Home > New EU Drugs Strategy to add value to National Drugs Strategy.

Pike, Brigid (2005) New EU Drugs Strategy to add value to National Drugs Strategy. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 13, Spring 2005 , pp. 17-18.

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The European Union has adopted a new drugs strategy for the period 2005-2012. This new Strategy is intended to ‘add value’ to national drugs strategies as member states use it as a framework for considering how their national drugs strategies impact on the drugs strategies of other member states, the ways in which national drugs strategies can be mutually supportive, and the contribution their national drugs strategies can make to achieving the objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy.

Improved co-ordination will be the key to adding value. The Strategy recommends measures to strengthen the co-ordinating roles of the Council’s Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) and the National Drug Co-ordinators. An official of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is Ireland’s designated National Drug Co-Ordinator.

The new EU Drugs Strategy focuses on two policy fields, supply reduction and demand reduction, and two cross-cutting themes, international co-operation, and research, information and evaluation.  In the area of supply reduction, the EU aims to ensure a high level of security for the general public by taking action against drugs production, cross-border trafficking in drugs and diversion of precursors, and by intensifying preventive action against drug-related crime. In particular, it will seek to achieve effective co-operation through developing a joint approach, for example improving and sharing knowledge at both EU and national level; intensifying law enforcement co-operation using existing instruments and frameworks; harmonising standards of prosecution practice; enhancing law enforcement, criminal investigation and forensic science co-operation between member states that have common interests and/or face the same drug-related problems; and intensifying member states’ law enforcement efforts directed at non-EU countries, especially producer countries and regions along trafficking routes.

In the area of demand reduction the EU aims to contribute to the attainment of a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion by complementing member states’ actions in preventing and reducing drug use, dependence and drug-related harms to health and society. The Strategy states that demand reduction measures should be part of ‘an effective and integrated comprehensive knowledge-based system including prevention, early intervention, treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation and social reintegration’. Furthermore, the measures ‘must take into account the health-related and social problems caused by the use of illegal psychoactive substances and poly-drug use in association with legal psychoactive substances such as tobacco, alcohol and medicines’.

In the field of international co-operation, the Strategy aims to reduce the production and drugs supply to Europe and to assist third countries in reducing the demand for drugs as an integral part of political and development co-operation. Strategic priorities include co-ordinated, effective and more visible action by the EU in international organisations and fora in order to enhance and promote a balanced approach to the drugs problem; special efforts to align the drug policies of candidate countries, and potential candidate countries, with those of the EU; and assisting third countries, particularly drug-producing and transit countries, to be more effective in both drugs demand and drugs supply reduction.

In relation to research, information and evaluation, the Strategy seeks ‘a better understanding of the drugs problem and the development of an optimal response to it through measurable and sustainable improvement in the knowledge base and knowledge infrastructure’. Steps to achieve this include making full use of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol; identifying priority research topics to be fostered at EU level; the promotion by member states and the EU of large-scale exchanges and dissemination of research results, experiences and good practices; training of professionals; and consulting public and private actors. The importance of evaluation and the overall responsibility of the European Commission in this regard are confirmed.

The EU Drugs Strategy 2005–2012 was adopted by the Council of the European Union, comprising the heads of state and government of the 25 member states, on 17 December 2004 (15074/04 CORDROGUE 77 SAN 187 ENFOPOL 178 RELEX 564). Its adoption was the culmination of eight months of deliberation, including:

·         Consultation and deliberation on the way forward in relation to drugs at an EU conference in Dublin (Report from the Presidency to the Council on the Main Elements Discussed at the Dublin Conference – ‘EU Strategy on Drugs – the Way Forward’ 10/11 May 2004, 8 June 2004, 9595/04 CORDROGUE 36 + REV 1);

·         Evaluation of the previous EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan by the European Commission (Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the Results of the Final Evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs (2000–2004), 9 November 2004, (COM (2004) 707 Final);

·         Preparation of ‘snapshots’ of the drug situation and policy measures at the outset and close of the EU Drugs Strategy – 1999 and 2004 – by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), in collaboration with Europol. In addition, the EMCDDA produced 10 thematic papers on various aspects of the drugs issue. These papers are available at http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/  

The EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012 will form the basis for two consecutive four-year EU Action Plans on Drugs, to be drawn up by the European Commission, after consultation with the EMCDDA and Europol, and a broad group of experts, professionals and representatives of civil society. In early 2005 the Commission is due to bring forward the first Action Plan, covering 2005–2008, for consultation with the European Parliament and for endorsement by the Council.

 

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 13, Spring 2005
Date:January 2005
Page Range:pp. 17-18
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 13, Spring 2005
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation > Programme planning (strategy)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
VA Geographic area > Europe

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