfe.eu Website: www.fdfe.org

EU DRUGS POLICY AND THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY

A submission for the Green paper on the role of Civil Society in Drugs Policy A submission for the Green paper on the role of Civil Society in Drugs Policy A submission for the Green paper on the role of Civil Society in Drugs Policy A submission for the Green paper on the role of Civil Society in Drugs Policy

in the Europe in the Europe in the Europe

in the European Unionan Unionan Union an Union

September 2006

1. Introduction

FDFE is a registered NGO concerned with achieving a drug-free Europe. This fundamental intention arises because, whilst it is provably clear that by far the vast majority of EU citizens desire and expect a drug-free society, that goal is not only yet to be achieved, but seems in fact, to be moving further away as a result of current failing policies in regard to both Prevention and Cure of addiction.

In fact it is also provably clear that the whole European drugs scene is awash with serious misinformation, false data and goals and practices which have more to do with vested interest commercial requirements than with the majority wishes of the populace.

The FDFE is registered in Sweden (likely the most successful anti-drug usage country in the world) has its main base of operation in Brussels and has chapters in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and networks with like-minded established and credible organisations throughout the EU and beyond.

The FDFE and its networking partners clearly conform to the concept of civil society as set out in your Green Paper, and the FDFE is able to speak on behalf of its own members and chapters, whilst our networking partners are fully qualified to also speak directly to the EC and other governmental organisations – both local and national.

2. A proposal for a structure for a Forum on Drugs between the EC and the Civil Society

At the FDFE we feel it is more than vital to ensure that the relationship of the Civil Society to the European Commission is from the outset carefully protected from any lobbying, PR activities or other overt or covert manipulation by commercial or power orientated interests, and that to achieve this Civil Society’s relationship with the EC must be based solely and fully upon the majority requirements of the EU electorate.

Our own investigations reveal that there are three main EU citizen viewpoints and requirements extant:

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1. The policy requirements of those already committed by dependency or addiction to regular drug usage on a voluntarily or involuntarily basis, (an estimated 20%), 2. The requirements of those of a liberal disposition who feel that as a matter of

principle there should be freedom for citizens to decide on an individual personal basis about whether or not they will use drugs, (an estimated 10 to 15%), and, 3. The needs of those who, like our Foundation consider, because of the vicious

nature of drug addiction and its impingement on all aspect of all our lives, that our elected representatives should be pursuing policies which continuously strive in every possible way to deliver a drug-free society, (an estimated 65 to 70%).

We therefore feel it to be essential that any forum which meets to communicate the views of these three groups to the Commission must be democratically representative of these three viewpoints in strict relation to the proportion of EU citizens of voting age who support each of them. In addition, we see it as equally essential that organisations commercially or professionally concerned with the importing, manufacture, supply, prescription, sale, distribution or dispensing of any addictive substance – illegal, legal, licensed or otherwise – should not be allowed to participate in such a forum or to be involved with such communications.

Our view is that there should be a non-commercial “Drugs NGO Forum” (not unlike that of the UNODC in Vienna) which meets every 2 or 3 months to advise the EC and to receive EC progress reports on the “state of the nation” in drug policy terms.

To observe the democratic basis of the Forum its membership should be directly related to the estimated viewpoint support given in the first two paragraphs of this Section 2., and for the sake of impartiality, such a forum we believe is best chaired by the EC itself.

3. Thematic linking of existing networks

In addition, “Drugs NGO Forum” should have three thematic sub-committees as follows: • The drug users and addicts’ sub-committee, (4 or 8 members)

• The de-criminalisers, liberalisers and legalisers sub-committee, (3 or 6 members), and,

• The abstainers, non-users drug-free sub-committee, (13 or 26 members).

These sub-committees together will comprise the 20 or 40 member Forum, and each of these sub-committees will be expected to prepare and formalise policy resolutions advocating their themes / viewpoints for consideration by the whole Forum, who will vote on their adoption, amendment, rejection or otherwise.

Any adopted proposals would then be submitted by the Forum to the Commission as a Civil Society advisory communication on policy formulation.

4. What resources and support for the EC

The FDFE is a large NGO network with considerable practical experience in both “Drug Prevention Training” and “Addiction Recovery Training and Rehabilitation” across over 40

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countries and a similar number of years, and we would be happy to place our knowledge and training facilities at the disposal of the EC and the EU in whatever manner you may consider appropriate.

We consider that any endeavours supported by government should be result based and capable of being statistically measured against agreed goals, and the first step towards this is to clearly define what is needed and wanted.

Any truly workable method of drug recovery training and rehabilitation must start with an unambiguous definition of an effective result, and the FDFE holds that the only logical and compassionate goal for treatment is "lifelong comfortable abstinence", and practical experience has shown the best working definition of this to be:

a fully employable former addict or user who:

i) since completing the ‘training for recovery’ programme has not used his or her

original addictive substance(s) for a period significantly in excess of twelve months,

ii) who remains fully convinced that he or she will comfortably abstain for life,

iii) who has not replaced such earlier usage with another addictive substance,

iv) who is now taking responsibility for his or her own life and family,

v) who no longer needs or wants further rehabilitative support, and, who

vi) is now also taking responsibility for, and is contributing to, his or her community.

Equally, in the Drug Prevention Training field, we avoid the irrelevance of so-called ‘harm reduction’ drugs education which, by definition, was designed to be applied to existing drug users so as to reduce the harm to themselves arising from their usage. It is self-evident that one cannot reduce the harm to a person of a substance which that person is not using, because a youngster who is already abstinent clearly cannot be harmed by a drug he or she is not taking. A youngster being trained to avoid drugs is quite obviously already abstinent, and we therefore successfully seek to preserve that abstinence with prevention training.

_____________________________

The above sets out our ideas for developing dialogue between the Commission and Civil Society. Our proposal for thematic participation in a “Drugs NGO Forum” directly inter-faced with the EC via its chairing of the Forum, we believe answers the questions posed by the Green paper, as it couples the “forum” and the “thematic” concepts together in a totally democratic and highly workable manner which renders these two concepts complimentary to each other.

Furthermore, FDFE confirms that our organisation and we believe also those of our networking partners will be fully willing to participate in a structured dialogue with the Commission, as well as in the provision of resources and support as laid out above.

5. Some FDFE contributions to date:

The FDFE has been formed with the firm purpose of preventing and stopping debilitating drug use by educating non-users concerning the harmful effects that drugs can inflict

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upon the body, mind and personality, and by finding and directing existing users to programmes which can help them achieve comfortable abstinence for life.

To achieve the goal of a drug-free Europe, the Foundation collaborates with local, national and international institutions as well as effective rehabilitation programmes which also use drug-free methods and carry out positive prevention education campaigns. We know from experience that joining forces with like-minded groups and developing positive open co-operation and solidarity with others makes the difference.

The Foundation aims:

• to work within democratic, open and transparent procedures of communication, decision making and accountability in order to find and execute solutions to the drug problem and help create drug free European societies;

• to monitor the development and implementation of European legislation, as well national legislation, and to debate and talk about it, in public lectures, in writing or to the general public through mass media;

• to create and put into action drug prevention projects and campaign which will be presented to governments, institutions and the public to develop mutual support for it;

• to develop further our cycles of conferences, round tables or other public debates, focused and built around the different aspects of drug usage in Europe, and how a drug-free society can be increasingly achieved;

• to collaborate with like-minded groups and organizations, sharing the same purposes, in the different projects or campaigns the Foundation will conduct; • to pursue by any other legal mean the creation of a drug-free Europe; this is a

grass root demand in Europe that widely refuses the usage of drugs and the promotion of them, and fully recognize the danger that usage of all types of drugs carries for individuals and for society at large.

6. Some recent FDFE conferences

THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOC THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCTHE ROLE OF CIVIL SOC

THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGSIETY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGSIETY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS IETY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS

In recognition of the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and just two days after the European Council adopted the Drugs Action Plan for 2005-2008, experts from around Europe met in Brussels, to define concrete actions for making the plan a reality.

Brussels, June 2005 Brussels, June 2005Brussels, June 2005 Brussels, June 2005

Speakers:

Mrs. Katalin Szomor, a Hungarian drug expert, president of the PRADO Foundation

(Prostitution, AIDS and Drugs Prevention Organization), former Ministry of Health officer in charge of drug affairs (1984-2004) and National Drug Coordinator of Hungary (1991-1997).

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Dr. Diego Valeri, Pedagogue and expert on drug addiction, Vice President of the City Council of Cusano Milanino, Italy.

Mr. Jean-Luc Maxence, France, founder and longer-term director of the former DIDRO

Center (Documentation Information DROgue), an administrator of the CNID (Comité National d'Information sur la Drogue).

Dr. Mireille Vergucht, Flemish Platform against Drugs, spokesperson.

Mr. Peter Stoker, Director of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, UK.

Mr. Bo Persson, President of Narconon Europe, in Denmark

Mr. E. Kenneth Eckersley, FDFE Advisory Board Member former Magistrate and CEO

of CEPTA (Campaign for Effective Prevention & Treatment of Addiction)

HOW CIVIL SOCIETY CAN HELP MAKE THE HOW CIVIL SOCIETY CAN HELP MAKE THE HOW CIVIL SOCIETY CAN HELP MAKE THE

HOW CIVIL SOCIETY CAN HELP MAKE THE EU DRUGS ACTION PLAN A REALITYEU DRUGS ACTION PLAN A REALITYEU DRUGS ACTION PLAN A REALITYEU DRUGS ACTION PLAN A REALITY

Leading European Drug Experts warn against efforts to normalize the use of illegal drugs This is part of a series of conferences organized by the Foundation for a Drug-Free Europe to help unite members of civil society to forward government efforts in the fight against drugs.

Brussels Brussels Brussels

Brussels ---- October 12, 2005 October 12, 2005 October 12, 2005 October 12, 2005

Speakers:

Mr. Eduard Lintner, Member of the German Bundestag and former German Federal

Government Drugs Commissioner

Mr. David Raynes, Executive Councillor, UK National Drug Prevention Alliance

Mr. Torgny Peterson, former member of the Swedish government’s delegation to the

United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Illicit Drugs and Psychotic Substances

Mr. Bo Persson, President Narconon Europe.

FDFE CONFERENCE TO OBSERVE THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIO FDFE CONFERENCE TO OBSERVE THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIOFDFE CONFERENCE TO OBSERVE THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIO

FDFE CONFERENCE TO OBSERVE THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NAL DAY AGAINST NAL DAY AGAINST NAL DAY AGAINST DRUGS

DRUGSDRUGS DRUGS

Brussels Brussels Brussels

Brussels ---- June 26, 2006 June 26, 2006 June 26, 2006 June 26, 2006

Speakers:

Mr. E. Kenneth Eckersley, former Magistrate and CEO of CEPTA (Campaign for

Effective Prevention & Treatment of Addiction)

Mr. Geoffrey Davies, Chairman of trustees, National Drug Prevention Alliance (NDPA)

Mrs. Diana Coad, UK politician and founder of a British think tank, “Kids Count”

Mr. Ugo Ferrando, President of Narconon South Europe & Africa, an expanding network

of 20 drug rehabilitation and drug prevention centers from the United Kingdom to South Africa.

Mr. David A. Williams, author and senior consultant at Thames Valley University.

7. Conclusions

Whilst we are satisfied with the accuracy of our estimates of the size of the three democratically determined groups which represent the main European viewpoints on drugs, we believe that, as a first step, the Commission should confirm that accuracy by

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carrying out its own survey of the EU electorate using an independent professional demographical research agency.

Our Foundation would naturally be willing to play a leading part in the formation and operation of the “abstainers, non-users drug-free sub-committee”, and we would anticipate that there would be little difficulty in organising and recruiting the “drug users and addicts committee”, and the “de-criminalisers, liberalisers and legalisers sub-committee”, and, if the EC so wished, we are sufficiently acquainted with the European drug scene to be able to direct the EC to the sorts of organisations likely to be most appropriate for those other sub-committees from a Commission point of view.

Contact information

Foundation for a Drug Foundation for a DrugFoundation for a Drug

Foundation for a Drug----Free EuropeFree EuropeFree EuropeFree Europe Rue de la Loi, 91 1040 Brussels Belgium Tel.: +32 (0)2 280 4049 E-mail: info@fdfe.eu Website: www.fdfe.org

References

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