Communication on EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012

The Commission has make a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on an EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 (COM(2008) 567 final) on September 18, 2008. Drugs are a major concern for the citizens of Europe and a major threat to the security and health of European society.

Current Action Plan (2005-2008).

The first Action Plan set out over 80 actions to help coordinate major areas of government intervention in the field of illegal drugs, covering public health, law enforcement, customs, criminal justice and external relations. While implementation is often the responsibility of the Member States, the Commission plays an active part in facilitating and evaluating the work in progress, in addition to monitoring anti-drug legislation.

Towards a new Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012.

The EU Drugs Strategy deals with a complex phenomenon that requires a long-term approach to bring about change. It is centred on the two key dimensions of drug policy, drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction, complemented by three cross-cutting themes, coordination, international cooperation and information, research and evaluation.

Priorities for the period 2009-2012.

1.    Reducing the demand for drugs and raising public awareness: Further improve the effectiveness of measures to reduce drug use and its consequences. This includes particular attention for vulnerable groups and the prevention of poly-drug use (combined use of illicit and licit substances, in particular alcohol).

2.    Mobilising European citizens to play an active part: The Commission proposes to launch a process of consultation with the Member States and European civil society to work towards the acceptance of a European Citizens' Alliance on Drugs. Such a Alliance would contain a commitment and a set of principles to guide citizens to deal with drug-related issues as they may arise in their immediate environment. It would have to be compatible with national laws and customs and should give positive action and self-empowerment a place in the overall quest for a safer and healthier society.

3.    Reducing the supply of drugs: It is needed more effective law enforcement at EU level to counter drug production and trafficking, making full use of the capacities of Europol and other EU structures, based on an intelligence-led approach. More coordinated operations via regional security platforms should be supported.

4.    Improving international cooperation: The effectiveness of EU, the world's major donor in the global fight against drugs and in the struggle for more sustainable solutions to drug cultivation, would benefit greatly from better coordination of national and Community policies.

5.    Improving understanding of the problem: It is needed to increase our knowledge of all aspects of drug use through more and better coordinated research and data, including data on drug-related crime and on the way the illicit drug supply market works.