. .


100-line: general information

200-line: alcohol

300-line: drugs and medical substances

310 Characteristics of drugs

320 Medicinal substances

330 Other intoxicants

340 Risks and disadvantages of drug abuse

350 Risks and disadvantages of intravenous drug use

360 Prevention of drug abuse and harms

370 Help for drug and medicinal substance abuse

380 Drug policies and markets

390 Meanings of drug use

400-line: behavioural addictions

500-line: tobacco

600-line: services


Drugs and the brain

384 International co-operation

International interest towards drugs dates back longer than national drug legislation in any given country. Since the beginning of the 20th century, drugs have had a high priority in the agendas of both the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. Also the European Union keeps up this tradition, called the Gentlemen’s Club by Kettil Bruun and his partners in the 1970’s. This essay will briefly present the main actors on the international level and especially the co-operation within the EU.

Drug control of the UN is co-ordinated by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). The drug control activities of the UN are based on the international drug conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988. The national laws on drugs have also been based on these conventions. In 1997, the UNDCP published its first report on the drug situation of the world. Other bodies specializing in drug control within the UN are the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which publishes annually a report on the developments of the drug situation. CND is primarily a policy forming body. In addition to the special organizations, other departments of the UN deal with drug-related issues as part of their daily activities. Drugs have been a subject of UN plenary sessions and special sessions. In June 1998 a special session dealt with a declaration aiming to reduce the demand for drugs.

The drug control of the UN was based on controlling the legal trafficking of drugs. The idea was to limit the production of drugs only for medical and scientific purposes. Since the 1980’s the UN has, however, been increasingly interested in controlling also the illegal production and trafficking of drugs and in new, ‘soft’ ways of decreasing the demand for drugs.

European drug co-operation has been co-ordinated by the inter-governmental Pompidou Group, which operates as part of the European Council. The group has aimed at harmonizing the drug-related concepts and definitions while collecting commensurable epidemiological information on the drug situation throughout Europe. Researchers working for the Pompidou Group publish an annual report on the development of drug trends in 15 cities in Western Europe.

Interpol and the European Drugs Unit EDU of Europol are important actors in the field of drug control. EDU began operations in 1994 as a preliminary phase of Europe’s crime enforcement agency Europol. EDU concentrates on analysis of the informational exchanges between the governments. Europol as an organization is still developing and its final form and functions are not yet clearly defined. Interpol also conveys and analyses information in connection with their special drug department and drug databank. The co-operation between control authorities is co-ordinated also by the World Customs Organization WCO. The versatile nature of co-operation is evident in the fact that already in 1994 a Committee of the European Parliament counted 23 forms of co-operation that related to drug control.

The control co-operation is part of the so-called third pillar of the EU, co-operation in internal and legal matters. Still, the power of decision concerning these matters lies with the governments of the member states. Securing public health is part of the supranational first pillar. The article concerning public health in the Amsterdam Treaty (article 152) divides the power of decision between the member states and the Commission. EU has created a great deal of co-operation around anti-drug activities.

The drug co-ordination unit of the Commission (in Justice and Home Affairs) co-ordinates the drug co-operation within the EU, and it is put to practice in several Directorates-General (DG). In the field of social and health care, the most important unit is the public health department of the DG V in Luxembourg. The department is responsible for designing and implementing the EU programmes Health Promotion and Prevention of Drug Dependence. These programmes also grant funds to national projects. The general requirement is that the project relates to the focal points of the programmes and that at least two other member states take part in the project. In practice it is a great advantage if at least one of the partners comes from Southern Europe. You can find more information about the EU programmes for example on the Internet: http://europa.eu/index_en.htm.

Those who wish to apply for funds should also look into other possible sources of EU funding. The budgets of the Urban and the Horizon programmes of the Social Fund as well as of the new EQUAL programme are far bigger than that of the drug programme. You can find out more at the regional employment service agency and business centre.

Founded within the EU is the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) located in Lisbon. The centre collects information on the drug policies and the drug situation of the member states. The centre also co-ordinates drug research carried out within member states. EMCDDA has been active in developing the evaluation processes of the various ongoing drug prevention programmes.

Timo Jetsu

  • Print this page
  • RSS-feed from AddictionLink (in Finnish)
  • Del.ici.ous
  • Digg
  • Share in Facebook
  • StumbleUpon