The EU drugs action plan

The EU drugs action plan

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


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 action plan (2005-08)

In order to counter the drugs problem from the standpoint of both health protection and enforcement, the action plan provides all the European bodies concerned with guiding principles to help them fix their priorities in this area. The guidelines are based on five specific actions: coordination, reduction in demand, reduction in supply, international cooperation and information, research and assessment.

Document or Iniciative

EU Drugs Action Plan (2005-2008) of 8 July 2005 [Official Journal C 168 of 8.7.2005].


This action plan provides a consistent framework at European Union (EU) level for the adoption of enforcement and preventive measures aimed at reducing the supply of and demand for drugs. Its ultimate aim is to significantly reduce the prevalence of drug use among the population as well as to lessen the social harm and damage to health caused by the use of and trade in illicit drugs.

The action plan follows the structure and the objectives of the EU drugs strategy 2005-12, and seeks concrete results in specific priority areas.

For each objective, the Commission sets out the action(s) proposed, the corresponding timetable, the responsible authority, as well as the assessment tool or appropriate indicator. About eighty such actions are provided for.

The actions are based on five priorities:

  • coordination of anti-drugs policy at EU level;
  • demand reduction;
  • supply reduction;
  • international cooperation;
  • information and research on drugs, and evaluation of the actions undertaken.


The action plan stresses the importance of effective coordination at Community and national levels. In particular, it provides for the adoption of national programmes conforming to the EU strategy and action plans, the appointing of a drugs coordinator within each Member State and the Commission and more involvement by civil society.

Furthermore, the action plan appoints the Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG) as the leading forum in the Council for coordination on drugs and recommends the systematic mainstreaming of drugs policy into relations and agreements with relevant countries.

Demand reduction

The Member States and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) must, in particular, extend the scope of drug demand reduction programmes, assess them and disseminate the best practices assessed.

Furthermore, Member States must improve access to prevention programmes in schools and make them more effective. They must also improve prevention methods and the detection of risk factors in certain target groups, especially young people, as well as the dissemination of these data to the professionals in order to implement early intervention programmes.

Member States should also ensure that targeted treatment, re-education and social reintegration programmes that incorporate tested psychosocial and pharmacological strategies are available and accessible and include drug addicts not reached by existing services, with particular attention being paid to specialised services for young people.

The plan also recommends developing further alternatives to imprisonment for addicts and the setting-up of prevention, treatment and reintegration services for prisoners.

As regards the health of drug users, a Commission report on the implementation of Council Recommendation 2003/488/EC concerning the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence is to be submitted by 2006 at the latest. Member States must also improve access to harm reduction services and treatment, and also set up programmes preventing the propagation of the AIDS virus, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases. They should also endeavour to reduce the number of drug-related deaths.

Supply reduction

Reducing supply means improving training for professionals and strengthening police cooperation between Member States and, where appropriate, with Europol, Eurojust and third countries. Achieving this aim will entail:

  • implementing operational enforcement programmes (joint investigation teams, etc.) and joint intelligence projects;
  • maximum use of the operational and strategic potential of Europol by improving the regularity with which relevant information is sent to the agency and made available to the Member States;
  • strengthening controls on the EU’s external borders;
  • specific measures to deal with the cross-border trade in drugs.

The action plan also contains measures to reduce the production of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and synthetic drugs, as well as trade in them, in particular by implementing operational joint programmes, collecting intelligence on third countries involved in the manufacturing and trading of such drugs, sharing best practice and exchanging information. Measures will also be adopted to combat the diversion and smuggling of drug precursors, such as the implementation of projects like the European joint unit on precursors.

The action plan also covers activities connected with the supply of drugs, chiefly in the form of measures targeted at money laundering and the seizure and re-use of financial products connected with drugs, in particular through exchanges of information and best practices. Similarly, certain measures are aimed at highlighting the links between drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism, as well as at collecting data on the use of information technologies in drug-related criminal activities.

International cooperation

The action plan aims to improve the coordination, effectiveness and visibility of EU action in international organisations and forums such as the United Nations, in particular by presenting joint positions and promoting its drugs strategy.

In addition, particular efforts must be made to improve assistance given to applicant countries, potential applicant countries or countries affected by the neighbourhood policy, in order to implement the acquis in this area or take the necessary action. Such efforts include technical assistance and the signing of appropriate agreements with the countries concerned.

Furthermore, whilst continuing its political commitment and cooperation with regard to third countries concerned by the drugs problem, the EU must intensify its efforts at enforcement, focussing in particular on producer countries and the regions in which the drug trafficking routes are located.

Information, research and evaluation

In order to gain a clearer picture and understanding of the drugs problem, the action plan calls for the supply of reliable information, in particular through the introduction of five key epidemiological indicators. Emerging trends must also be identified, as well as user habits and characteristics of the drugs markets, by means of surveys, Community guidelines and tools for detecting and following up such trends.

The action plan encourages research into the factors underlying dependency and into questions on the effects of certain drugs and effective health measures. The action plan also encourages the setting-up of excellence networks in the field of drug research.

Follow-up of the action plan

Assessment tools and indicators for each action, which were designed with the assistance of the EMCDDA and Europol, will help the Commission to monitor the implementation of the action plan.

The Commission will carry out an impact study in 2008, in order to propose a second action plan for 2009-12. It will conduct a final assessment of the strategy and the action plans in 2012.


The EU anti-drugs strategy, adopted by the Brussels European Council in December 2004, includes a series of measures designed to curb demand for drugs, improve treatments for drug addicts and reduce the availability of illegal drugs. It commits Member States to strengthening the cohesion of their drug enforcement policies. It establishes two consecutive plans between 2005 and 2012. This strategy is an essential element of the Hague Programme, a multiannual programme aimed at strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU.

Related Acts

 of 20 December 2008 [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].

The EU drugs action plan for the period 2009-12 follows on from that for the period 2005-08. Taking into consideration the lessons learned over the first four-year period, the plan builds on the established framework to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs.

Commission staff working document – Accompanying document to the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on an EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012) – Report of the final evaluation of the EU drugs action plan (2005-2008) [SEC(2008) 2456 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 10 December 2007 on the 2007 Progress Review of the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2005-2008) [COM(2007) 781 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission identifies some positive aspects, in particular the convergence of national policies and further progress towards completion of the strategy’s objectives. However, it points to a lack of information on the impact the actions have in the framework of the anti-drug strategy. It therefore advocates the establishment of a methodology for evaluating the impact of these actions, adding that efforts should be pursued on the exchange of national information and alignment of the action plan indicators. It indicates its intention to undertake a final evaluation of the 2005-08 action plan on drugs and to draft a proposal on the 2009-12 action plan.

Commission staff working document of 21 December 2006 – 2006 Progress Review on the implementation of the EU Drugs Action Plan (2005-2008) [SEC(2006) 1803 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Another Normative about The EU drugs action plan


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 action plan (2009-12)

Document or Iniciative

EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 of 20 December 2008 [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].


Following on from the EU drugs action plan 2005-08, the current action plan builds on the measures established to coordinate drugs policy in Member States. These two action plans implement the EU drugs strategy for 2005-12, which was adopted by the European Council in December 2004. The overall aim of these instruments is to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs, as well as the social and health damage the use of and trade in drugs causes.

Based on the existing framework, the action plan for the period 2009-12 provides for specific actions under five priority areas:

Improve coordination

In order to develop and implement drugs policy more effectively, coordination and cooperation at the European and national levels must be strengthened. The Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG) should pro-actively coordinate EU drug policy. At the same time, the Council together with the Commission must ensure that the internal and external drugs policies are coherent. To move forward with specific and urgent issues, the national drugs coordinators should be convened on a regular basis.

At the national level, a balanced and integrated approach should be taken in forming drugs policy, with the civil society enabled to participate in informing thereof. The Commission should consult the Civil Society Forum on Drugs at least once a year and invite civil society (via “The European Alliance on Drugs” initiative) to contribute to the fight against drugs.

Reduce demand

The measures that reduce drug use and the related health and social consequences must be made more effective. In particular, the accessibility to as well as availability and quality of services that prevent, treat and reduce harm should be improved. Successful prevention programmes and interventions should be made available for a variety of target groups. Due regard should be given to the specific needs of drug users, especially in terms of age, gender, cultural background, etc. Targeted measures should also be put in place to prevent high risk behaviour of drug users.

The offer of drug treatments that consist of both psychological and pharmacological measures should be improved and new rehabilitation and re-integration programmes developed. The availability and effectiveness of demand reduction interventions should be surveyed by Member States. They should also agree on common minimum quality standards and benchmarks for these services.

Member States should make more use of sanctions other than prison to punish drug-offenders. At the same time, services for drug users in prison should be developed, with particular emphasis placed on health care as well as follow-up care upon release. Member States should also take steps to guarantee access to appropriate services to prevent the propagation of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infectious diseases, as well as to reduce the number of deaths caused by drugs.

Reduce supply

Law enforcement cooperation at European level must be improved in order to fight drug production and trafficking effectively. To that end, multidisciplinary operations involving Europol, Eurojust, as well as police, customs and border control services should be used to a greater extent through bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives, namely joint investigation teams (JIT) and joint customs operations (JCO). Furthermore, judicial cooperation among Member States should be improved, especially by encouraging the full application of EU instruments for mutual recognition and assistance.

With a view to responding to emerging threats in a rapid and effective manner at the operational level, regional security platforms, such as the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) and the Baltic Sea Task Force (BSTF) should be set up. At the same time, manufacturing and supplying of synthetic drugs as well as the trafficking of drug precursors must be diminished. This requires enhanced border control management and international operational cooperation.

Improve international cooperation

The effectiveness of cooperation with third countries and international organisations must be improved. The EU drugs policy must be incorporated into the general development and security agenda. Alternative development projects and programmes should be supported through increased financial aid. Projects aimed at producer countries and countries along trafficking routes should be stepped up to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs. Similarly, regional and intraregional cooperation funded by Member States and EC programmes should be enhanced with third countries. Monitoring and assessment tools must also be developed to evaluate EU assistance.

The European integrated and balanced approach to the drugs problem should be promoted, in particular through the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Furthermore, EU drug-related activities should be coordinated with a wide range of international programmes.

Finally, the candidate and stabilisation and association process countries should be given technical and other assistance so that they may become familiar with the EU acquis and take the necessary actions concerning drug-related issues. Such dialogue should also be developed with the European Neighbourhood Policy countries.

Improve understanding of the drugs phenomenon

Understanding of the drugs phenomenon in the EU must be increased, not least to raise awareness among citizens, but also to expand the knowledge base for public policy. This should be achieved through the promotion of research and of exchanges of drug-related data.

It is essential that monitoring instruments, such as the five key epidemiological indicators of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), be further developed to assess the drug situation in Europe. Member States must regularly evaluate their drug policies and amend them accordingly.

The current action plan shall be reviewed annually. In addition, the implementation of the EU drugs strategy for 2005-12 and of this action plan shall be assessed in 2012, with a view to considering any follow-up actions.

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