Europe has responded to rising concern over the use of the synthetic drug mephedrone by subjecting it to ‘control measures and criminal penalties’ throughout the EU. In a Decision of 2 December, the Council of the EU banned the drug, calling on Member States to introduce controls in line with their national law (1).
The announcement followed a proposal from the European Commission on 20 October that governments should act to stop the free spread of mephedrone. Reacting to the ban, European
Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding said: ‘The EU has shown today that we can act quickly to stop this kind of drug from taking more lives’.
The Decision is based on the findings of a formal risk-assessment report on mephedrone prepared in July 2010 by the EMCDDA Scientific Committee, with the participation of experts from the Member States, the European Commission, Europol and the European Medicines Agency. The report examined the health and social risks of the drug as well as information on international trafficking and the involvement of organised crime. It concluded that, while there is limited scientific evidence on its overall health and social risks, and that further studies are needed, mephedrone can cause acute health problems and potentially lead to dependency.
Following the Decision, EU Member States have one year to take the necessary measures to submit mephedrone to controls. At the time of the Council Decision, 16 Member States had already controlled it.
(1) Read more on new drugs.
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.