EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz and Europol Director Rob Wainwright review new substances entering Europe's illicit drug market (25.03.2010)
Cooperation between the EMCDDA and Europol started in 1997 after the launch of the 1997 EU Joint action concerning the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new synthetic drugs. Europol is a key EMCDDA partner within the early warning system on new drugs (EWS) and an integral part of the work on the scientific risk assessment of new substances. Currently, under the terms of the Council Decision on the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances, the EMCDDA and Europol, in collaboration with their respective networks, play a central role in detecting new psychoactive drugs, assessing their characteristics and paving the way for eventual control measures.
The cooperation commitment between the two organisations was made in the framework of a Cooperation agreement signed in Brussels in November 2001, under which the organisations agree to exchange information and expertise on drug-related issues, money laundering and the diversion of chemical precursors. The cooperation was later reinforced by an additional document entitled Strengthening the cooperation between Europol and the EMCDDA in the framework of the Cooperation agreement, which was signed in 2005 in Lisbon.
In 2009, the EMCDDA and Europol stepped up their cooperation on drugs and crime by defining a series of collaborative activities for the 2009–12 period. The actions take into account the recent developments at European Union level, in particular, the adoption of the EU Drugs action plan for 2009–12 (2008/C 326/09). More specifically, the cooperation focuses on three sets of objectives: those directly related to the EU Drugs action plan for 2009–12; objectives related to the exchange of methodology and strategic information; and actions in support of the implementation of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA.
Among the collaborative activities planned for 2009–12 is an EMCDDA–Europol joint publication series covering key aspects of European drug markets. Whereas the first titles in the series will be dedicated to individual illicit substances — e.g. methamphetamine, cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy, heroin and cannabis — future editions will be conceived in line with emerging information needs.
Collaboration has been also developed in areas set out in the EU Drugs Action Plan 2009–12 aimed at scaling up the monitoring of illicit drug supply in Europe through developing structured key indicators in three domains: drug markets, drug-related crime and drug supply reduction. The development of the new indicators is a joint challenge of the EMCDDA, European Commission and Europol as well as other EU agencies such as CEPOL and Eurojust.