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Brussels, 6 June 2017

Dear all,

Our thoughts today are with the victims and their families of the London attack this weekend.

Terrorism affects us all equally.

This is why we must continue to stand together, in solidarity, across borders, to fight terrorism together.

They wish to sow division, but we reap unity and resilience instead.

On Friday, I will discuss with the European Ministers of Interior how we can further support them in this endeavour.

Now let me turn to the purpose of this press point today.

 

Dear Laura,

Dear Alexis,

Dear all,

 

The drugs phenomenon continues to evolve,  and so must our policy.

Over 93 million Europeans have tried an illicit drug and overdose deaths continue to rise.

The 2017 European Drug report that we are launching today is a key tool of our strategy to tackle this longstanding threat together, across Europe.

Our aim is not just to protect the health of our citizens, but also to stop huge profits from drugs ending up in the pockets of organised crime groups in Europe and beyond.

To illustrate this, let me tell you that the drug market generates at least EUR 24 billion a year.

This year's report shows 3 things: 1) that overdose deaths are on the rise,  2) that there is a continued availability of new psychoactive substances 3) and that highly potent synthetic opioids are a growing health threat.

In order to help all the involved actors to get a comprehensive overview of the situation across Europe, this year's report, for the first time, is accompanied by 30 national Drug Reports of the EU 28 Member States, as well as Turkey and Norway.  

Not only have deaths because of overdose risen consistently, we also see that usage is rising.

In addition, new very harmful and powerful synthetic opioids are appearing on the market.

Only small quantities are needed to produce many thousands of street doses.

They are easy to conceal and transport, thus posing a challenge for drug control agencies and a potentially attractive commodity for organised crime.

New psychoactive substances are a considerable challenge in Europe.

Last year, 66 New Psychoactive Substances were detected by the European Early Warning System.

This is a rate of over one per week!

But it's not just about how many new substances emerge, or how quickly, but also how easily available they are on the market.

While we see a decrease of the pace at which new substances appear on the market, their availability remains high.

This is why I am pleased that last week we concluded the negotiations with the Council and the Parliament on a stronger European framework for New Psychoactive Substances.

And this is only one part of a broader strategy of this Commission to tackle the new security and health challenges for the future.

Earlier this year, we put on the table a new EU Action Plan on Drugs until 2020.

We have identified new priority areas for action and enhanced existing ones.

For example: - the monitoring of new psychoactive substances  - the use of new communication technologies for prevention of drug abuse - and evidence gathering on the potential connection between drug trafficking and financing of terrorist groups, organised crime, migrant smuggling or trafficking in human beings.

The Council and the European Parliament are currently discussing the new Action Plan.

Needless to say, all these efforts build on the close cooperation with the Member States and our international partners.

This means that we will continue to work in the same united and robust way with our global partners too.

We want to ensure the implementation of what we have agreed at the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem in 2016,

in view of the preparation of the review of the UN Political Declaration on Drugs in 2019.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Drugs remain a constantly evolving, multi-faced threat for our societies.  

Today's report confirms that we have to make more efforts, to join more forces, if we want to effectively fight its risks, particularly when they harm our youth.

Thank you.