Drug consumption and trafficking and their harmful effects on health, urban security and social cohesion pose a significant challenge to European cities, which face evolving drug markets and new challenges in terms of sanctioning and countering such traffic.
Among the problems caused by consumption and trafficking at the local level are the fact that vulnerable groups tend to gather in deprived neighbourhoods, where risky behaviours in public spaces are also more prevalent. Other issues are the impact of new technologies on local drug trafficking, and conflicts and polarisation around drugs combined with stigmatisation and fear.
Since it was founded in 1987, Efus has been providing local elected officials and practitioners, in particular municipal health and security services, with a pan-European forum for exchange among peers on prevention and harm reduction policies as part of urban security.
The role of local and regional authorities
Efus considers that local and regional authorities play and must play an important role in drug policies because they are on the front line, facing local security and social cohesion issues linked to drug consumption and trafficking. There are many approaches to reduce risks linked to drugs and local and regional authorities are well placed to design multidisciplinary strategies to reduce such risks.
Efus advocates drug policies that are practical and geared towards reducing the risks caused by drug consumption on the health, social well-being and security of individuals, local communities and society. Such strategies should be designed based on the specific needs of each city and region and be easily adjustable to the rapidly evolving policies on and phenomenology of drugs.
In its 2017 Security, Democracy and Cities Manifesto, Efus says that ‘any public drug prevention policy should be based on the 2017-2020 European Action Plan on Drugs’. Efus members commit to ‘designing or strengthening local strategies […] to efficiently prevent substance abuse and reduce related nuisances as well as petty crime linked to trafficking’ and to ‘fighting against the stigmatisation and exclusion of drug users, while respecting their fundamental rights’.
In a resolution published in 2018, Efus supports supervised consumption rooms, which have shown ‘promising results in several European countries’.
European cooperation projects
Solidify on supervised consumption rooms (2018-2019)
Safer Drinking Scenes on binge drinking by young people in public spaces (Efus and French Forum for Urban Security, 2011-2013).
Urban security practices – drug abuse (Efus, 1998)
Discover the actions implemented in communities across Europe through our summary documents, which present the key elements of each of these initiatives, including their context, objectives, activities, budget, evaluation. All of our practice and summary sheets can be found on Efus Network.