Drug policy round table searched for ideas and solutions

NordAN with its Swedish member organisation WOCAD/KSAN organized last Thursday a special drug policy round table to map latest drug policy challenges and collect ideas for NordANs possible next steps in this area.

Since its launch in year 2000 NordAN has been working with both alcohol and drug policy but for several understandable reasons alcohol policy has always been the main priority.

In October 2009 in Helsinki at the General Assembly a NordAN Drug Policy Platform was adopted. Since then some member organisations have lacked a proper focus on drug related matters and Swedish women umbrella organisation WOCAD/KSAN wrote a motion to the 2013 General Assembly in Tallinn to add drug policy into NordANs action plan for 2014.

In January this year NordAN sent a questionnaire to its member organisations to establish the interests and activities that they have and are working with. Last weeks round table was another step to involve all interested parties and to plan future steps.

NordAN Secretary General Lauri Beekmann introduced some challenges that network is facing when it comes to working with drug policy issues and confirmed NordAN boards commitment to this work. He spoke briefly about the upcoming NordAN conference in Riga (October 11-12) that will involve also drug issues.

Round tables hostess General Manager of WOCAD/KSAN Leena Harake spoke about their networks interest in drug policy and shared drug related problems in connection with women´s work through 12 P-s covering for instance need for prevention, prison work, prostitution and the role that police should have. Leena spoke about serious challenges that the treatment and rehabilitation system is having in Sweden and other Nordic countries and stressed the work that their network is doing to bring attention to these problems and search for solutions.

EURAD´s (Europe Against Drugs) president Stig-Erik Sørheim gave a presentation about latest developments in drug policy and introduced their latest initative – Drug Policy Futures platform. It searches and offers alternatives to the discussion where choices that some claim to be only ones are war on drugs and legalisation. “Drug Policy Futures is a global platform for a new drug policy debate based on health. We reject the simple dichotomy between ”a war on drugs” on the one hand and ”legalization” on the other,” states platforms website.

In an open discussion round table participants shared their views and ideas how a Nordic-Baltic network could give added value to this important work both in its working region as well as in the European and global arena.