On December 6th, 2013, activists for drug policy reform from all over Europe gathered in Brussels to adopt a manifest for safe and healthy drug policies. This manifest contains ten recommendations to the European council, that were made by the European Parliament in 2004. None of these have been implemented. With the following letter, Encod asked all candidates for the European Parliament elections on 22 to 25 May 2014 to sign this manifest and declare support to the recommendations.
MANIFEST FOR SAFE AND HEALTHY DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
As a candidate for the European Parliament elections in May 2014, I herewith declare my support to the following recommendations to the European Council, made in the Catania Report, approved by the European Parliament in December 2004:
1) propose measures totally different from those currently selected to achieve the overall EU Drugs Strategy objective, giving priority to protecting the lives and health of users of illicit substances, improving their well-being and protection;
2) establish minimum standards to improve the availability and effectiveness of intervention and rehabilitation measures based on best practices in the Member States, with the goal of reducing the impact of drug use on society;
3) lay much greater stress on harm reduction, information, prevention, care and attention to protecting the lives and health of people with problems caused by the use of illicit substances, and define measures to prevent them from being marginalized, rather than implementing repressive strategies which verge on and have frequently led to violations of human rights;
4) place emphasis on stepping up information measures, based on scientific knowledge about the consequences of various types of drugs;
5) define and step up the involvement and participation of consumers of illicit substances, civil society, NGOs and the general public in resolving drug-related problems and set up, on an experimental basis, easily accessible informal centers pursuing a regulation and a harm-reduction strategy;
6) Explore the possibility of promoting and safeguarding production for medical and scientific purposes of any illegal drug, and support the development of sustainable markets for legal products derived from plants covered by the 1961 Single Convention, such as coca leaf and hemp;
7) provide and ensure access to substitution and harm reduction programs, in particular in the prison environment;
8) increase research into the use of plants that are currently illegal or in a grey area, such as cannabis, opium or coca leaves, for medicinal applications, food security, sustainable agriculture, generation of alternative energy sources, substitution for tree- or oil-based products and other beneficial purposes;
9) revise the framework decision on drug trafficking to take into account the views expressed by Parliament, with due regard for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;
10) carry out a scientific study into the costs and benefits of current policies
for the control of narcotic substances including, in particular:
an analysis of cannabis and its various legal and illicit derivatives to assess their effects, their therapeutic potential, the results of criminalization policies and possible alternatives;
an analysis of the effectiveness of programs to distribute heroin under medical supervision for therapeutic purposes in terms of the objective of reducing drug-related diseases and deaths;
an analysis of the economic, legal, social and environmental costs of prohibition policies in terms of the human and financial resources required to enforce the law;
an analysis of the impact on non-member countries of current policies under both the EU Strategy and the global drug control system.
These recommendations, laid down in the Catania Report, are almost ten years old. None of them has been implemented.
Once elected in the European Parliament, I will regularly remind the EU authorities of their failure to implement what the European Parliament has recommended almost ten years ago. You can hold me accountable on my efforts to bring this situation under the attention of my colleagues on every possible occasion.