EMCDDA Director presents EU Drug Markets Report 2019 at European Parliament — ‘a clear wake-up call for policymakers’

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel was at the European Parliament today, where he presented the findings of the EMCDDA–Europol EU Drug Markets Report 2019 (EDMR 2019) to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

The Director reiterated that the report, launched on 26 November, is a ‘clear wake-up call’ for policymakers to address the rapidly growing drug market, which is increasingly global, joined-up and digitally enabled. Hyper production of drugs, within and beyond EU borders, has led to high availability of natural and synthetic substances and consumers now have access to a diverse range of highly potent and pure products at affordable prices. He also stressed his mounting concern over the rise in drug-related violence and corruption within the EU. Acting on the far-reaching consequences of the drug market for health and for security must now be an urgent priority.

Europeans are spending at least EUR 30 billion on drugs each year at retail level, making the drug market a major source of income for organised crime groups in the European Union. Around two-fifths of this total (39%) is spent on cannabis, 31% on cocaine, 25% on heroin and 5% on amphetamines and MDMA.

The Director added that the drugs problem needed to be prioritised in Europe and that there was no time for complacency. ‘Drugs must receive the attention they deserve’, he said.

As the European Commission evaluates the 2013–20 EU drugs strategy and action plan (2017–20), the Director underlined the importance of the EU’s balanced approach to the drugs problem, based on the two pillars of drug demand reduction and supply reduction and fully respecting fundamental rights.

The EDMR 2019 is the third state-of-the art overview of the European illicit drug market from the EMCDDA and Europol and covers trends along the supply chain from production and trafficking to distribution and sales. It describes how the drug market has wide-ranging impacts on both health and security and how a holistic approach is crucial for effective drug control policies.