Drivers of drug market developments — action points (EU Drug Markets Report)

Action points

Improve our understanding of the widespread ramifications of the drug market

1.    The collection of more detailed data on drug use, such as on the amounts and frequency of use among different groups of users, is needed to increase the accuracy of market size estimates and to monitor trends in the value of individual drug markets in the EU. These data will also assist in the development of drug policies and the assessment of their impact and effectiveness.

2.    Research is required to better understand the crossovers between drug trafficking and the trafficking of human beings, as well as the role of drugs in the exploitation of vulnerable people. In addition, the relationship between the drugs trade and the alcohol, tobacco and firearms trades should be critically reviewed for intervention opportunities and, if needed, systematic monitoring.

3.    There is a need for continued monitoring and analysis of potential linkages between organised criminals involved in the drugs trade and those engaged in terrorist activity. This will require greater cooperation between the different agencies tackling those threats as well as engaging with key partners.

4.    There is a need to more effectively monitor the nexus between drugs and violence, in particular systemic violence, by developing methodologies for data collection with a focus on measuring the number of such criminal acts related to the conduct of the drugs trade, and potentially their cost burden.

Increase knowledge sharing and cooperation to improve responses and ensure coherence between policy areas

5.    There is a need to share knowledge, expertise and best practice for tackling corruption, for example the use of internal corruption investigation departments, and to develop programmes to assist countries most affected. Continued support and commitment is needed for important initiatives, such as the Paris Declaration, and systematic monitoring should also be developed to enable benchmarking to be undertaken and identify priority areas.

6.    Steps must be taken to ensure coherence, maximise synergies and reduce duplication between drug control policies and international development and assistance programmes in important production and transit regions.

7.    Greater dialogue, leading to positive engagement with drug-producing and transit countries bordering the EU and further afield, is required to safeguard the security of the EU. Focusing attention on financial centres, particularly the United Arab Emirates, is equally important.

Develop responses to drug markets by targeting drivers and interlinkages

8.    A methodology and framework to describe illicit enterprises from a business perspective should be elaborated by studying case-level data on the phenomenon. By understanding the processes involved, this may highlight immediate, cost-effective and innovative opportunities for intervention.

9.    The intelligence from operations targeting drug trafficking on the surface web and the dark net, as well as any best practice identified, should be shared with Europol. Though not exclusively related to internet trade, partnerships must be fostered with the payment card industry and money transfer companies, as well as parcel delivery services, while monitoring the developments with anonymous delivery technologies.

10.    Work should be initiated to explore and develop strategies for engaging with young people in custodial environments for drug law offences and who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

11.    A comprehensive suite of best practice interventions targeting criminal finances and money flows should be developed. This would include methodologies for improving cooperation with financial institutions, conducting successful parallel financial investigations, and exploiting and sharing financial intelligence.

12.    An assessment should be made of the key EU departure points of outgoing cash smugglers, and controls should be tightened in these areas to complement efforts to interdict incoming drugs.

13.    Improvements in the systematic monitoring of national expenditures in the EU on drug supply reduction are needed in order to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions and the subsequent avoidance of activities of low value. This may, however, be challenging, as many supply reduction activities are a result of general public order and safety, or revenue and customs law enforcement.

14.    Awareness must be raised about the environmental damage caused by the dumping of waste from synthetic drug production sites in Europe. The data collection on this must be systematically implemented in the Member States and the knowledge, expertise and best practice developed in countries with the longest experience of tackling such environmental consequences could be more effectively shared with other Member States.