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EU drugs policy

The European Union (EU)s drugs policy involves various activities, focusing on both public health and law enforcement. The legal bases for EU action are Article 83(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and Article 168 TFEU, which stipulates that the EU should complement Member States’ actions in reducing drug-related health damage, including by information and prevention measures.

The EU is taking strategic and operational measures to reduce drug supply and demand and works closely with all partners at the national and international levels, EU institutions, bodies and agencies (such as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)), as well as civil-society organisations.

A component of the EU’s security union strategy, the EU drugs strategy 2021-2025, was adopted in December 2020. This seeks to:

  • protect and improve the well-being of society and of the individual;
  • protect and promote public health;
  • offer a high level of security and well-being for the general public;
  • increase health literacy.

EU legislation on drug-related issues concerns, in particular, drug trafficking and new drugs. It defines drug trafficking offences and sets minimum rules on sanctions. The EU has also set up a system to exchange information on new drugs, assess their risks and subject to control any new drugs that are harmful.

In the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the following funds will address various drug-related challenges:

  • Internal Security Fund 2021-2027
  • EU4health 2021-2027
  • Horizon Europe.