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Home > Agreement reached on stricter control of legal substances used in narcotics trade.

Irish EU Presidency. [Irish EU Presidency] Agreement reached on stricter control of legal substances used in narcotics trade. (21 Jun 2013)


Existing legislation improved and re-enforced by new agreement

The Irish Presidency secured agreement today (19/06/13) with the European Parliament on amending Regulation (EC) 273/2004 on Drug Precursors.

Drug Precursors are chemicals used in the legitimate production of perfumes, cosmetics, fertilisers, oils and pharmaceuticals. However, there is the potential for these substances to be diverted and used in the manufacture of illicit drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. For example, just 200g of piperonal, a substance commonly used in perfume and flavourings, is enough to produce 4,000 street doses of ecstasy.

The existing Regulation (EC) 273/2004 established harmonised measures for the intra-Community control and monitoring of certain substances used for the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs with a view to preventing their diversion. Today’s agreement aims to improve and reinforce this legislation, thus contributing to the fight against illegal drugs at the manufacturing stage while also giving legal certainty to legitimate business.

The legislation will close loopholes that could be exploited by criminals in the production of narcotics. Acetic Anhydride (AA) is the main drug precursor for heroin, which is being diverted in large quantities from the internal EU market for illicit drug manufacture. As little as 1-4 litres of AA can produce 1kg of heroin. Yet it is a chemical widely used in many legitimate settings such as detergent manufacture and also within the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Currently, the registration requirement for AA applies only to economic operators who are “placing it on the market” which are those primarily engaged in direct manufacture and/or supply and distribution of the chemical. This new agreement legislation provides that all end-users, using AA in the manufacture of other substances, or using it directly, will be required to register with the authorities in this regard.

Today’s agreement will now go to COREPER for final approval by Member States.


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21 June 2013
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Irish EU Presidency

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