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European Commission


New Approaches in Drug Policy & Interventions (NADPI)

Applicant: TransNational Institute (TNI)- The Netherlands

Partners: Forum Droghe (Italy), De Diogenis Association (Greece), International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)- UK

From the summary of the project

The project aims to strengthen the evidence base of European drug policy making by expanding the knowledge base and exchanging best practices on a number of key policy dilemmas related to demand reduction, prevention and harm reduction strategies.

The main thematic area of focus is the European stimulants market, specifically the development of dependence risk reduction strategies to prevent problematic cocaine use patterns and the development of policy responses to better manage changes in the stimulants market occurring due to the appearance of new psychoactive substances. Other important themes include the changing landscape of EU drug policy making following the Lisbon treaty, options to redefine the role of law enforcement in synergy with a health and harm reduction policy framework, and the costs and benefits of existing and potential future cannabis regulation models.

The body of the proposed two-year work plan for 2013 and 2014 consists of the elaboration of guidelines for cocaine abuse prevention (worktream 1) and a series of seven expert seminars (workstream 2) and four informal drug policy dialogues (workstream 3).

The expert seminars will address the following topics:

–        1- EU drug policy after the Lisbon Treaty and the EU drug strategy

–        2- Developments and trends in drug legislation in South East Europe

–        3- Costs and benefits of cannabis regulation models in Europe

–        4- Policy responsesto changing markets of new psychoactive substances and mild stimulants

–        5-Global experiences with harm reduction measures for stimulants and new psychoactive substances

–        6- Law enforcement in health and social programmes in South East Europe

–        7- Best practices and innovative approaches in law enforcement strategies against drug trafficking

The informal drug policy dialogues consist in two Europe-wide and two South East dialogues:

The issue of the first Europe wide dialogue will be EU drug policy making after the Lisbon treaty, incorporating the outcomes of the expert seminar 1. The agenda of the second Europe wide dialogue will incorporate the outcomes of the expert seminars on key policy issues such as harm reduction responses to new psychoactive substances, cannabis regulation models or revising law enforcement strategies.

Workstream 1: Innovative cocaine and polydrug abuse prevention programme

Coordinator: Forum Droghe (Italy)

Associated partner: CVO-Addiction Research Centre (NL); Scottish Drug Forum (UK); VEZA (SRB); RHRN – Romanian  harm Reduction network (RO);  HOPS (MK); State University of Florence (IT); CNCA Toscana (IT); CoopLotta (IT)


A significant body of research on regular cocaine use in “natural settings” shows a variability in patterns, as well as in trajectories of drug use. Though most of these users go through “peak” periods of intensive use, only a minority of them “escalates” towards permanent intensive patterns of use. On the contrary, the prevalent trend in their careers is towards more “control” on drug use. These users are often unwilling to enter treatment, though adopting“natural” strategies of self regulation (step down, “temporary” abstinence, often leading to permanent abstinence): the aim is to prevent drug abuse and the disruption of their “life structure”.  The analysis of users’ informal/natural “controls” (as well as of their risky behaviours) suggests the opportunity to develop an innovative operational model in drug interventions, to prevent harmful patterns of use, drug abuse and dependence. This approach, in accordance with the social learning model, aims at supporting and strengthening users “natural” controls and self regulation strategies. It is meant as an alternative to the disease model, still dominant in the drug addiction system of services. Developing an operational approach based on the enhancement of “natural controls” canpromote a significant change in the social image of drug users (and consequently in drug policies), reducing the stigma of “addiction”.

Overall aim and objectives

The workstream is based on the findings on patterns of drug use, informal controls, patterns of change,  self regulation, self recovery, and moderation management strategies from researches on natural settings  produced  at European level by a vast number of scientific institutions and researchers, on the UE guidelines on prevention, risk and harm reduction,  and treatment approaches and on the action priorities of the EU Action Plan.

The general objective is

  • developing  operational models, approaches and tools  to prevent drug abuse and dependence addressing the target of regular cocaine  and multidrug users who are unwilling to enter abstinence treatment


  • Experts working group on repertoire of  scientific and research findings
  • Experts, professionals and peer educators seminar to develop the innovative operational model and   draft recommendations to policy makers (TO BE HELD IN FLORENCE, JUNE 20,21,22 2013)
  • Publishing (electronic/paper): Repertoire of scientific research findings on the subject, Guidelines on the operational model, Recommendations   to policy
  • Spread the results to scientific and research centres, professionals and experts networks, national and European  institutions, policymakers at local, national and EU level