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The European Union and the drug phenomenon: frequently asked questions

EMCDDA and the European Commission, Lisbon, October 2010

Publication type:



Respect for fundamental rights, protection of public health, well-being, social cohesion and security are the objectives that guide the actions taken by the European Union in the field of illicit drugs. The EU drugs strategy 2005–12 provides the framework for enhanced coordination between action taken at national, EU and international level and commits the members of the EU to tackle illicit drugs by striking a balance between reducing supply and demand.

This joint publication between the EMCDDA and the European Commission brings together some of the key frequently asked questions on the EU’s drugs policy and how it functions. Further details can be found via the websites and other links provided at the end of each answer. The brochure exists in English and French language versions.

Download as pdf (115Kb):

English (en) French (fr) Russian (ru)

Table of contents

  1. What are the competences of the EU in the fi eld of drugs under the Lisbon Treaty?
  2. Who are the main actors of EU drugs policy?
  3. What are the main features of the ‘European approach on drugs’?
  4. What is meant by drug demand reduction?
  5. What is meant by drug supply reduction?
  6. Why are the EU drugs action plans important?
  7. Are the EU drugs action plans evaluated? How?
  8. How does the EU deal with precursors?
  9. How does the EU act at international level on drugs issues?
  10. What assistance does the EU provide for candidate and potential candidate countries?
  11. What assistance does the EU provide for European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partners?
  12. What does the EU do regarding new psychoactive substances?
  13. What is the Early warning system?
  14. Where can I fi nd information on national and EU drugs legislation?
  15. What about civil society?
  16. What is Reitox and what is a national drugs observatory?







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About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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