Reinforcement of the EU's anti-drug policy
The European Union will increase its efforts to combat narcotic substances, specifically targeting synthetic drugs. On 27 October, the Council adopted a European pact on the subject which sets out guidelines for the future approach.
The pact proposes that member states and relevant EU institutions and agencies work together to suspend production and trafficking of synthetic drugs, as well as smuggling of substances which may be used to produce synthetic drugs, the so-called precursors.
Synthetic drugs, like amphetamine and ecstacy, are manufactured from chemical compounds. Almost every week, a new synthetic drug enters the European market. Many of them are produced inside the EU and use precursors legally available. That has given them their insider name 'legal highs'.
Production and trafficking of illegal drugs are activities perpetrated by organised crime networks operating across borders. The response must therefore be transnational. The pact proposes that all parties join efforts to take on this challenge.
Member states should cooperate, when necessary with Europol and Eurojust, to track, freeze and confiscate proceeds of drug-related crime. They are encouraged to set up joint investigation teams and coordinate their activities. Cooperation with affected non-EU countries is also important.
Exchange of information on new substances and distribution patterns - for example through the Early Warning System - is essential to disrupt trafficking routes and avoid the fast spread of new drugs.
There should be more focus on training for authorities in detecting and dismantling clandestine laboratories. Police and customs need accurate and up-to-date knowledge about production methods and investigation techniques.
The pact complements the Pact to combat international drug trafficking - Disrupting cocaine and heroin routes, adopted in 2010.
Press release (pdf)
European pact against synthetic drugs (pdf)
Press conference webcast