Pompidou Group marks 50th anniversary in Paris against backdrop of increasing drug use in Europe


2021 11 03

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Lithuania is a member of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe. Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department is a national Permanent Correspondent and actively participates in the activities of this group.

The Council of Europe’s International Co-operation Group on Drugs and Addictions (Pompidou Group) marked its 50th anniversary in Paris (Pompidou Centre) on 28 October. Renaldas Čiužas, Director of the Department, attended the event. The overall aim of the event is to look back over its history and successes, while also highlighting the importance of placing human rights at the heart of drug policies.

The Pompidou Group, which is named after the former French President who initiated its creation, provides tools that help decision-makers to implement effective measures to reduce drug trafficking, better treat substance use disorders and address the related negative impacts in society.

From decriminalisation to the use of low-risk drug consumption rooms, many Pompidou Group member states are taking steps to tackle drug addiction as a health issue rather than a crime issue.

In this connection, the motto of the Pompidou Group’s work is ‘Human rights at the heart of drug policies’.

With its many drug policy experts, the Pompidou Group serves as a platform for sharing its member states’ experience. It assesses the effectiveness of the various initiatives, for instance to show the extent to which drug consumption rooms reduce the main risks of transmission of diseases caused by injecting in unhygienic conditions; preventing drug-related deaths (from overdoses); and providing the most at-risk users with care and treatment services or other healthcare and social facilities.

This year, its mandate was extended to cover addictive behaviours linked to licit substances (such as alcohol and tobacco) and new forms of addiction (such as internet gambling and betting).

Opening statements were made by Marija Pejčinović Burić (Secretary General of the Council of Europe), Péter Szijjártó (Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe), by Antonio Lacerda Sales (Deputy Minister of Health of Portugal), and Nicolas Prisse (President of the French anti-drug authority, MILDECA).

The Pompidou Group consists of 41 member states, including three non-European countries (Morocco, Israel and Mexico). Ukraine recently notified the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of its accession and in January 2022 will become the Group’s 42nd member state.