Home > Legal topic overviews: penalties for illegal drug trafficking.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. [EMCDDA] (2012) Legal topic overviews: penalties for illegal drug trafficking. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

URL: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index146646EN...

What we have here called 'trafficking' offences may include production or cultivation, import and export, transporting, offering, selling and/or possession, with intent to distribute or supply, or the concept of acting 'for gain' or 'on a commercial basis'. Therefore, we have not included production or cultivation for personal use. Various aggravating factors in the offence may include the involvement of large quantities, drugs considered very dangerous to health, the aim to make substantial profit, involvement of (organised) groups or gangs, abuse of position by a professional person, or recidivism.

Selling drugs to acquire money to finance a drug habit is a recognised behaviour among drug users and is considered an offence in all EU Member States. In some, these 'user-dealers' or 'addict-pushers' occupy a middle ground between the serious offence of drug distribution and the more medical problem of drug addiction. As such, they may be specifically identified in national laws – if not, it is usual for the judge to take this situation into account when sentencing. Addiction is seen as a mitigating circumstance, but on the other hand the type and quantity of the drug sold or distributed, and recidivism, may be seen as aggravating factors. In general, selling drugs is always prosecuted, but wide ranges are prescribed for sentencing.

At European level, following the conclusions of the 1999 Tampere European Council that called on the Member States to adopt additional legal provisions to combat trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the Council adopted in October 2004 a Framework-Decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking.

This overview contains penalties by country and a table: EU Framework-Decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Other
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:Crime prevention
Source:EMCDDA
Date:January 2012
Publisher:European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Corporate Creators:European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication:Lisbon
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Law enforcement and the justice system
MM-MO Crime and law > Substance related offence > Drug offence > Illegal transportation of drugs (smuggling / trafficking)
MM-MO Crime and law > Criminal penalty
VA Geographic area > Europe

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