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EU Justice Ministers to target Europe’s evolving drug problem

28.05.2013, 11:30 GMT


New report by EU Drugs Agency shows that the main features of the European drug landscape have remained relatively stable in recent years, while record levels of treatment are being provided.

EU Justice Ministers aim to agree a four year Action Plan for the period 2013 to 2016 to tackle the issue at next week’s Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) today launched its European Drug Report 2013: Trends and developments on the state of the drug problem in Europe. This report is of significant value to policymakers and legislators in the EU and Member States developing  strategies to tackle the phenomenon and for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of their actions.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, said:

“The scourge of illicit drug use and its devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities are well known. This report is a clear reminder that tackling Europe’s drug problem must remain a priority for Europe’s leaders. It is critical that we have comprehensive and reliable data and analysis about the state of the problem if we are to respond effectively to this difficult and complex phenomenon.”

The  EMCDDA report is particularly timely in that regard coming just a week before  EU Justice Ministers aim to agree a new four year Action Plan on Drugs (2013-2016)  at  the  Justice  and  Home  Affairs  Council to be chaired by Minister Shatter under Ireland’s EU Presidency.

The Action Plan sets out a wide range of concrete actions that will be implemented to  achieve the objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy under the two policy areas of drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction and across 3 cross cutting themes of coordination, international cooperation and information, research, monitoring and evaluation.

All Actions will identify specific timeframes, responsible  parties, indicators and  data collection/assessment  mechanisms and will focus on areas including:

  • enhancing the effectiveness of drug treatment and rehabilitation
  • promoting effective law enforcement coordination and cooperation within the EU to counter cross border drug trafficking
  • ensuring effective coordination takes place both within the EU and with third countries

Minister Shatter said:

“The drugs problem can not be solved by any one action or any one country alone. A wide range of strategies aimed at reducing supply, reducing demand and providing effective treatment for those with addiction problems is needed and to be effective it must be a coordinated EU response.  It is for this reason that the Action Plan which my fellow Justice Ministers and I will discuss and, I hope, agree next week is so important.”

The draft Drugs Action Plan is the result of intensive efforts by Member States, led by the Irish Presidency with the close support of the European institutions.

To ensure good progress was made on concluding the Action Plan during our Presidency,  in Ireland a  Presidency  Steering  Group  on  Drugs was established with representatives  from  the  key  Departments of Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Justice and Equality.

In also welcoming both the EMCDDA report and the proposed EU Action Plan on Drugs,  Irish Minister  of  State  with  responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016,  Alex White TD, said:

"I welcome the EMCDDA’s report and believe that the proposed EU Action Plan on Drugs will provide an effective and timely framework for concerted action to deal with problem drug use across the European Union.  The Action Plan will facilitate all our efforts to provide opportunities for people to avail of drug treatment services with a view to achieving drug  free  lives, where this is potentially achievable.”

Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will consider the Drugs Action Plan at the JHA Council in Luxembourg on Thursday next week (6 June).

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