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Press release

Paris, 11 december 2018

European local elected representatives stand for a local drug policy based on the principles of harm reduction and support the implementation of Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities

The executive committee of the European forum for urban security (Efus), reunited on 27 and 28 November in Amiens, adopted a resolution for a local drug policy. Drug policies must take a balanced approach based in equal proportion on the principles of prevention, repression and social cohesion. They must be based on a solid cooperation between local, regional, national and international levels of government as well as law enforcement agencies and civil society and seek to reduce drug demand and supply while decreasing the harm caused to our societies by traffic and consumption. Local and regional authorities lay a particular emphasis on the development of integrated local harm reduction strategies as well as on the role of supervised drug consumption facilities (SDCFs), which have already brought promising results in several European countries.

The key role of local authorities dealing with drug addiction and uses
Traffic and consumption of licit and illicit drugs are highly significant and sensitive issues for urban security, public health and social cohesion at the local level. Local and regional authorities are at the forefront when it comes to tackling the issue but but do not have the means and the best possible conditions to do so. Cooperation with national and European levels of government remains too often underdeveloped. National legislations limit their options. Local authorities must be involved in policy making at European and international level. 
Efus wishes to reaffirm the key role of local authorities to develop counter-strategies and encourage them to realise the ambitions expressed by the European Union in the European Drug Strategy 2013-2020 and the relating EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020.

Local and regional multi-Agency partnerships to foster harm reduction
Local authorities are particularly well placed to coordinate and lead the co-production of policies. Drug policy have to combine public health and public security approaches. Municipal departments and services working on both fields must cooperate closely. A wide variety of stakeholders at the local level must be involved (police forces, the judicial system, civil society organisations, health service providers and the educational sector). Risk reduction policy must be designed with pragmatism: by taking into account the specific needs of each territory, by seeking the active participation of local residents end by protecting the fundamental rights of all concerned groups and individuals.

Supervised drug consumption facilities (SDCF) as a tool to promote urban security
For Efus, SDCFs have proved to be an effective tool to foster public health and public security at the local level for many Efus member municipalities and beyond. They help to prevent drug related deaths, the transmission of viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C, and reduce public nuisances. They also serve as a first step for highly marginalised populations to meet social and medical services. They do not not encourage drug use. Ideological debates around SDCFs are not helpful and should give way to thorough assessments of local needs and conditions for success as well as scientific evaluations of modes of operation and impacts.
Local authorities have a key role to play in accompanying SDCFs and ensuring their effective management and acceptance in the local community but need better support and advice on how to manage an SDCF as well as on how to monitor and assess their impact. National legislations should, where necessary, be adapted so as to allow local governments to design the strategy that fits the needs and conditions in their territory.
Efus is currently leading the european project « Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities to instill harm reduction and social cohesion at local level » (Solidify) focusing on assessing the impacts of the implementation and sustainability of the Drug Consumption Rooms in several European cities.


About the European forum for urban security (Efus) 

Founded in 1987 in Barcelona under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) is the only European network of local and regional authorities dedicated to urban security. Gathering some 250 local and regional authorities from 16 countries, its objectives are to:

  • promote a balanced vision of urban security combining prevention, sanction and social cohesion;
  • support local and regional authorities in the design, implementation and evaluation of their local security policy;
  • help local authorities get recognition for their role in the development and implementation of national and European policies.

Press contact: 

Eloïse Schollaert

01 40 64 49 12