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Please note that the information on this page is based on the EMCDDA Annual report 2010: the state of the drugs problem in Europe. Most statistical data relate to the year 2008 (or the last year available).


Annual report 2010: the state of the drugs problem in Europe
Policies and laws

Published: 10 November 2010

International and EU policy developments

Monitoring the UN political declaration and plan of action

At the 2009 session of the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the UN Member States adopted a new political declaration and plan of action to tackle the world drug problem (EMCDDA, 2009). They also passed a resolution (52/12) to improve data collection, reporting and analysis, in order to monitor the implementation of these new drug policy documents.

In view of difficulties experienced in the final review of the previous ten-year political declaration and action plans, the resolution called for the development of data collection tools and mechanisms to provide reliable and comparable data. High on the list of considerations were the need to encourage better reporting by UN Member States, and the aim to avoid unnecessary duplication with existing international monitoring systems, including those of other UN agencies or of regional bodies such as the EMCDDA.

The new UN data collection tool will merge the Annual Reporting Questionnaire (ARQ), a monitoring tool associated with the UN drug control conventions, with a new set of questions related to the newly adopted political declaration and plan of actions. The new questionnaire should be adopted at the 2011 session of the CND, with the first data collection round implemented shortly afterwards.

EU drugs strategy and action plan

The first year of the new EU drugs action plan (2009–12) saw a number of activities carried out. During their presidencies of the European Union, both the Czech Republic and Sweden supported the action plan’s implementation with the adoption of Council Conclusions, one calling for the development of key indicators in the field of drug markets, drug-related crime and supply reduction, a second calling for the exchange of good practice, guidelines and quality standards for universal prevention, and a third on strengthening the European Union's research capacity on illicit drugs.

The European Commission released a report on the implementation of the Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the criminal acts and penalties applicable in the field of drug trafficking. The Commission found that, though marking a first step towards a common approach in combating drug trafficking, the Framework Decision has not brought about a substantial approximation of national laws (1). The Commission also published a working paper describing the existing mechanisms for detecting, monitoring and responding to emerging trends in the European Union and proposing guidelines for future work (2). In addition, a new project was launched to support the implementation of an EU-wide system for forensic profiling of synthetic drugs (3). By providing a kind of ‘fingerprint’ for the drugs, forensic profiling can help trace manufacturers and chart drug distribution channels. Other activities by the Commission, regarding collaboration with civil society and drug-related research, are described elsewhere in this chapter. The first comprehensive progress review of the implementation of the current EU drugs action plan (2009–12) will be published in late 2010.

Civil society and drug policy

The European Commission’s Civil Society Forum on Drugs held its third meeting in March 2009. The European Action on Drugs (see below) was one of the two main topics on the agenda. The other main item was the future of the Forum, with the discussion focusing on practical issues such as the selection of participants and the organisation of meetings. The meeting also considered the future role of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs; whether it should remain an informal exchange platform or become a formal advisory body to the Commission.

Another measure with the aim to involve and mobilise civil society is the European Commission’s European Action on Drugs. The project invites authorities, institutions, associations, non-governmental organisations, companies and individuals to make a commitment for a specific action in the drugs field. In this way, the project intends to provide civil society with a platform to increase awareness regarding drugs and the risks related to drug use and to promote dialogue and exchanges of best practice. Some 640 applicants had registered their commitment by early March 2010.

Mobilising civil society should also be one of the key principles for the next EU drugs strategy (4). This was stated in the Stockholm Programme adopted by the European Council. The programme provides a framework for EU action on the questions of citizenship, justice, security, asylum and immigration for the area of justice, freedom and security for the years 2010–14.

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(1) Europa press release MEMO/09/548.

(2) SEC (2009) 1090 final.

(3) 13405/09 CORDROGUE 63.

(4) Improving cooperation with third countries and improving research and information were the two other key principles.

EMCDDA (2008), Annual report 2009, the state of the drugs problem in Europe, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

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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Page last updated: Wednesday, 20 October 2010