What new challenges and threats is Europe facing in the drugs field? What are the latest legal, social, health and law-enforcement responses? How many drug users are treated in Europe every year? What are the latest trends in drug supply and drug-related crime?
These are just some of the issues to come under the spotlight in the Annual report 2010: the state of the drugs problem in Europe being launched today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA).
Previewing the findings, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, said: ‘This report provides an important focal point for drugs issues at European level: it is an invaluable source of data and analysis’.
European drug policy is based on a balanced approach that deals with the demand as well as the supply of illicit drugs. Drug trafficking remains one of the most profitable activities for organised criminal groups in the EU today. And understanding how the illicit drug market works is a high priority of the ongoing European strategy and action plan on drugs. Many of the chapters in the report open with data on the supply and availability of specific drugs or explore the innovations of organised crime in circumventing controls.
‘The report demonstrates the need for enhanced monitoring across the EU, as part of a coordinated European approach to tackling drug trafficking and organised crime’, said Commissioner Malmström.
Evaluating the impact of supply-reduction activities has become an increasingly common theme in the EU policy debate. Yet the report points out that such evaluation is ‘handicapped by the lack of standard indicators and measures’.
The European Commission and the EMCDDA joined forces last month, organising a milestone conference to establish standard European indicators on drug supply issues, a target of the EU drugs action plan (2009–12) (www.emcdda.europa.eu/events/supply-indicators). ‘A mechanism for their implementation can be expected in 2011’, states EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz. ‘These are crucial information tools to improve our understanding of this area of key importance for European drug policy. They are also a prerequisite to designing more efficient interventions in future against drug trafficking and drug-related crime.’
The Annual report 2010 offers the latest data and commentary on the drug situation across the 27 EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey and Norway, as well as international comparisons.