In order to step up the fight against illegal drugs, the European Council adopted, in early June this year, a negotiating mandate on the proposal on the European Union Drugs Agency, aimed at turning the current European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction into a full-fledged agency and, above all, at strengthening its role.
The new Regulation will provide the Agency with the means to respond more effectively to the new public health and safety challenges posed by illegal drugs, provide better support to Member States and contribute to improving the international situation.
Data collection, analysis and dissemination will continue to be the Agency’s main task, but under the strengthened mandate it will also be able to:
- Develop general health and safety threat assessment capabilities to rapidly detect new threats and develop regular foresight exercises to detect future challenges.
- Specifically cover poly-substance use, which is the use of drugs in combination with other licit or illicit substances and which is becoming more and more common.
- Increase its cooperation with the national focal points, whose position would be strengthened, enabling them to provide the Agency with relevant data on the national drug and drug addiction situation.
- Establish a network of laboratories to enable the Agency to access forensic and toxicological information.
- Develop evidence-based interventions to raise awareness and issue alerts when particularly hazardous substances appear on the market.
The Regulation will also clarify the Agency’s role in the field of international cooperation, so that it can fully participate in this type of activities and respond to requests from third countries and international organisations.
Negotiations with the European Parliament should begin once the latter has adopted its position.
It is worth noting that the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was established in 1993 in Lisbon. It aims to provide the European Union and the Member States with factual and comparable information on drugs, drug addiction and their consequences, to serve as a basis for policy development, and to guide anti-drug initiatives. Its operation has greatly improved the availability of information on drugs and drug addiction throughout the EU and internationally.