Brussels proposed to strengthen the mandate of the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to tackle the proliferation of the illicit drugs market.
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to strengthen the mandate of the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to tackle the proliferation of the illicit drugs market, which is worth €30 billion a year in the EU.
“The Commission today proposes to strengthen the mandate of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction by turning it into the European Agency for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The proposed changes will ensure that the agency can play a stronger role in identifying and addressing current and future challenges related to illicit drugs in the EU,” the commission announced in a statement.
With the strengthening of this agency created in 1993 and based in Lisbon, Brussels wants the institution to be able to issue alerts “when dangerous substances are knowingly sold for illicit use”, control “the addictive use of substances taken together with illicit drugs” and develop “prevention campaigns at EU level”, it adds.
“The European Anti-Drug Agency will also play a stronger international role”, justifies the commission.
In concrete terms, the new agency will be able to monitor “threats on new developments on illicit drugs that could have a negative impact on public health, safety and security, helping to increase the EU’s preparedness to react to new threats”, as well as “issuing alerts in case particularly dangerous substances become available on the market”.
Among the new tasks is also the monitoring of addictive use of other substances when linked to drug use, the creation of a network of forensic and toxicological laboratories, the promotion of EU-wide prevention and awareness-raising campaigns related to illicit drugs, support for countries and also international cooperation.
It is now up to the European Parliament and the Council to evaluate the Commission’s proposal and adopt the new mandate.
The European Drug Report 2021 estimates that 83 million adults in the EU (28.9% of the adult population) have used illicit drugs at least once during their lives.
In 2019, there were at least 5,150 overdose deaths in the EU, with a steady increase every year since 2012.
In addition, in recent years, the volumes of cocaine and heroin introduced into the EU and the production of drugs, in particular synthetic drugs (amphetamines and ecstasy), for both domestic consumption and export have reached an all-time high.
The EU drugs market is estimated to be worth around €30 billion a year and remains the largest criminal market in the EU area.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the leading authority on illicit drugs in the EU, providing independent, reliable and scientific evidence and analysis on illicit drugs, drug addiction and their consequences, which supports drug control policy-making in the EU.