Handlingsplan for narkotikabekjempelse 2021-2025
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsmeddelelsen, engelsk utgave)
Introduction – A renewed impetus to comprehensively tackle the drug situation
In line with the new Security Union Strategy 2020-2024, the Commission intends to significantly step up EU action on tackling illicit drugs through a robust new EU Agenda on Drugs. In addition to the impact on individuals in terms of lives lost, deteriorated health and potential unrealised, damage can be seen in terms of decreased quality of life in communities affected by drug problems. When it comes to the drug market, the illicit drug market in the EU is estimated at a minimum retail value of EUR 30 billion per year, representing a major source of income for organised crime groups in the EU. It is important to recognise the considerable economic damage attributable to drug use and more generally, the considerable indirect negative impact the drug market has through links with wider criminal activities, the disruption of the legal economy, violence in communities, damage to the environment, and by acting as a significant driver for corruption that can undermine good governance.
All available data indicate that, overall, drug availability within Europe remains high for both natural and synthetic drugs. The European drug market is increasingly characterised by the public having access to a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency drugs that, in real terms, are usually equivalent in price or cheaper than they have been over the past decade. The use of heroin and other opioids still accounts for the largest share of drug-related harms. The Balkan route remains the key corridor for heroin entry into the EU, while the Western Balkans appear to remain an important source of origin for seized herbal cannabis. The cocaine market is the second largest illicit drug market in the EU, after cannabis. The use of containers for cocaine smuggling means that seizures of large volumes of the drug at ports are now common and the cocaine seized at the wholesale level in Europe is of high purity, often above 85%. North Africa appears to be emerging as a more significant transit point for both air and maritime shipments of cocaine and cannabis resin destined for the European and possibly other markets.
Furthermore, significant production of cannabis and synthetic drugs takes place within the EU. In terms of new psychoactive substances, even though there has been a slow-down in the number of first detections in Europe, they continue to be shipped mainly from China and India – also the main source of drug precursors predominantly used in the illicit synthetic drug production in the EU. The EU also appears to be increasingly used as a transit area for some drugs such as cocaine destined for other markets, and drugs such as high-potency synthetic opioids are increasingly traded online and dispatched by post. Lastly, in today’s interconnected world, the drugs phenomenon is becoming increasingly global. This led the international community to agree to strengthen its action, reinforce cooperation and accelerate the implementation of joint commitments to address the global drugs situation as part of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).
Organised crime groups, of which more than one-third are directly involved in the drug markets, are also very adaptive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the movement of bulk quantities of drugs between Member States remained largely unaffected despite the restrictions of movement. However, COVID-19 related lock-down measures had a temporary disruptive impact on the global drug market leading to some shortages of and higher prices for some drugs. Social distancing also created disruptions at the distribution level in Europe, and the unstable situation led to increased levels of violence among mid-level suppliers and distributors. In terms of the health aspects of drugs, demand for drug treatment and harm reduction services could continue to increase while continuity of care for people who use drugs has proved to be a challenge in some Member States, due to staff shortages, service disruption and closure. As the situation is changing fast, it will be equally important to identify at an early stage and develop appropriate responses to the potential medium and long term impact of the current pandemic on drug services, drug use and the operations of the drug market.
The evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and its two consecutive corresponding Action Plans confirmed that the drugs phenomenon and its challenges need to continue to be tackled at the national, EU, and international level. Amongst the findings, it is notable that security and health aspects stemming from illicit drug markets remain central to addressing the broader and horizontal elements of the drugs phenomenon. We must build on the work done in the past under the EU Drugs Strategy and as reflected by the specialised EU justice and home affairs agencies, especially in terms of coordination and cooperation, active discourse and analysis, strengthened dialogue and cooperation on the international stage, and increased understanding of all aspects of the drugs phenomenon and of the impact of interventions. The EU needs a paradigm-shift in drugs policy. Therefore, this Agenda strengthens the EU approach to drugs and delivers a bold drugs policy agenda to drive concrete and ambitious change. It steps up efforts on all dimensions of drugs policy, in particular on the security side where it is more robust and provides for concrete actions to address previous shortcomings.
The EU Agenda on Drugs was developed through a consultative process with Member States and relevant stakeholders. It is informed by the mid-term assessment and final evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and its two consecutive corresponding Action Plans. It addresses the drug situation as described in the EU flagship reports on drugs of 2019 (the annual European Drug Report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the EU Drug Markets Report by the EMCDDA and Europol) and the UNODC’s World Drugs Report . The data referenced throughout the EU Agenda on Drugs is sourced from these reports. It also takes into account the European Guide on health and social responses to drug problems where the technical evidence on what constitutes effective responses to drug use are reviewed.