DRUG POLICY SAVING PUBLIC COSTS: Interactive session for sharing best practices on approaches of non-repressive drug policy

Welcome to 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs Side Event

When: 21st of March, 1.10–2.00 p.m.

Where: Conference Room M3, Vienna, Austria


Main organiser: Drug, tobacco and alcohol control department, Lithuania       


Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), Lithuania

National Institute for Health Development, Estonia

Association for Safer Drug Policies, Norway


Lithuania, Estonia and Norway have decided to pursue more cost effective and humane approaches to drug policy than chasing and imprisoning people who use drugs.

This innovative and interactive discussion will present experiences from three European countries demonstrating that the cooperation of government and civil society in drug policy development can both improve health and well-being and reduce costs to society.

In our discussion, government and civil society representatives from each country will share their experiences with introducing new policies.

The speakers will present answers to key questions and respond to questions from the audience via an interactive platform on the audience’s smartphones. 


Bring your phone: the Side event will be interactive


Agenda of the Side event:

1st Question: What costs more: criminalization or social and health services?

Presentation with overview of assessment results: Criminalization of drug use and possession costs society too much; in some countries it could be 5-10 times more expensive than offering supportive measures in freedom with harm reduction services and unemployment wages. These are the conclusions of the assessment conducted by EHRA in 26 countries in the CEECA region.

Presenter: Eliza Kurcevič, EHRA, Lithuania

More information: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/criminalization-costs/


2nd Question: Can drug policy changes bring results in a year?

Presentation on the changes of criminal policy in the country and key highlights of the National drug policy strategy adopted in December 2018.

Presenter: Inga Juozapavičienė, Director, Drug, tobacco and alcohol control department of the Republic of Lithuania

More information: https://bit.ly/2VqXVOC


3rd Question: Could peer consultants from PWUD community be effective, as an alternative to imprisonment?

Presentation on first results and lessons learned from piloting LEAD program with community and civil society organizations in Estonia.

Presenter: Aljona Kurbatova, Head of Drug Abuse and Infectious Diseases Prevention Center, National Institute for Health Development, Tallinn, Estonia

More information: will be announced


4th Question: Does civil society advocacy change drug policy in your country?

Presentation on how civil society advocacy has contributed to drug policy reform in Norway.

Presenter: Ina Roll Spinnangr, Chair of the Association for Safer Drug Policies, Norway

More information: https://drogriporter.hu/en/norway-can-set-standard-nordic-countries-interview-ina-spinnangr/


Discussion and closing remarks from audience and speakers

Last updated: 08-03-2019