The Commission launches the European Action on Drugs

The aim of the European Action on Drugs is to seek a European response to a growing problem which is no respecter of borders and to the potentially devastating economic and social consequences of drug abuse, particularly among the youth.

On the International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking, Vice-President Barrot is to launch the European Action on Drugs (EAD) in Brussels at an event involving some one hundred people, at which declarations will be made by the Action's first signatories.

These include national NGOs (such as the International Council on Security and Development ICOS, the Italian Red Cross, and the Prev-Centrum, European NGOs (such as FESAT, the European Foundation of Drug Helplines), public bodies (the City of London Drug Policy Forum, Blagoevgrad municipality), private companies (ETHIAS – BE – Insurance Company), youth organisations (Qrendi Scouts Malta) and individuals such as Jerzy Owsiak, the well-known Polish organiser of open-air music festivals with a social agenda.

After this event, other European organisations will have the opportunity to sign up to the European Action on Drugs, including NGOs, representatives of national and local authorities, state institutions, leisure and sports associations, and companies in a range of sectors, such as insurance and transport, as well as individuals who wish to take practical action in their own areas of responsibility and to make adirect contribution to the goals of the European Action on Drugs. These will include celebrities, who are best placed to get the message across and influence people's behaviour, particularly in the case of the younger generation.

The background

Drugs, which affect the whole of society, continue to pose a serious and growing problem in the European Union:

  • Within the EU, some 12 million people take cocaine or have done so at some time.
  • One EU citizen dies of an overdose every hour.
  • Drugs lead to between 7 000 and 8 000 deaths a year in Europe.
  • Each year there are some 3 000 new cases of drug-related HIV infection in Europe.
  • Between 1.3 and 1.7 million people in the Union are involved in problematic opiate use.    
  • Over one-fifth (22 %) of adult Europeans have used cannabis

The European Action on Drugs is a Commission initiative under the EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012.