Customs controls: New measures needed to tackle illicit drug production in the EU

The European Commission has today published a report on the evaluation of the EU’s drug precursor policy, which has been conducted in consultation with stakeholders at EU and national level. The aim of this policy is to curb the availability of illegal drugs.  To achieve this, it is crucial to prevent criminals including organised criminal groups from getting their hands on the chemicals they need to produce them. These chemicals are called drug precursors. The evaluation found that, while the EU’s drug precursor policy is overall still effective, there is a need to address the production and trafficking of ‘designer-precursors’. These are chemicals that are purposefully made to circumvent controls by the authorities and usually have no known legitimate use. The report found that criminals create new substances more quickly than the EU can list them as illegal under current legislation. Moreover, further action is needed to strengthen the fight against the diversion and trafficking of these substances. On one hand, cooperation between the private sector, and in particular the chemical industry, and the relevant authorities should be improved in order to identify suspicious orders. At the same time, it is important to look into ways to reduce the administrative burden on operators and authorities. At EU level, this could be done, for example, by linking import and export procedures for drug precursors to the Single Window Environment, leading to faster and more secure international trade. More information is available here