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EU drugs strategy

EU drugs strategy



EU drugs strategy (2013–2020)


  • It provides the political framework and priorities for EU action in the field of drug policies for the period 2013–2020.
  • By means of an integrated, balanced and evidence-based approach, it seeks to contribute to:
    • reducing the demand for drugs;
    • reducing the supply of illicit drugs;
    • reducing the health and social risks and harm caused by drugs.


The strategy is structured around 2 policy areas:

  • drug demand reduction,
  • drug supply reduction.

The strategy is also structured around 3 cross-cutting themes:

  • coordination,
  • international cooperation and information,
  • research, monitoring and evaluation.

The strategy takes account of new and evolving challenges, including:

  • the emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances (substances that stimulate or depress the central nervous system);
  • the increasing trend of taking drugs in combination, such as with alcohol and prescription medicines;
  • the continued high incidence of blood-borne diseases, especially hepatitis C, among drug users and the potential risks of HIV infections;
  • the continuing high numbers of drug-related deaths within the EU;
  • changing drug trafficking routes and cross-border organised crime; and
  • the use of new communication technologies for the supply of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances.

To meet these challenges, the strategy aims to reduce drug demand and supply by:

  • improving drug demand reduction measures, including in prisons;
  • improving the availability and effectiveness of prevention programmes;
  • investing in effective risk- and harm-reduction measures;
  • expanding drug treatment, including for non-opioid users, as well as integrated models of mental and physical health care;
  • strengthening cooperation and coordination between EU countries and law enforcement and judicial authorities to reduce production, smuggling, trafficking, distribution and the sale of illicit drugs;
  • responding effectively to evolving trends, with special attention to new communication technologies as having a significant role in facilitating drug supply;
  • reinforcing the EU’s legislative framework in a targeted way for more effective policies;
  • contributing to a better understanding of the drugs phenomenon and of the impact of interventions in order to further develop policies and actions.

In addition, the strategy sets out priorities for coordination, international cooperation, information, research, monitoring and evaluation.


The strategy covers the period 2013–2020. The EU action plan for drugs 2013–2016 brings the strategy into operation.

The European Commission is currently conducting an assessment of the EU drugs strategy and action plan. A roadmap of the assessment can be consulted online. The results are expected to feed into the future EU drugs action plan 2017–2020.

For more information, see:


EU drugs strategy (2013–2020) (OJ C 402, 29.12.2012, pp. 1-10)


EU action plan on drugs (2013–2016) (OJ C 351, 30.11.2013, pp. 1-23)

last update 25.07.2016