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Transatlantic Conference Brussels, November 12, 2013 “Time to Rethink our Policy on Drugs - Experiences from Europe and the Americas” Pave l Bem, MD. National Drug Commission, Czech Republic Global Commission on Drug Policy. „ Opportunities and risks stay so close together…“.

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Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Transatlantic Conference

Brussels, November 12, 2013

“Time to Rethink our Policy on Drugs -

Experiences from Europe and the Americas”

Pavel Bem, MD.

National Drug Commission, Czech Republic

Global Commission on Drug Policy


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

„Opportunities and risks

stay so close together…“


50 years of world s experience of combating illicit drugs

50 Years of World’s Experience of Combating Illicit Drugs

  • International cooperation in supply reduction

  • Crop eradication

  • Policies based on balanced approach between repression and prevention

  • Role of primary prevention/health education

  • Treatment and rehabilitation

  • Focus at urban policies


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

50 years of wishful thinking


Negative results supply reduction failed

Negative Results:Supply reduction failed

  • Supply of illicit opioids has increased 400% in last 30 years

  • 75% decrease of heroin black market price

  • 900% increase in heroin purity

  • US budget increase in war on drugs: 600%

    (United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, 2010)

    No effect on supply reduction side


Negative results balanced drug policies failed

Negative Results:”Balanced” drug policies failed

  • Drug policy “driven” HIV epidemics, mortality

  • Policy “driven” HCV epidemics, morbidity

  • Missing balance in total expenditures: “supply vs. demand”

    80% vs. 20%

  • Failure in assessment of evidence based approach

    20% vs. 80%

  • Failure of national as well as supranational organizations in effective response

    Unintended negative consequences


Mustang ghar ghiling gompa 9 1 0 th cent

Mustang: Ghar, Ghiling Gompa, 9-10th cent.

“Unintended negative consequences”:

Overall cost is to high…


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

BUT…

We act only on the “surface” of the problem…


Positive results demand and harm reduction works

Positive Results:Demand and harm reduction works

  • Reducing HIV prevalence among PDU’s

  • Reducing HCV prevalence among PDU’s

  • Reducing hidden population of PDU’s

  • Reducing mortality among PDU’s

  • Reducing morbidity among PDU’s

  • Reducing not only public health risks, but overall social and economic costs


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

The need for paradigm change

  • Acceptance of failures

  • Understanding of best practices

  • The role of supranational authorities:

    Active leadership

    (Latin America + Europe…)

    l


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

The need for paradigm change

  • Prague: case study

  • Czech experience

  • Global Commission on Drug Policy


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Prague Drug Policy Design

  • Pragmatic approach

  • Realistic attitude

  • Data based design

  • Balanced policy and measurable outcomes


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Prague Drug Policy Design

  • Balance between public health and safety

  • Economy driven drug policy

  • Evidence based interventions

  • Police does it’s job on drug supply side

  • Demand and harm reduction services

  • Measurable outcomes (HIV, HCV, morbidity)


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Prague Drug Policy Design

  • Availability of needles and syringes

  • Availability of services + outreach

  • Methadone + Buprenorphine + …

  • Non-punitive legal framework (possession is not legal offence)


Hiv prevalence among iuds in europe

HIV prevalence among IUDs in Europe


Drug overdoses eu countries

Drug Overdoses–EU Countries


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Where are the benefits?

  • Low proportion of hidden population (< 30%)

  • Low mortality rate

  • Low prevalence of HIV among PDU’s-IVDU

  • Manageable morbidity rates

  • Manageable dynamics

  • Reduced public health risks

  • Acceptable economic and social costs

14


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

BUT…


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

We behave in simplistic way with no respect to human diversity and human rights (Papua, 2003)


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

New Penal Code: 1998

Penalizing possession

Czech Republic case study


Pad impact analysis project of the new drug legislation

PAD: Impact Analysis Project of the New Drug Legislation

Complex Cost and Benefit Analysis

(5 major studies and 20 sub studies):

1. Secondary analysis of school surveys

2. Prevalence study of problem drug use in the CR

3. Economic and social cost of illegal drug use in the CR

4. Qualitative study among illicit drug users

5. Cost and benefit analysis of the implementation of

penalization of possession of illicit drugs for

personal use


Research methodology

Research Methodology

  • Combination of quantitative and qualitative methods

  • Measuring the direct as well as indirect costs

  • Interdisciplinary research team

  • Supervised by Florida State University, School of Criminal Justice

  • Granted by the National Drug Commission


Main hypothesis

Main Hypothesis

  • 1. Availability of Illicit Drugs Will Decrease

  • 2. Use of Illicit Drugs Will Decrease

  • 3. Incidence of Illicit Drug Use Will Decrease

  • 4. Negative Health Indicators Will Not

    Increase

  • 5. Social Costs Related to Drug Abuse Will

    Not Increase After Introduction of a

    Penalty of Possession for Personal Use


Results

Results

  • All hypothesis were rejected in 3 years study

  • No positive impact of the criminalization law at all

    Lead to Decriminalization Act 2008

  • Evidence based additional costs for public budgets


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

RecommendationsPrague Declaration, 20091.No size fits all2.Realism is the key3.Human rights apply to ill people in particular4.Public health and public safety concerns must not be seen as contradictory5.Evidence based decision only6.Evaluation and monitoring7.Constant and improving mutual information flow


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Drug Policies at Crossroad

Conclusions:

1.War on drugs has failed:Need for “rebalancing action” in drug policies design


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Drug Policies at Crossroad

Conclusions:

2.Need for wider implementation of cost effective public health measures:Harm reduction services especially at areas of high risk


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Drug Policies at Crossroad

Conclusions:

3.Decriminalization of drug possession and drug consumption worldwide


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

Drug Policies at Crossroad

Conclusions:

4.Reallocation of drug budget priorities


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

The need for paradigm change

  • Growing awareness internationally

    (Global Commission on Drug Policy: former presidents, prime ministers, UN officials, intellectuals…)

  • Vienna high level meeting: CND 2014

    (EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016, action #5]

  • UNGASS 2016


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

“Wishful thinking” is still prevailing among many politicians, decision makers as well as media


Transatlantic conference brussels november 12 2013 time to rethink our policy on drugs

www.globalcommissionondrugs.orgwww.vlada.czwww.cadap.eu www.praguedeclaration.comkThank you for your attention


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