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After the War on Drugs: European Perspectives on Drug Policy and Public Health

Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

The New School, 510 66 West 12th Street

Join Dr. Thomas Kattau and Elena Hedoux, members of the esteemed Council of Europe (the continent’s leading human rights organization), for a timely discussion on drug policy and public health.

The ‘war on drugs’ has for decades shaped drug policies around the world. Then in 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy declared: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.” At the United Nations General Assembly Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016 a large group of countries signaled that they were not ready to continue a ‘war on drugs.’ Since then, a debate about a new approach to the world drug problem has emerged. 

Europe has already, for some time, explored new responses to drug problems and changed its focus from criminalization to a public health oriented approach. Elena Hedoux and Thomas Kattau will outline the experiences with public health-oriented drug policies in Europe and the challenges arising now in the era of ‘designer drugs’ and other new psychoactive substances. The emerging trends will require a fundamental re-thinking of existing drug policies.

Sponsored by Global Studies at The New School.

Thomas Kattau is the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, the Council of Europe’s drug policy cooperation body. Before this he held various positions at the Council of Europe, including responsibility for childhood policies and assistance programs for Eastern Europe. Later he was engaged in conflict resolution and post conflict stabilization in the Balkans and North Caucasus. He is the coordinator for Syracuse University internships at the Council of Europe and has been teaching European Policies and international conflict resolution at the Syracuse Center in Strasbourg. Prior to taking up duties with the Council of Europe he worked in criminological research, taught comparative law and was a practicing attorney. He has studied law and social sciences in Germany and Australia and was an exchange student in the United States.

Elena Hedoux has been working in the Council of Europe for 12 years and for the last 4 years with the Pompidou Group. In the Pompidou Group she is the Senior Project Officer of the Group responsible for the executive trainings on drug policy and works for the Secretariat of Permanent Correspondents and the Ministerial Conference. She also holds responsibility for cooperation with countries from Latin America and Eastern Europe. Her focus of professional interest lies with addiction treatment of young people, and innovation in institutional management. In addition she is exploring specific needs of migration populations with respect to drug policy. Elena has studied in Russia, the United States, Spain and France. She holds degrees in psychology and pedagogy, her working languages are English, French, Spanish and Russian.

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