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News article25 June 2020

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the world drug situation

On the occasion of the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as 'World Drug Day', the European Commission will give the opening remarks at a special event of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the world drug situation.

The theme of the event is "Better Knowledge for Better Care", and will focus on:

  • Raising awareness of the risks of misinformation of many kinds in the drug field;
  • Improving the understanding of the world drug problem;
  • Fostering greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security.

This intervention will be part of a wider exchange initiated by the Commission on the topic, in response to the misinformation that has been surrounding the drug problem during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening remarks by the Commission will be followed by presentations, including from two EU agencies: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and EUROPOL. Last month, the two agencies published the joint Report on EU Drug Markets and Impact of COVID-19. EMCDDA and EUROPOL are working together to improve understanding of drug market developments under COVID-19 and their impact on public health and security in the EU.

The event comes just weeks ahead of the planned adoption by the Commission of a major policy package on internal security that will also include the new direction on drugs policy at EU level. The new EU Drugs Agenda and Action Plan 2021-2025 will set out the political framework and priorities for the EU drugs policy as well as actions for implementation over the next five years. It will provide a framework for tackling drugs in and outside of the EU that is evidence-based, integrated, multidisciplinary, and balanced. The EU Drugs Agenda and Action Plan will also address security threats and trends, and harms related to the drug markets as well as relevant scientific, environmental, social and technological aspects.


Drug trafficking and drug production remain among the most profitable criminal activities for organised crime groups active in the EU. In addition to the impact on individuals in terms of lives lost and potential unrealised, damage can also be seen in terms of decreased quality of life in communities affected by drug problems. That is why the European Commission intends to significantly step up the EU action on tackling illicit drugs by adopting a robust new EU Drugs Agenda and Action Plan 2021-2025. The Drugs Agenda builds on the evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and it’s two consecutive four-years Action Plans on Drugs, the first one covering the period 2013-2016 and the second one covering 2017-2020. It also factors in the context of the drug situation and the state of illicit drug markets in Europe as described in the two EU flagship reports: the European Drug Report 2019 by EMCDDA and the European Drug Markets Report 2019 by EMCDDA and Europol.

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Publication date
25 June 2020