The European Union are thinking about the next drug strategy. This will set some of the international context in which our work will happen and that of the UK governments strategies as they develop.
A paper to the Council of Europe published in November has this to say about our area of interest:
In the field of drug demand reduction, the objective of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 is to contribute to the measurable reduction of the use of illicit drugs, to delay the age of onset, to prevent and reduce problem drug use, drug dependence and drug-related health and social risks and harms through an integrated, multidisciplinary and evidence-based approach, and by promoting and safeguarding coherence between health, social and justice policies.
The paper identifies the following priorities:
- promotion of best practice and the implementation of prevention standards
- improving the availability and effectiveness of prevention programmes (from initial impact to
- to bring to scale effective interventions that respond to specific challenges, for example poly drug use and the emergence of novel psychoactive substances
- developing programmes that delay the onset of drug use and are appropriate to the needs of specific groups, patterns of drug use and settings, with particular attention to be paid to vulnerable and marginalised groups
The strategy has been broadly welcomed by the government, with the Drugs Minister, Jeremy Browne, saying:
We wanted to retain the existing recognition of drug policy as a national competence whilst enabling EU investment and coordination where it can genuinely add value – for example in developing capabilities in third countries that directly impact on the availability of drugs in the UK and encouraging further research and information sharing to enable a rapid national response to emerging threats such as new psychoactive substances.