Pompidou Group - Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs

Drug policy in prisons

On 2 July 2015, together with Pompidou Group consultants Heino STÖVER, Professor of Social Scientific Addiction Research (Frankfurt University of Applied Science), and Robert TELTZROW, lead expert in the implementation of the Group’s drugs in prison project, the Executive Secretary held an exchange of views on drug policy in custodial settings with the Council of Europe anti-torture watchdog, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). The CPT organises visits to places of detention (prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, social care homes), in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information. After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned setting out its findings and its recommendations with a view to improving the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. The CPT has addressed the management of substance use disorders in prisons in several of its visit reports.

  Anti-Drug Day, 26 June - Pompidou Group in action

Despite international efforts to prevent, treat and reduce risks related to drug use, Europe counts not less than 16,000 drug-related deaths per year, with opioids leading among the primary illicit drug of concern. On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking the Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, Jan Malinowski, reminds that the most vulnerable in society such as young people, people with mental illness, refugees, migrants and prisoners are the most likely to develop substance use disorders. In addition, meta-research conducted for the Pompidou Group shows that the prevalence of non-medical use of prescription drugs is particularly high among women. The Pompidou Group’s policy and praxis-oriented response to the drugs problem is four-pronged: Firstly, we promote drug treatment and rehabilitation policies that lead to the re-integration of drug users into society. A good example is our criminal justice and prisons programme that supports drug treatment and prevention programmes in prisons and consults governments on how to develop alternatives to imprisonment for drug dependent offenders. Secondly, we regularly work with customs officials and law enforcement worldwide to stem drug trafficking based on human right principles and rule of law. In regular meetings, we provide a platform for officials to assess the latest techniques that traffickers use to smuggle drugs – and methods to deter such techniques. Thirdly, we advocate for extending and improving harm reduction programmes such as syringe exchange programme and opiate substitution treatment (OST) in our member states which also include the northern African dimension and Israel. Finally, we aim to prevent problematic substance use through prevention campaigns. For instance, our widely acclaimed European Drug Prevention Prize will take place in 2015-2016 and involves young people from all of our member States. Being part of the Council of Europe, the Pompidou Group promotes human rights as the corner stone of developing comprehensive and balanced drug policies in Europe.

Georgian Ministers attend project launch in Tbilisi

Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Aleksandre Tabatadze, Deputy Minister of Education, Ms Lia Gigauri, and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, Mr Alessandro Savaris, as well as high –level representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Corrections and Ministry of Health attended the Alternatives to Imprisonment for Drug Dependent Offenders project launch and round table on 22 June in Tbilisi. During the event, participants discussed possible policy amendments which would allow the criminal justice system to send drug offenders to treatment and rehabilitation facilities instead of prisons. The round table has been organised by the Pompidou Group and was hosted by the Ministry of Justice. It is part of the regional project, ‘’Criminal Justice Responses to Drug Dependent Prisoners’’, within the CoE/EU Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF).
  Is drug policy a choice between a rat cage and a rat paradise?

Reflections by Jan Malinowski, Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, on the occasion of the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking - 26 June.

“If we are confronted with different décors for drug-prone stress, neglect and hopelessness, against a possible backdrop of trauma – should the response not address the root cause with empathy, understanding and human warmth (the stereotypical: confront drugs with hugs) rather than stigmatisation and punishment?”

The topic has been covered in different languages. See the links below:


Acknowledging and exploring the Pompidou Group activities

During their 76th meeting (27-28 May 2015), the Pompidou Group’s Permanent Correspondents welcomed the first vigorous steps in the implementation of the work programme adopted by the Group’s November 2014 Ministerial Conference, and decided to hold a symposium on the latest developments and trends in drug policy later this year. The Permanent Correspondents explored possible contributions to the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem that will be held in April 2016, which should revolve around human rights aspects of drug policy, harm reduction and health care, and cooperation with civil society. They welcomed the numerous activities within the MedNet project (involving Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian National Authority) and cooperation in Ukraine and South East Europe, particularly addressing treatment for substance use disorders in prison, and were apprised of the upcoming law enforcement supply reduction events, in particular the longstanding Airports Group that will hold its 30th annual meeting in June 2015. The ongoing review of the European Drug Prevention Prize revealed that it is considered valuable and prestigious. The Permanent Correspondents discussed the Pompidou Group’s next steps in respect of drug policies’ cost-effect analysis, gender and drugs, and possible work on gambling-drug co-morbidity. They also heard about drugs in the workplace as a burden for employers but also an opportunity for treatment and a possible occupational disease.

2015 Executive Training prepares ideas for UNGASS input!

“One of the best seminars we have ever had” concluded several participants when the 2015 Executive Training on Drug Policy was completed with its second module from 15 - 17 June in Bari, Italy. 40 participants and expert facilitators from 25 countries and the EMCDDA and UNODC worked together in an exercise of on-the-job-training and developed proposals for a Pompidou Group contribution to UNGASS 2016. The proposals developed highlight specific issues of existing imbalances in international drug policies and ways to rectify these. Ideas how to push for more evidence-based approaches and making better use of existing examples of best practice where identified as a second area of common European concern. Above all figures range of concrete proposals to move different human rights aspect forward in drug policy, among these:
• Strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances
• Improve access to and availability of essential medicines for medical and scientific purposes
• Consideration of alternative measures to detention, punishment and criminal sanction
The proposals will now be communicated to Permanent Correspondents for consideration and channeling into the UNGASS preparations.

Statistics reveal the lowest number of airport drug seizures

The Airports Group (Co-operation Group of Drug Control Services at European Airports and in General Aviation) holds its 30th annual meeting in Strasbourg from 16 - 18 June 2015. Organised by the Pompidou Group, the conference will convene 90 customs and law enforcement officers, representing 39 countries and nine international organisations to discuss drug trafficking trends, routes, and seizure protocols in airports throughout the world.
The 2014 Review of Drug Seizures at Airports, compiled by the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) at the request of the Pompidou Group will be presented during the meeting. With data from 40 countries, these new statistics reveal the lowest number of airport drug seizures, both on passengers and in airfreight, since 2012. Following this report, an international panel of professional experts and analysts will exchange information on new courier and baggage trends, effective use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) in customs control, the influence of organised crime on airport drug trafficking, controlled deliveries and, looking forward, explore new phenomena.
Bringing together drug enforcement practitioners from around the world, analysts from Europol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and others, and facilitated by the Pompidou Group, this 30th meeting of the Airports Group aims to review increasing threats and develop multidisciplinary strategies in combatting drug trafficking at airports.

 suite Find HERE statistical data on drug seizures in 40 countries.

suite ARCHIVES (2015)

2, Strasbourg
PG presentation on drugs in prisons at CPT plenary meeting

6-10, tbc
International Mission to Ukraine on PTSD

9-10, Kiev
Joint conference PG/UNOD/ State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine: “Effective response to HIV infections, AIDS, TB and other socially dangerous diseases in the penitentiary system of Ukraine”

suite Agenda 2015
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