The EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2012)
A multiannual EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012 sets out the objectives and actions for EU countries and the Commission on drugs.
The European Council endorsed the multi-annual EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2012 ) in December 2004. The aims of this strategy are:
- to achieve a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion by complementing EU countries' national actions in preventing and reducing drug use, drug dependence, and drug-related harm to health and society;
- to ensure a high level of security for the general public by taking action against drugs-related crime, drug- production and cross-border trafficking in drugs. It is also necessary to stop the use of legitimate chemical substances to manufacture illicit drugs (know as "diversion of precursors"). The Strategy is centred around two pillars: drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction .
These are complemented with three cross-cutting themes that represent the horizontal nature of the drugs problem:
Evaluation of the EU Drugs Action Plan
In September 2008 the EU Drugs Action Plan (2005-2008) was evaluated by the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Europol and with input from government and non-government bodies in EU countries.
The evaluation concluded that:
- drug use at EU level had remained high, despite stabilisation or a small decline of the use of some illicit drugs;
- the EU had been relatively successful in reducing drug-related harm such as HIV/ AIDS infections and drug-related deaths. This in spite of the fact that in that same period, the world illicit opiate production rose sharply as did the trafficking of cocaine to the EU.
Today it is the EU Drugs Action Plan which provides the road map for the EU. There are five priority areas:
- improving coordination and cooperation among all those involved in EU drugs policy: EU institutions - EU governments, European Commission, European Parliament - EU agencies, civil society, international organisations and countries outside the EU;
- actions that increase the accessibility, coverage and effectiveness of drug prevention, treatment, harm reduction a nd reintegration of drug users ;
- actions to strengthen cooperation and increase the effectiveness of police and customs officials across the EU to respond rapidly to changes in illicit drug markets and trafficking routes ;
- improving international cooperation through greater coordination between programmes and policies of the EU and those of EU countries and pursuing a balanced approach in drugs policy to countries worldwide;
- improving our understanding of the drugs problem through better data and information , strengthening the EU's research capacity in the field of illicit drugs, further developing statistical indicators on how drug markets work, on drug-related crime and on the effectiveness of law enforcement.
An external independent evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2012) is on-going. Based on the outcome of this assessment, due by the end of 2011, the European Commission will propose a new EU drug policy framework.