With support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), the Thessaloniki chapter of the European Students for Liberty organized their first event, titled “Drugs and Prohibitive Policy”, at the University of Macedonia. Among the participants were Gregory Vallianatos, President of Liberal Alliance, Antypas Karipoglou, President of Drassi, Damianos Douitsis, founder and owner of NGO Oasis, and Andreas Zourdos, dietologist.
The discussion was moderated by Christina Tachiaou, a well-known local journalist. Moreover, Associate Professor Nikos Marantzidis, Chair of the Balkan, Slavic, and Oriental Studies department, greeted the discussion and took part in the conversation throughout the afternoon.
Gregory Vallianatos and Antypas Karipoglou set the tone of the conversation, stressing the undesirable effects of prohibition on various aspects of drug use. Mr. Vallianatos particularly stressed the fact that discussing whether drugs are addictive and harmful is a different topic than the question if the state is entitled to intervene in order to ‘help’ its citizens. Mr. Douitsis, a rehabilitation advisor who once was addicted to drugs, landed on middle ground when he stated that there were indeed very hazardous substances from which people need to be protected, but that this state protection could not be generalized to all substances. Dietologist Andreas Zourdos drew analogies between the psychotropic effects of drug consumption and food or alcohol consumption, in an effort to focus on the subjectivity of interpretation towards the effects of drug use and abuse. Afterwards, a lively discussion between the panel and the audience emerged.
Before, during and after the discussion, the Greek Students for Liberty used the opportunity to reach out to fellow students who were interested in their organisation. Paris Aslanidis, one the the organizers, considered their first event a true success and thanked the FNF for its support.