Amiens, France, November 2018 – Efus’ Executive Committee adopted a resolution on local drug policy, a topic on which it has been working for many years and has already passed several resolutions, during its latest meeting on 27-28 November in Amiens (FR).
In this text, Efus advocates Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities (SDCFs), “which have already brought promising results in several European countries.” Indeed, these schemes are based on a harm reduction strategy as advocated by Efus, who also promotes drug policies based on a balanced approach between prevention, repression and social cohesion, and on “solid cooperation between local, regional, national and international levels of government as well as law enforcement agencies and civil society.” Such an approach should “seek to reduce drug demand and supply while decreasing the harm caused to our societies by traffic and consumption.”
> The role of local and regional authorities
The resolution recalls the important role that local and regional authorities must play in drug policies because they are on the front line when there are local issues of security and social cohesion linked to trafficking and consumption. Efus recalls that the European Union sets in several strategic documents the way forward in a number of key topics such as international cooperation and reducing demand and offer, but that these principles are not sufficiently followed at the local level.
> Local multi-agency partnerships to reduce harms
Efus would like to see municipal services working on the one hand on public health and on the other on public security cooperating closely in order to combine and integrate both approaches.
Furthermore, drug policies should be pragmatic and implemented through wide local partnerships involving public authorities, police, health and education services, civil society organisations and drug users’ representatives. Local authorities are particularly well placed to coordinate and lead such co-production.
> Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms: a tool to improve urban security
Efus advocates Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms because “numerous local authorities member of Efus and beyond observe that [they] have proved to be efficient tools to locally improve public health and security.”
Local authorities can play a key role in accompanying such SCDFs and ensure that they are well managed and accepted by local communities, but they need support and advice. Furthermore, Efus believes national legislations should be adapted and based on evidence “so as to allow local governments to design the strategy that fits the needs and conditions in their territory.”
> Efus’ expertise in drug policies
Efus has been working for three decades on the issue of drugs and harm reduction and has acquired a unique expertise based on its members’ practices, its participation in several European projects, and its exchanges with the European Union and other international organisations.
From 2008 to 2011, Efus led the “Democracy, Cities and Drugs” European project, which resulted in a resolution adopted in Vienna (AT) in 2011. Efus’ principles and recommendations on this issue are also expressed in its Security, Democracy and Cities Manifesto adopted in 2017. In addition, Efus supports the Prague Declaration adopted in 2010 by European local authorities.
Furthermore, Efus has been a member of the European Union’s Civil Society Forum on Drugs since its creation, in 2007. This consultative body supports the European Commission in policy formulation and implementation through practical advice.