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Prevention and reduction of risks associated with drug dependence

Prevention and reduction of risks associated with drug dependence

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Prevention and reduction of risks associated with drug dependence

Topics

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

Prevention and reduction of risks associated with drug dependence

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation 2003/488/EC of 18 June 2003 on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence [Official Journal L 165 of 3.07.2003].

Summary

This Recommendation encourages Member States to set as a public health objective the prevention of drug dependence and the reduction of related risks. It also envisages the following measures to reduce substantially the incidence of drug-related health damage (such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis) and the number of drug-related deaths:

  • information and counselling for drug users, their families and the public;
  • methods based on outreach work (local level, contact with specific target groups) as part of national drug policies;
  • encouraging the involvement of peers and volunteers in outreach work;
  • promoting professional networking;
  • providing comprehensive substitution treatment (adequate psychosocial care, detoxification);
  • preventing diversion of substitution substances;
  • access for drug abusers in prison to services similar to those provided to drug abusers not in prison, in a way that does not compromise the continuous and overall efforts to keep drugs out of prison;
  • promoting vaccination against hepatitis B and prophylactic measures against HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as screening for all these diseases;
  • provision of appropriate access to the distribution of condoms, needles and syringes and to exchange centres;
  • provision of emergency services to deal with overdoses;
  • organisation of appropriate integration between primary health care (including mental health care) and social care and specialised approaches in risk reduction;
  • support for training and accreditation for risk reduction professionals.

The Recommendation also proposes the development of appropriate evaluation based on:

  • using scientific evidence of effectiveness as the main basis for selecting the type of intervention;
  • the inclusion of needs assessments at the initial stage of any programme;
  • developing and implementing adequate evaluation protocols for all programmes;
  • establishing and implementing quality evaluation criteria, taking into account the Recommendations of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA);
  • organising data collection and information dissemination according to the EMCDDA recommendations through the REITOX national focal points;
  • the use of evaluation results to develop more effective policies;
  • setting up evaluation training programmes;
  • introducing innovative methods involving all actors and stakeholders;
  • encouraging the exchange of skills, experience, programme results, etc. within the European Union and with the candidate countries.

The Council asks the Member States to report to the Commission on the implementation of this Recommendation within two years of its adoption.
It calls on the Commission to cooperate with the relevant international organisations (World Health Organisation, United Nations International Drug Control Programme, Pompidou Group, Council of Europe) in line with the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004), and to prepare a report, with the technical support of the EMCDDA, with a view to revising and updating this Recommendation.

Background

Endorsed by the Helsinki European Council in December 19999, the European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) included three main targets:

  • to reduce significantly over five years the prevalence of drug use, as well as new recruitment to it;
  • to reduce substantially over five years the incidence of drug-related health damage (HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis) and the number of drug-related deaths;
  • to increase substantially the number of successfully treated addicts.

The EU Drugs Strategy gave rise to the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004), implemented in May 1999, one of the aims of which was to strengthen cooperation at national and European levels. The parallel Community Framework for Action in the field of Public Health (2003-2008), adopted in September 2002, includes the development of strategies to implement measures in this field.

The present resolution was adopted as part of the follow-up to these various texts and to contribute to achieving the targets of the EU Drugs Strategy.

Related Acts

[Official Journal C 168 of 8.7.05].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 22 October 2004 on the results of the final evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) [COM(2004) 707 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 4 November 2002 on the mid-term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) [COM(2002) 599 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 1786/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 adopting a programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008) [Official Journal L 271 of 09.10.2002].

European Union Drugs Strategy (2000-2004) of 1 December 1999 [Council document 12555/3/99 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 May 1999 on the European Union action plan to combat drugs (2000-2004) [COM(1999) 239 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 102/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 adopting a programme of Community action on the prevention of drug dependence within the framework for action in the field of public health (1996-2000) [Official Journal L 19 of 22.01.1997].

The EU drugs strategy

The EU drugs strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The EU drugs strategy

Topics

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 EU drugs strategy (2005-12)

Document or Iniciative

Note from the Council of 22 November 2004 on the EU Drugs Strategy for the period 2005-2012 [15074/04 – Not published in the Official Journal] (pdf ).

Summary

The Council identifies two general aims with regard to drugs:

  • the EU seeks to achieve a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion by complementing the efforts of Member States to prevent and reduce drug use, dependence and drug-related damage to health and society;
  • the EU and its Member States strive to ensure a high level of security for the general public by taking action against drug production, cross-border trafficking in drugs and the diversion of chemical precursors used in drug production, as well as by intensifying preventive action against drug-related crime through effective cooperation embedded in a joint approach.

The strategy concentrates on two policy fields demand reduction and supply reduction and on two cross-cutting themes international cooperation and research, information and evaluation.

Field of action: demand reduction

The following priorities have been identified in the area of demand reduction:

  • improving access to and effectiveness of prevention programmes and raising awareness thereof;
  • improving access to early intervention programmes or measures;
  • improving access to targeted and diversified treatment programmes;
  • improving access to services for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Field of action: supply reduction

The following priorities have been identified in the area of supply reduction:

  • strengthening EU law enforcement cooperation at both strategic and crime prevention levels;
  • intensifying effective law enforcement cooperation between Member States by using existing instruments and frameworks;
  • preventing the illicit import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, including to other Member States;
  • enhancing law enforcement, criminal investigation and forensic science cooperation between Member States that have common interests and/or face the same drug-related problems;
  • intensifying law enforcement efforts directed at non-EU countries, especially producer countries and regions along trafficking routes.

The focus will be on production, illicit (intra-EU) cross-border drug trafficking, criminal networks engaged in these activities and related serious crime. The flow of drugs from the EU to third countries must also be curbed.

Many instruments and frameworks have been established to reduce supply, including the framework decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and applicable penalties in the field of drug trafficking, joint investigation teams, the European arrest warrant, Europol and Eurojust, the financial intelligence unit, confiscation of assets measures, and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols.

Cross-cutting theme: international cooperation

The following priorities have been identified in the area of external relations:

  • coordinated, effective and more visible action by the Union in international organisations and fora to enhance and promote a balanced approach to the drugs problem;
  • special efforts in relation to the candidate countries and potential candidate countries, such as the countries of the stabilisation and association process;
  • assisting third countries, including neighbouring European countries and key drug-producing and transit countries, to be more effective in drug demand and supply reduction, both through closer cooperation among EU-Member States and by mainstreaming drug issues into the general common foreign and security policy dialogue and development cooperation. New cooperation agreements between the EU and third countries should continue to include a specific clause on cooperation in drugs control.

Cross-cutting theme: information, research and evaluation

The following priorities have been identified in the field of information and research:

  • improving EU knowledge infrastructure in the field of drugs and consolidating the drug information systems and tools developed over the 2000-04 period, making full use of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol;
  • each EU action plan should include priority research topics to be fostered at EU level, taking into account the rapid evolution of the drugs problem.

As regards evaluation, the EU drugs strategy 2005-12 makes clear that it is an integral part of an EU approach to drugs policy that serves to give clear indications about the merits and shortcomings of current actions and activities at EU level.

Coordination

The action plans should include initiatives that will contribute to the further development of a European coordination mechanism. EU-level coordination of drugs policy should take place through the Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG), whose function is to prepare a clear and coherent drugs policy for adoption by the Council. If it is to play a leading role in the drugs field, the HDG needs to be kept informed of relevant developments at national level and of activities carried out by other relevant Council working groups.

Monitoring

In 2012, the Commission will organise an overall evaluation of the EU drugs strategy and action plans for the Council and the European Parliament, in cooperation with the EMCDDA, Europol and the Member States.

Background

The current drug situation in the EU is described in the annual reports of the EMCDDA and Europol. The results of the final evaluation of the EU drugs strategy 2000-04 and the action plan on drugs 2000-04 indicate that progress has been made in achieving some of the targets, although the available data does not suggest that there has been a significant reduction in the prevalence of drug use or that the availability of drugs has been substantially reduced.

At its meeting of 17-18 June 2004, the European Council invited the Council to adopt proposals by no later than December 2004 for a new EU drugs strategy for the period 2005-12. This strategy builds on the previous strategy and its action plan, taking into consideration these texts as well as the mid-term evaluation of the action plan, the Council’s response to this evaluation and the results of the final evaluation.

Related Acts

EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 of 20 December 2008 [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].
The EU drugs action plan 2009-12 follows on from that of 2005-08. It builds on the measures established to implement the EU drugs strategy 2005-12, thereby aiming to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs. To that end, the action plan sets out five priority areas with specific actions that coordinate drugs policy at national and European levels.

of 8 July 2005 [Official Journal C 168 of 8.7.2005].

Communication from the Commission of 10 May 2005 – The Hague Programme: Ten priorities for the next five years. The Partnership for European renewal in the field of Freedom, Security and Justice [COM(2005) 184 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

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

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 November 2003 on coordination on drugs in the European Union [COM(2003) 681 final – not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission, wishing to boost coordination on drugs at EU level, explains what is needed and what is at stake, pointing to the main existing models of coordination and emphasising the key elements of effective interaction. It recommends, in particular, incorporating all aspects of drug-related policy (social and health aspects, enforcement measures, youth policy), close cooperation between law enforcement bodies and coordination between them and social and health services, as well as systematic development of the evaluation of strategies and activities in this field.