The European Commission has unveiled a new four-year action plan for tackling drug abuse. The plan aims to reduce demand for and supply of illegal drugs. It also seeks to improve public education about the dangers.
Brussels said EU member states are increasingly working closer together. Their national policies are converging, with EU-wide testing soon to be in place to catch drivers under the influence of cannabis.
EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said: “We have more and more risks with young people smoking joints. Without their realising it, their behaviour behind the wheel presents serious dangers.”
Barrot called on governments to spend more on prevention and treatment programmes. In spite of a recent decrease in the number of drug-related deaths – and the spread of HIV – some 7,500 Europeans die from overdose each year.
Other priorities include fighting crime rings in the Balkans and strengthening anti-smuggling forces on shipping routes. Brussels expects the action plan to be adopted by the EU governments before the end of the year.