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Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — July–September 2007

Defining drug-related crime

Ensuring a high level of security for the general public is prominent on the European policy agenda and stepping up work to prevent drug-related crime is one of the key goals of the current EU drugs action plan (2005–2008). But before countries can measure the extent of such crime, or assess the impact of measures to counter it, they must first agree on a common language to describe the problem. This issue is taken up in the latest edition of the EMCDDA's policy briefing Drugs in focus, released on International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking (26 June).

defining drug-related crime

2007 is the deadline set by the EU drugs action plan for presenting a common European definition of 'drug-related crime'.

According to EMCDDA Chairman Marcel Reimen: 'Adopting a clear definition of drug-related crime is an essential first step if we are to develop the methodologies needed to assess, not only the true extent of this problem, but also the impact of our policies and actions.'

2007 is the deadline set by the EU drugs action plan for presenting a common European definition of 'drug-related crime'. The European Commission is expected to propose such a definition to the Council of the EU at the end of this year based on studies brought forward by the EMCDDA.

The policy briefing, one of the resources to be submitted by the EMCDDA to the Commission, presents elements for a definition of 'drug-related crime' encompassing four categories: psychopharmacological crimes (committed under the influence of a psychoactive substance); economic–compulsive crimes (committed to obtain money (or drugs) to support drug use; systemic crimes (committed within the functioning of illicit drug markets, as part of the business of drug supply, distribution and use); and drug law offences (committed in violation of drug laws and other related legislations).

At present, routine data in the EU are only collected on the last type of crime and even then are gathered through very different reporting practices. Data on the first three types of crime are rare or patchy, usually gathered through ad hoc local studies.

Drug law offences increased in the majority of the EU Member States in the period 2000–2005.


Drugnet Europe is the EMCDDA's newsletter launched in September 1996. The newsletter provides regular and succint information on the Centre's projects and activities to a broad readership.

Page last updated: Monday, 23 July 2007