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.


In accordance with point 43 of the Conclusions of the Tampere European Council and point 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.


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].


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