Migration and Home Affairs

Progress on EU Drugs Strategy

Thursday, 3 December, 2015

On 27 November 2015 the European Commission adopted a report on progress in the EU's 2013-2020 Drugs Strategy and 2013-2016 Action Plan on Drugs.

Illicit drugs are a complex social problem, which affects the lives of millions of people. While consumption of drugs such as heroin or cocaine has gone down in the past few years, new psychoactive substances are increasingly accessible on the open market and/or online, posing serious health threats. At least 78.9 million Europeans reported having used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, while cocaine and amphetamines have been tried by 15.6 and 12 million people respectively.

Drugs are also a global problem. It is estimated that a total of 264 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 used an illicit drug in 2013. In April 2016 the United Nation's General Assembly will hold a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs that will look at how to improve global drugs policies while strengthening public health and human rights aspects as part of the UN Conventions on drugs.

The EU's 2013-2020 Drugs Strategy and the 2013-2016 Action Plan on Drugs set out the EU's political framework and priorities on drugs policy.

This Report presents the main progress the EU achieved in 2013 and 2014 in implementing the Strategy and the Action Plan on Drugs. Detailed findings are presented in the annexed Commission staff working document.

A few highlights:

  • Half of the EU countries implemented anti-drugs campaigns in recreational settings, like music festivals, concerts, clubs
  • All Member States have in place opioid substitution treatment (OST) and needle and syringe programmes. However, these are far from full coverage, especially in prisons
  • 101 new psychoactive substances were reported in the EU in 2014
  • 8 new psychoactive substances were subjected to EU-wide controls
  • 33 000 seizures of new psychoactive substances, amounting to more than 2.3 tonnes in 2013
  • Legislative package on New Psychoactive Substances discussed in the EP and Council since 2013
  • More than half of the Member States specifically targeted drug-related crime over the internet
  • All EU countries had national/regional drugs strategies. A majority were specifically focused on illicit drugs. In some Member States drugs are included in broader addiction policies (for tobacco, alcohol, or other addictive behaviours)
  • All EU countries reported that civil society organisations were involved in the development, monitoring and/or evaluation of their national drugs policy in 2013-2014
  • Enlargement countries developed national drug strategies in line with the EU Drug Strategy and Action Plans
  • Half of all EU countries entered into bilateral agreements, cooperation strategies and/or action plans that included cooperation on drugs with non-EU countries (mainly with Russia, the Western Balkans, the Middle East and Latin America).
  • Evidence of drug-related public expenditure at national level remains sparse. For the 19 countries that produced estimates in the past 10 years: expenditure between 0.01% and 0.5% of GDP - healthcare between 24% and 73% of all drug-related expenditure

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