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Pike, Brigid (2005) EU Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 14, Summer 2005 , p. 3.

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 The EU Action Plan on Drugs 2005–2008 (COM [2005] 45 final) is due to be adopted by the European Council in June 2005. It identifies 61 actions to be taken over the next four years in pursuit of the EU Drugs Strategy 2005–2012, which was outlined in issue 13 of Drugnet Ireland. The actions are to be undertaken variously by the EU institutions and special agencies or by member states. Actions with implications for Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy, which is coterminous with the EU Action Plan, are outlined below.

 Co-ordination

In its evaluation of the 2000–2004 EU drugs strategy and action plan on drugs (COM [2004] 707 final), the European Commission concluded that civil society had not been regularly consulted on drugs policy at either national or EU level. To counter this perceived weakness, the new Action Plan identifies two steps, including the issuing of a Green Paper by the Commission in 2006 on ways to co-operate effectively with civil society, and a report on the outcome of national-level consultations on the drugs issue in 2008 by member states to the Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG), which comprises representatives of the member states and the European Commission and reports to the European Council. Ireland’s Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the National Drugs Strategy recommends strengthening the representation of the voluntary and community sectors on the two policy co-ordinating mechanisms – the Inter-Departmental Group and the National Drugs Strategy Team. 

Demand reduction

The European Commission’s final evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2000–2004 also found that there was no strong evidence that the rate of drug use prevalence in the EU had declined. To strengthen the effectiveness of prevention initiatives, the Action Plan calls on member states to (1) ensure that by 2007 comprehensive prevention programmes covering both licit and illicit drugs as well as poly-drug use are included in school curricula or are implemented as widely as possible, and (2) develop and improve prevention programmes for specific target groups (e.g. families at risk, ‘school drop outs’) and specific settings (e.g. drugs and driving, drugs in the work place, drugs in recreational settings). The MTR makes several recommendations with respect to strengthening the effectiveness of prevention programmes and targeting specific groups. With respect to specific settings, by 2008 the European Commission will complete a study on the influence of alcohol, drugs and medicines on driving, and member states will report to the HDG on the coverage of drug programmes in the workplace.

Some eleven actions relating to treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation and social reintegration are listed in the Action Plan. For example:

·         Member states are to improve early detection of risk factors and intervention by providing appropriate training for professionals who come in contact with potential drug users

·         Member states are to improve the availability of, and access to, targeted and diversified treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration services. Concurrently, by 2007, the European Commission is to prepare a proposal for an EU agreement on minimum standards on drug treatment.

·         In respect of drugs in prisons, by 2007 the European Commission is to prepare a proposal for a Council recommendation regarding the development of prevention, treatment and harm reduction services for people in prison, reintegration services on release from prison and methods to monitor and analyse drug use among prisoners. By 2008 member states are to report to the HDG on the progress they have made in developing and using alternatives to prison for drug addicts who have committed drug-related offences.

·         Member states are called on to improve access to services for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and drug-related health and social damage, by ensuring access for addicts to services designed to reduce risks; by implementing comprehensive programmes on HIV/AIDS, HCV, and other blood-borne diseases that include vulnerable groups; and by identifying the reduction of drug-related deaths as a specific target at all levels, and designing interventions specifically to reduce the number of deaths. 

Supply reduction

The European Commission’s evaluation of the previous EU drugs strategy found that there was no significant reduction in the availability of drugs in the EU. The Action Plan identifies some eleven actions intended to strengthen EU law enforcement co-operation. At strategic level, the actions include a number of research and information- and data-gathering initiatives on various aspects of drug-related crime, including a study of best practice in the establishment of a joint operational fund, to be financed from the confiscation of assets earned through drug production and trafficking.

At operational level the Action Plan calls for joint law enforcement co-operation, including targeting money laundering; fighting international organised drug production and trafficking; combating serious criminal activity in the field of precursor chemical diversion, and preventing the diversion of precursors, particularly synthetic precursors imported into the EU.

Information, research and evaluation

In the area of information, member states are to participate in fully implementing and fine-tuning the five key epidemiological indicators, and in developing estimates of direct and indirect expenditures on drugs, including law enforcement, drug-related health and social issues and international co-operation. In 2007 the European Commission is to bring forward a proposal for an agreement on EU guidelines and mechanisms for detecting, monitoring and responding to emerging trends. With regard to research, the European Commission is to promote research on biomedical, psychosocial and other factors behind drug use and encourage networks of research excellence for the optimal use of resources and effective dissemination of results.

 

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 14, Summer 2005
Date:April 2005
Page Range:p. 3
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 14, Summer 2005
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use

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