Category Archives: Combating drugs

Well-being, social cohesion and security are all objectives which guide the action taken by the European Union in combating drugs. In this context, the EU’s action focuses mainly on reducing supply and demand, which links up with both the fight against organised crime and a high level of health protection. The main components are: greater coordination between the competent services in the EU; harmonisation in the field of infringements and penalties; and effective international cooperation. To this end, bodies such as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and instruments such as the financial strategies and programmes complete the policy framework to combat drugs effectively and to achieve all these defined objectives.

The role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union

The role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

The role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Commission Green Paper of 26 June 2006 on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union [COM(2006) 316 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In its fight against drugs, the EU has decided to consult civil society. The experience gained on the ground by these associations, particularly in helping the victims of this scourge, constitutes a major asset for the Commission, which wants to strengthen the networks of civil society, take account of their recommendations and gather together innovative practice on the ground.

The concept of “civil society”

There is no commonly accepted definition of the concept of “civil society”. The Commission has often used this term to refer to organisations representing both social and economic stakeholders. However, a more precise definition has been used for the purposes of this green paper. Civil society is the associational life operating in the space between the state and market, including individual participation, and the activities of non-governmental, voluntary and Community organisations. The aims of involving civil society are to support policy formulation and implementation through practical advice, to ensure an effective two-way information flow and to stimulate networking among the various organisations.

This growing involvement of civil society is a part of the development of European governance and the wish to bring Europe closer to citizens. Since 1992, relations between the EU and civil society have had two guiding principles: diversity of dialogue and equal treatment.

The legal framework of the fight against drugs

The Treaty establishing the European Community created a legal framework which constitutes a valuable tool in the fight against drugs on essential points such as the following:

  • money laundering: Directive on the prevention of money laundering in the financial system;
  • the protection of public health: a Council Recommendation on the prevention and reduction of health related harm associated with drug dependence;
  • control: a Regulation on drug precursors;
  • cooperation: a Council Decision on new psychoactive substances.

The EU has also established a European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) which is a Community agency established within the framework provided by the EC Treaty.

Civil society stakeholders in the drugs field

In this green paper, the Commission proposes that the dialogue between the EU and a vast range of organisations active in the fight against drugs be structured and placed on a more durable basis. The Commission therefore wishes to act in harmony with the associations that implement at local level the actions set out in the EU Action Plan on Drugs, especially in achieving the objectives on drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. These organisations and other types of voluntary groups are also often good at developing innovative approaches based on a realistic picture of what is needed.

The Commission must respond to two considerations: it must take account of the diversity of these associations, which are often subdivided along philosophical, scientific and moral lines, on the one hand, and it must ensure that there is effective and organised debate, on the other. The Commission also stresses the valuable contribution of associations which do not directly fight drugs, such as those connected with HIV/AIDS.

The way forward: different options

The Commission proposes two options for organising the dialogue with civil society.

Firstly, a civil society forum on drugs: this wording implies the creation of a broad platform, chaired by the Commission, with a limited number of participants in order for the dialogue to be kept structured and operational. The object is not to create a civil society assembly as a platform for various ideologies but to create a practical instrument to support policy formulation and implementation through practical advice. This forum would not be a formal structure within the Commission. Additionally, it will supplement the existing debate between the governments of Member States and the associations of civil society; the focus will therefore be on European added value. The selection criteria for taking part in this forum are as follows:

  • the organisation has to correspond to the concept of civil society, in other words the associational life operating in the space between the state and the market;
  • the organisation has to operate in an EU Member State or a candidate country. Organisations from European neighbourhood policy countries may also participate, when appropriate;
  • priority will be given to associations which are transnational or in the form of networks in a number of Member States;
  • the organisation has to focus mainly on the fight against drugs, it must have a track record and it must be representative.

There must then be a thematic linking of existing networks. The purpose is to give the Commission technical assistance on issues requiring specific experience or expertise on the basis of the successful model for the treatment of drug addiction.

Background

The harmful consequences of drugs for health and society, as well as drug-related crime, are seen by public opinion as a major concern. Since the 1990s, a European model based on a balanced and integrated approach to drugs has been developed. In the context of the implementation of the EU strategy on drugs for the period 2005-2012 and the 2005-2008 action plan, it is essential that European policy on this matter should still be inspired by the ideas and the experience of the many organisations of civil society which are active in this field.

Stronger control measures for the synthetic drug BZP

Stronger control measures for the synthetic drug BZP

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Stronger control measures for the synthetic drug BZP

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Stronger control measures for the synthetic drug BZP

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2008/206/JHA of 3 March 2008 on defining 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP) as a new psychoactive substance which is to be made subject to control measures and criminal provisions.

Summary

BZP (1-Benzylpiperazine) is a new psychoactive substance that acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system. It a purely recreational drug, with no established or recognised medical value, which is sold over the Internet and at ‘herbalists’ and ‘smart shops’.

The risks associated with the ingestion of this substance are still little known. That is why the Commission asked the Council – on the basis of a joint European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction EMCDDA / Europol report – to measure its health and social risks via a risk assessment based on Council Decision 2005/387/JHA on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances.

The BZP risk assessment exercise produced the following results: 13 Member States and Norway have reported seizures of BZP in quantities from 1 to 64 900 tablets. There is no evidence of an organised crime link.

BZP is a psychoactive substance. The risks associated with its use may include:

  • increased heart rate;
  • raised blood pressure;
  • restlessness and hyperactivity.

It may also have secondary effects, in the ‘down’ phase, that can last for up to 24 hours after the drug was taken. These can include:

  • vomiting and nausea;
  • headache and stomach ache;
  • loss of appetite;
  • anxiety and insomnia;
  • mood swings and irritability;
  • strange thoughts;
  • confusion;
  • palpitations and trembling.

The effects of using BZP are still largely unproven. Although clinical reports tend to establish a link between BZP and seizures, this conclusion is based on a very small number of cases, in which moreover the BZP was detected in post mortem specimens and its role in the death could not be determined since other factors were involved.

The risk assessment report reveals the lack of conclusive scientific proof establishing the global risks of this new substance. To be on the safe side, however, given that it does represent a health risk, it would be wise to make it subject to control and to take appropriate measures.

Final provisions

The Member States are required to make BZP subject to the control measures and criminal penalties provided under their national laws in accordance with the obligations imposed by the 1971 United Nations Convention on psychotropic substances.

Background

A number of initiatives have already been taken. The EMCDDA risk assessment concluded that the use of BZP can result in health problems whose long-term effects are still unknown. Based on this finding, the Commission wants to have BZP made subject to control measures, as provided by the UN Convention on psychotropic substances. This proposal also takes account of the data that have been collected as a result of the new psychoactive substances risk assessment procedure.

Council Decision 2005/387/JHA of 10 May 2005 provides for a three-step procedure for placing this type of substance under control. The first step is to draw up a report collating all available information on BZP. This assessment was carried out by the EMCDDA and Europol before being submitted to the Council on 22 February 2007. The Council responded by asking for a more extensive study of the risks associated with BZP, to be conducted by:

  • the extended scientific committee of the EMCDDA;
  • the Commission;
  • Europol;
  • the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/206/JHA 8.3.2008 OJ L 63 of 7.3.2008

Related Acts

Council Decision 2005/387/JHA of 10 May 2005 on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances [Official Journal L 127 of 20.5.2005].

'Drug prevention and information' programme

‘Drug prevention and information’ programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ‘Drug prevention and information’ programme

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

‘Drug prevention and information’ programme (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Decision 1150/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 September establishing for the period 2007-2013 the specific programme ‘Drug prevention and information’ as part of the General Programme ‘Fundamental Rights and Justice’.

Summary

The death rate from drug addiction in Europe is very high. It is essential to measure the immediate and long-term consequences of drug use on health and social and psychological development, and the equality of the chances of the individuals concerned.

The ‘Drug prevention and information’ programme set up by the European Union has three objectives. Specifically to:

  • prevent and reduce drug use, drug addiction and the associated inherent risks;
  • improve information about drug use;
  • support the implementation of the EU Drugs Strategy.

To this end, the programme supports transnational actions aimed at:

  • creating multi-disciplinary networks;
  • ensuring the expansion of the knowledge base, as well as the exchange of information and good practices;
  • raising awareness of the health and social problems caused by drug use;
  • preventing drug use.

Scope

The actions financed by this programme are:

  • the actions implemented by the Commission (research, surveys, conferences, campaigns, public events, analysis, Internet sites, etc.);
  • transnational projects of European interest presented by Member States or by candidate countries for membership of the EU;
  • the activities of non-governmental organisations and other bodies pursuing aims of general European interest.

The actions developed under this programme are open to public or private bodies, active in terms of preventing, or providing information, on drug use.

The programme is targeted at all groups implicated in drug use, but most particularly at ‘at risk groups’ such as young people, women, vulnerable groups and people living in socially disadvantaged areas.

Other targeted groups include educational staff, parents, teachers, social workers, local and national authorities, medical and paramedical personnel, judicial staff, law enforcement and penitentiary authorities, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and religious communities.

Financing

The programme has a budget for 2007-2013 of EUR 21.35 million. Grants are awarded by the Commission following calls for proposals, taking into account:

  • the conformity of the proposed action with the annual work programme;
  • the consistency of the expected results with the programme objectives;
  • the sum asked for and whether it is appropriate to the expected results;
  • the geographical and social impact of the action and its likely effect on the public;
  • citizen involvement in the organisation of the bodies concerned.

Context

The EU has launched a number of initiatives in its fight against drugs. In addition to the EU Drugs Strategy for the period 2005-2012, an Action Plan was adopted in order to translate the strategy into concrete actions.

The ‘Drug prevention and information’ programme forms part of the general programme ‘Fundamental Rights and Justice’ 2007-2013 aimed at promoting freedom, security and justice in the EU. The latter also includes the Criminal Justice, Civil Justice, and Fundamental Rights and Citizenship specific programmes, and the Daphne III programme on combating violence.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 1150/2007/EC

23.10.2007

OJ L 257, 3.10.2007

Related Acts

Report on the interim evaluation of the specific Programme ‘Drug prevention and information’ for the period 2007-2013 [COM(2011) 246 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The evaluation of the programme shows that it has recorded good results during the first three years of implementation and that several objectives have been achieved. The Commission regrets, however, the insufficient budget it has at its disposal and which prevents the programme from having a real effect at European level. It therefore proposes to increase the financial resources of the programme, and also to prioritise projects with a European dimension, to simplify the administrative procedures and to improve the dissemination of the results obtained.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Exchange of information on drugs

Exchange of information on drugs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exchange of information on drugs

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Exchange of information on drugs

To strengthen cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.

2) Document or Iniciative

Joint Action 96/699/JHA of 29 November 1996, adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, concerning the exchange of information on the chemical profiling of drugs to facilitate improved cooperation between Member States in combating drug trafficking
[Official Journal L 322 of 12.12.1996].

3) Summary

This Joint Action is intended to establish a more cohesive mechanism for the transmission and dissemination of the results of drug profiling in Member States. It envisages the exchange of information relating to the chemical profiling of cocaine, heroin, LSD, amphetamines and their ecstasy-type derivatives MDA, MDMA and MDEA, and such other drugs or psychotropic substances as Member States see fit.

The Europol Drugs Unit is designated as the authority to which information from Member States concerning chemical profiling is to be transmitted.

The Europol Drugs Unit will transmit to all Member States the information supplied under 1.

Act Date
of entry into force
Deadline for implementation in the Member States
Joint action 96/699/JHA 12.12.1996

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Cooperation between customs authorities and business organisations of the Member States

Cooperation between customs authorities and business organisations of the Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation between customs authorities and business organisations of the Member States

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Cooperation between customs authorities and business organisations of the Member States

To consolidate the already cooperative relationship between the customs authorities of the Member States and business organisations in combating drug trafficking.

2) Document or Iniciative

Joint Action 96/698/JHA of 29 November 1996, adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty of the European Union, on cooperation between customs authorities and business organisations in combating drug trafficking [Official Journal L 322 of 12.12.1996].

3) Summary

In order to consolidate the already cooperative relationship between customs authorities of the business organisations operating in the European Union in combating drug trafficking, Member States will establish or further develop Memoranda of Understanding programmes at national level under the guidelines laid down in this joint action and will invite participation in such programmes.

Memoranda of Understanding between customs authorities and business organisations may contain, but need not be confined to, provisions in respect of the following:

  • the exchange of contact names in customs and in the signatory organisation;
  • the provision to customs, by the signatory, of advance cargo or passenger data as appropriate;
  • access by customs to the signatory’s information systems;
  • assessment by customs of the signatory’s security procedures;
  • development and implementation of plans to improve such security;
  • checking of newly recruited staff by the signatory;
  • provision by customs of training for the signatory’s staff.

Customs authorities will periodically review the operation of national Memoranda of Understanding programmes and will also review the implementation of individual Memoranda of Understanding and, in agreement with the signatories, adapt them as necessary to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Member States will notify the Council Secretariat of the measures they have taken to implement the provisions of this joint action one year after its entry into force and thereafter as requested by the Presidency.

Member States may at their discretion extend the scope of Memoranda of Understanding established under the programmes referred to at 1 to cover other offences for which the customs authorities are competent in addition to drug trafficking.

Act Date
of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Joint action 96/698/JHA 12.12.1996

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Approximation of the laws of the Member States

Approximation of the laws of the Member States

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Approximation of the laws of the Member States

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Approximation of the laws of the Member States (2)

To more effectively coordinate and improve the European Union’s strategy for combating illicit drug-trafficking and in particular to improve cooperation in criminal matters in this area.

2) Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution 97/C 10/02 of 20 December 1996 on sentencing for serious drug-trafficking [Official Journal C 10 of 11.1.1997].

3) Summary

Member States will ensure that their national laws provide for the possibility of custodial sentences for serious illicit trafficking in drugs that are within the range of the most severe custodial penalties imposed by their respective criminal law for crimes of comparable gravity.

The factors which might be taken into account regarding custodial penalties that might be applicable in relation to serious drug-trafficking could include, among other factors:

  • the extent of the trafficking,
  • the extent to which the person concerned has profited from the illicit traffic,
  • the involvement in the offence of an organised criminal group to which the offender belongs,
  • the extent to which the offender has control of the drug-trafficking organisation,
  • the victimisation or use of minors.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work


Another Normative about Approximation of the laws of the Member States

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Approximation of the laws of the Member States (1)

Document or Iniciative

Joint Action 96/750/JHA adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning the approximation of the laws and practices of the Member States of the European Union to combat drug addiction and to prevent and combat illegal drug trafficking [Official Journal L 342 of 31 12 1996].

Summary

The Member States are to undertake to cooperate fully in the fight against drug addiction and endeavour to approximate their laws to make them mutually compatible to the extent necessary to prevent and combat illegal drug trafficking in the Union.

The Member States are to endeavour to make the practices of their police, customs services and judicial authorities more compatible with each other, thus making for closer European cooperation to prevent and combat illegal drug trafficking the Union.

The Member States are to undertake to combat illicit movements of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances within the Community, including “drug tourism”.

The Member States are to ensure that under their legal systems the penalties imposed for serious drug trafficking are among the most severe available for crimes of comparable gravity.

The Member States are to endeavour to draft convergent legislation to the extent necessary to make up legal ground or fill legal vacuums as regards synthetic drugs. In particular, they will promote the establishment of a rapid information system to enable such drugs to be identified as substances liable to be prohibited as soon as they appear anywhere in a Member State.

The Member States are to undertake to adopt the necessary measures to effect a tangible increase in operational cooperation between police, customs services and judicial authorities in combating drug addiction and preventing and combating illegal drug trafficking.

The Member States are to ensure that their obligations under the United Nations Conventions on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances of 1961, 1971 and 1988 are applied strictly and effectively.

The Member States are to undertake to take the most appropriate steps to combat the illicit cultivation of plants containing active ingredients with narcotic properties.

The Member States are to undertake, subject to their constitutional principles and the basic concepts of their legal systems, to make it an offence publicly and intentionally to incite or induce others, by any means, to commit offences of illicit use or production of narcotic drugs. They will be especially vigilant as regards the use made of on-line data services, in particular the Internet.

The Member States may maintain or introduce into their territory any additional measure they deem appropriate to fight drug addiction.

Related Acts

Note from the Council of 22 November 2004 on the EUfor the period 2005-2012 [15074/04 – Not published in the Official Journal].

of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking.

of 20 December 1996 on sentencing for serious drug-trafficking [Official Journal C 10 of 11.1.1997].

Lawful transmission of samples of controlled substances

Lawful transmission of samples of controlled substances

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Lawful transmission of samples of controlled substances

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Lawful transmission of samples of controlled substances

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2001/419/JAI of 28 May 2001 on the transmission of samples of controlled substances.

Summary

In accordance with point 43 of the Conclusions of the Tampere European Council and point 4.1.1.4 of the European Union anti-drugs action plan 2000 – 04, and in view of the fact that the fight against drugs is a matter of common concern, this Decision establishes a system for the exchange of samples of controlled products with a view to preventing and detecting criminal offences.

For the purposes of this Decision, “controlled substance” means

  • any substance, natural or synthetic, mentioned in the 1961 United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 protocol;
  • any substance mentioned in the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances;
  • any substance coming under the scope of the Decision already taken or to be taken on the basis of Joint Action 97/396/JHA concerning the information exchange, risk assessment and the control of new synthetic drugs.

To implement the network, each Member State must designate a national contact point, which is the sole body (if appropriate in association with other relevant national bodies) competent for authorising the transmission of samples under this Decision.

The national contact points of the Member State sending the sample and the Member State receiving the sample must agree on the method of transport. However, each consignment must be accompanied by a transmission form, a model of which is annexed hereto. The following means of transport are regarded as sufficiently secure:

  • transport by an official of the sending or receiving Member State;
  • transport by courier;
  • transport by diplomatic bag;
  • transport by registered (express) mail.

The sending and receiving States must agree on the use to be made of the sample, it being understood that samples can only be used for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. Moreover, the sending State may not dispatch a quantity exceeding the amount required for the work of law enforcement or judicial authorities.

The sending State must keep a copy of every transmission form issued for at least five years.

Implementation of this Decision will be subject to evaluation by the Council after at least two and no more than five years after its entry into force.

For more information, see the entry on the European network of laboratories responsible for profiling synthetic drugs.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2001/419/JAI 01.07.01 01.07.01 L 150, 06.06.01

Related Acts

Council Recommendation of 30 March 2004 regarding guidelines for taking samples of seized drugs [Official Journal C 86, 06.04.2004].

The Council recommends that Member States apply the guidelines adopted by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). These internationally accepted guidelines, which should be applied when samples are taken of drugs seized for analysis, should allow for information to be exchanged on the analysis of these samples and guarantee the chain of custody in the samples transmitted.

List of national contact points referred to in Article 3(1) of the Council Decision of 28 May 2001 on the transmission of samples of controlled substances (2001/419/JAI) [Official Journal C 253 of 22 October 2002].

 

Targeting criteria for controls and collection of customs and police information

Targeting criteria for controls and collection of customs and police information

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Targeting criteria for controls and collection of customs and police information

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Targeting criteria for controls and collection of customs and police information

More integrated use of customs and police information for efficient planning of law enforcement measures in combating drug trafficking.

2) Document or Iniciative

Joint Action 97/372/JHA of 9 June 1997 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, for the refining of targeting criteria, selection methods, etc., and collection of customs and police information [Official Journal L 159 of 17.6.1997].

3) Summary

Member States’ customs authorities must strive to optimise the use of targeting criteria and structured selection methods, and the collection of customs and police information on the combating of drug trafficking. For this purpose they must take the measures set out at points 2 to 8, within existing judicial and practical possibilities.

Member States’ customs authorities should make more intensive use of information available from all business sectors concerned, notably the transport sector.

They should step up the mutual exchange of intelligence and information for the purpose of risk analysis by making greater use of the CIS (customs information system) electronic mailbox system, pending the operational development of the CIS database.

They should make greater use of all available European customs information systems regarding sea-, air-, land traffic and others (e. g. AIR-Info, BALKAN-Info, CARGO-Info, MAR-Info, YACHT-Info).

They should improve targeting procedures by organising international joint customs surveillance operations, as provided for in the revised arrangements on this area approved by the Council of 29 November 1996. Participation in such operations by third countries should be encouraged, where appropriate.

Member States’ customs, police and other law enforcement authorities should, as far as possible, intensify mutual exchanges of available intelligence and information. This should apply at national, European Union and international level and also include European Union and international institutions.

Member States’ law enforcement authorities should, where appropriate, analyse the intelligence and information available.

Member States’ customs authorities should draw up guidelines for best practice to encourage greater use of risk analysis techniques.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Operational investigation methods

Operational investigation methods

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Operational investigation methods

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Operational investigation methods

To define a method of simultaneous investigation for identifying activities relating to drug trafficking and the financial structures and assets enjoyed by persons related to trafficking.

2) Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation of 25 April 2002 on improving investigation methods in the fight against organised crime linked to organised drug trafficking: simultaneous investigations into drug trafficking by criminal organisations and their finances/assets [Official Journal C 114 of 15.05.2002].

3) Summary

Under point 43 of the conclusions of the Tampere European Council and point 4.1.1.4 of the European Union action plan to combat drugs 2000 – 2004, the Member States were invited to step up cooperation in the fight against crime. Three initial priorities were set: to combat drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and terrorism. The European Union has shown its firm determination to fight all types of crime on several occasions:

  • the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, held in Palermo from 12 to 15 December 2000;
  • adoption of the Council Framework Decision on money laundering, the identification, tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds of crime;
  • a number of initiatives by Member States concerning inter aliaillicit drug trafficking on the high seas, the establishment of a European network of laboratories analysing synthetic drugs and the establishment of joint investigation teams.

Given that drug trafficking generates considerable assets for criminals, which are then used to finance other criminal activities, the European Union suggests establishing a technique of “simultaneous investigation”, whereby investigations are conducted at the same time into illicit drug trafficking and into the assets held by criminal organisations and those acquired during the investigations, the owners of those assets being identified. This method of “investigating assets”, on the basis of systematic searches in all public or private databases, will make it possible to identify the assets held by criminals (“assets” meaning the collective property and financial rights owned by a person).

There are several advantages of employing the technique of simultaneous investigation. Once the assets held by criminal organisations have been identified, investigators can:

  • decide to seize property to prevent it being sold or put to other uses;
  • identify the persons involved in trafficking and any other persons benefiting from the proceeds of criminal activities;
  • make good any damage caused and possibly compensate victims.

Because drug trafficking activities often extend across borders, the competent law enforcement, court and tax authorities must cooperate in order to identify data on the ownership of assets.

The Council therefore invites the Member States to:

  • apply this method where it proves useful for the purposes of investigations;
  • promote the creation of joint investigative teams where investigations affect more than one Member State;
  • encourage the setting-up of permanent or temporary groups specialised in asset investigation;
  • request the support and cooperation of Europol and the European Police College (CEPOL).

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

 

National programmes for the reduction of drug demand: first report

National programmes for the reduction of drug demand: first report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about National programmes for the reduction of drug demand: first report

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Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

National programmes for the reduction of drug demand: first report

1) Objective

In response to the request made at the European Council meeting in Dublin on 25 and 26 June 1990, the Commission presented a report on work done on drug demand reduction in the Member States.

2) Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 8 November 1990 concerning a report on national programmes for drug demand reduction in the European Community [COM(90) 527 final – Not published in the Official journal].

3) Summary

Responsibility for drug policies is divided up between national, regional and local levels in each Member State. In most Member States policies and general guidelines are established at national level, while the implementation of actions is the responsibility of regional or local bodies. There is a willingness to keep a balance between a decentralised approach involving innovative local activities and the necessity to have a minimum coordination of policies.

The funding of these actions reflects the distribution of responsibilities, but in some Member States levels of Government funding are enhanced by substantial contributions from the non-government sector (in Greece, for example). In several Member States the total levels of funding have shown a substantial increase due to the additional threat of AIDS.

It is difficult to compare the levels and trends of drug use because each Member State uses different methodologies and definitions for data collection and in some cases no consistent data collection effort has been implemented (in the United Kingdom in particular). It is difficult to estimate the total number of drug users since many do not seek help nor come into contact with the authorities. However, on the basis of the data available on the number of known drug users, many Member States have experienced an increase in their number in recent years. In some Member States there are reports of a stabilisation in the overall number of users, in particular for heroin. There is also evidence in some Member States that the use of cocaine and new drugs is increasing.

In most Member States the legal provisions favour the therapeutic approach for drug users. This may be voluntary or compulsory (an alternative to prison). In some Member States there is a tendency to increase the penalties for drug possession or use. With regard to the regulations concerning detoxification and substitution treatments, the awareness of the role of intravenous drug abuse as a risk factor for AIDS infection has led to specific decisions such as the authorisation of methadone as a substitution treatment or the liberalisation of the sale of syringes.

Member States have increased their efforts to prevent drug abuse by implementing coordinated, continuous and structured preventive actions in response to a rapidly evolving situation, but only a few countries have made use of the mass media in their information campaigns.

Treatment structures vary considerably from one Member State to another, ranging from formally structured institutions to voluntary associations. The risk of AIDS transmission has prompted Member States to adopt more flexible approaches in an attempt to reach drug users in their environment and to make help available to them without requiring them to give up drugs first. The balance between health and social services varies between the Member States. The mental health care system also plays a role in some countries.

The awareness of the need for funding and manpower resources has emerged only recently and therefore the structures are not very well developed. There is an urgent need for staff. Special priority and financial resources must also be given to research, which has suffered up to now from the lack of coordination.

Member States’ approaches vary widely and are constantly evolving. They are aware of the importance of drug demand reduction programmes within an overall drug policy which addresses cultural, health and social problems.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work