The European Commission have proposed a new EU Action Plan on Drugs for the period 2017-2020.
According to a statement from the European Commission, the new Action Plan on Drugs provides a strengthened response to the newly-emerging health and security challenges in the area of illicit drug use and trafficking.
The new EU Action Plan proposes the following actions:
- Drug demand reduction: The Action Plan calls for enhanced use of information and communications technologies (ICT) for prevention purposes, such as awareness raising activities, targeting young people in particular. It also encourages measures to better address the needs of older drug users and vulnerable communities as well as focusing on the reduction of health and social harms caused by drug use.
- Drug supply reduction: In order to address the increase of new psychoactive substances (NPSs) across the EU, the Action Plan calls for a rapid adoption and swift implementation of the new legislative package on new psychoactive substances proposed by the Commission in August 2016.It also calls for the use of alternative sanctions for drug-using offenders.
- Co-ordination: The Action Plan suggests further steps for greater coherence and coordination between Council working groups to ensure coherence between demand and supply reduction activities.
- International Co-operation: An improved capacity of EU delegations is necessary to engage on drugs-related issues and networks at regional level. Greater focus should be placed on combating illegal drug crop cultivation and on enhancing alternative development. The EU should also explore ways of engaging with other countries whenever serious drugs-related issues arise.
- Research and information: The Action Plan suggests reinforced efforts in the area of research to identify any potential connections of drug trafficking with other organised crime activities, such as terrorist financing, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings. In addition, it focuses on the need to analyse current cannabis policy models and their impact.
In addition to the upcoming proposed Action Plan, RAND Europe has performed an independent assessment for the European Commission of the current EU Drugs Strategy 2013-20, and also the final evaluation of the previous Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016, with the findings published on the 4th April.
It looks at the extent to which the objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy have been achieved, highlighting the areas where progress has been made and those where progress is lagging. In addition, the evaluation aims to provide evidence to support the Commission’s decision about whether to propose a new Action Plan for the period 2017– 2020, and if so, what changes would be needed compared to the current plan.
The new Action Plan will now be put forward to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and final approval.