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Pike, Brigid (2012) EU drug policies under review in 2012. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 41, Spring 2012, p. 8.

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On 1 January 2013 Ireland will take on the EU presidency, just as the current EU drugs strategy (2005–2012) comes to an end. It last held the presidency in 2004, when the current strategy was being prepared.1 An external evaluation of the 2005–2012 strategy has been commissioned and was due to be completed by the end of 2011. This evaluation will inform the development of the new strategy, which will be adopted by the European Council. 

In a separate initiative launched on 25 October 2011, and undertaken in the context of its commitments under the 2010–2014 Stockholm Action Plan,2 the European Commission announced an overhaul of the EU’s legal instruments in the fight against illicit drugs.3 Calling for a strengthening of the EU’s response to drugs, the Commission noted that the EU’s two main anti-drugs legal instruments, one relating to drug trafficking (2004/757/JHA) and one to the emergence of new psychoactive substances (2005/387/JHA), were both over six years old. The Commission considers that new challenges, including new ways of trafficking drugs and drug precursors, the emergence of new drugs, and innovative distribution channels, all justify the development of new legal instruments. Moreover, the Commission believes the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and the dismantling of the pillar structure in EU policy-making provide fresh opportunities for integrating all policy areas relevant to the drugs problem.
The European Commission is proposing:
1.       a legislative package revising the Council Framework Decision on drug trafficking and the Council Decision on new psychoactive substances;
2.       legislative proposals on drug precursors;
3.       legislative proposals on the confiscation and recovery of criminal assets and on strengthening mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders; and
4.       new legislative measures to combat money laundering.
In addition, the Commission is proposing:
5.       indicators to monitor drug supply, drug-related crime and drug-supply reduction to help improve the effectiveness of supply-reduction measures; and
6.       minimum quality standards to improve drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services.
In launching this plan of action under the Stockholm Programme for the next two years, the European Commission has invited the European Parliament and the European Council, civil society and other important stakeholders to take part in a debate on effective responses to illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances. On 28 October 2011 the Commission launched a 12-week online public consultation aimed at gathering the opinions of individuals and stakeholders as to the EU-level actions on which the Commission should focus in order to best tackle illicit drugs and the emergence of new substances that imitate them. This consultation closed on 20 January 2012.
Future issues of Drugnet Ireland will provide updates on progress in developing the EU drugs strategy and the outcome of the European Commission’s public consultation.
1. Pike B (2004) Groundwork for new EU drugs strategy to be laid during Irish presidency. Drugnet Ireland, (10): 1.
2.On 10–11 December 2009 the European Council adopted the Stockholm Programme, a comprehensive framework of initiatives in justice and home affairs. The political objectives in this programme were translated into concrete actions for adoption in 2010–2014 (COM (2010) 171 final). In the Stockholm Action Plan the European Commission is tasked with introducing measures to reinforce protection against serious and organised crime.
3.European Commission (2011) Towards a stronger European response to drugs. COM (2011) 689/2.
Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Issue Title
Issue 41, Spring 2012
April 2012
Page Range
p. 8
Health Research Board
Issue 41, Spring 2012
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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