The new office should be able to react more efficiently to new health challenges caused by illegal drugs. Problems with drug markets and supply are also to be observed more closely in future.
The EU wants to strengthen the fight against illegal addictive substances with a drug agency. The current Swedish EU Council Presidency announced on Tuesday evening that the aim is to react more efficiently to new health and safety challenges caused by illegal drugs. An agreement was reached on Tuesday during negotiations between representatives of Parliament and the governments of the member states on an EU legal text for the agency.
Specifically, the concept envisages expanding the mandate of the existing European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) based in Lisbon and renaming it the “Drugs Agency” of the European Union. In particular, the problems associated with drug markets and the supply of drugs are to be given greater attention in the future. The focus would no longer be one-sided on the health problem as it used to be.
5796 drug deaths in 2020 in the EU
In the future, for example, the new agency could also play a role in monitoring trade in drug precursors. In addition, after the risk assessment of new psychoactive substances, it should be able to issue warning messages via a new drug warning system.
According to figures from the latest European Drug Report, 5796 people died in the EU in 2020 from an overdose or as a result of their drug use. That was about 13 percent more than in 2019. The report also states, among other things, that a record high of 213 tons of cocaine was seized in 2020. In addition, EU member states reported 25,000 seizures of amphetamine, representing a record 21.2 tonnes (15.4 tonnes in 2019).
The agreement reached by negotiators now has to be confirmed by the Council of Member States and the European Parliament. However, this is usually a formality.