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Evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020

Date of roadmap: 28 November 2018

Drugs are a complex social and health problem that affects millions of people in the EU and globally. The European Drug Report 2018 points out that 92 million adults (or just over a quarter of 15- to 64-year-olds) in the European Union are estimated to have tried illicit drugs during their lives. In 2016, 7929 overdose deaths occurred in the EU. In order to better address this complex issue, the European Union decided to adopt consecutive EU Drugs Strategies and linked action plans. The EU Drugs Strategy provide the overarching political framework and priorities for EU drugs policy as identified by Member States and the EU.

The main objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 are:

  • to contribute to a measurable reduction of the demand for drugs, of drug dependence and of drug-related health and social risks and harms;
  • to contribute to a disruption of the illicit drugs market and a measurable reduction of the availability of illicit drugs;
  • to encourage coordination through active discourse and analysis of developments and challenges in the field of drugs at EU and international level;
  • to further strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the EU and third countries and international organisations on drug issues;
  • to contribute to a better dissemination of monitoring, research and evaluation results and a better understanding of all aspects of the drugs phenomenon and of the impact of interventions in order to provide sound and comprehensive evidence-base for policies and actions.

The current EU Drugs Strategy has been adopted for the period 2013-2020. It was the basis for the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016 and for the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020. The 1st action plan was evaluated as part of the mid-term assessment of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020. The mid-term assessment concluded that the Commission should propose a new Action Plan for the period 2017–2020 building on the previous one, rather than taking a new approach.

Based on the EU Drugs Strategy, the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 lists 15 objectives broken down in actions to be implemented in order to achieve the objectives of the Strategy. Actions are set out under the two policy areas of the Strategy, i.e. drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction. In addition, the following three cross-cutting themes are addressed: coordination; international cooperation; and information, research, monitoring and evaluation.

The main objective of the evaluation is to assess the functioning of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020, as well as of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 and the extent to which the objectives have been reached. The outcomes of the evaluation will support the reflection process on the way forward in this policy area, to be decided by the next Commission. The evaluation will look at the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and coherence of the actions undertaken on the basis of the Strategy and of the Action Plan, as well as at the achieved EU added value. The evaluation should analyse in particular the extent to which the five objectives of the Strategy were met based on measurable evidence and where the measures implemented at European Union and national level were successful.

Furthermore, the outcome of the current on-going evaluation of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) will have to be taken into account in this evaluation.

Roadmap for the evaluation

The Roadmap ( ) published in November 2018 serves to inform stakeholders and citizens about how the Commission intends to carry out the evaluation of the Directive.

Documents relating to the evaluation

Public Consultation

A Public Consultation was carried out as part of the evaluation. It was launched on 12 November 2019 on the European Commission's website and was open for 12 weeks. The aim of this consultation was to gather views from private individuals, non-profit/private organisations, and national/regional/local public administrations on the Drug Strategy.

Documents in relation to this consultation

List of reference documents

EU policy documents

Other relevant EU legislation