European Union position

EU flagIn December 2020, the Council adopted the EU Drugs Strategy for 2021-2025. The Strategy aims to protect and improve the well-being of society and of the individual, to protect and promote public health, to offer a high level of security and well-being for the general public and to increase health literacy. The Strategy takes an evidence-based, integrated, balanced and multidisciplinary approach to the drugs phenomenon at national, EU and international level. It also incorporates a gender equality and health equity perspective.

This EU Drugs Action Plan, like the EU Drugs Strategy, is based on the fundamental principles of EU law and it upholds the founding values of the Union — respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights. It is also based on the UN Conventions that provide the international legal framework to address, inter alia, the use of illicit drugs, as well as on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Action 7.4

7.4. Provide alternatives to coercive sanctions.

Although all Member States employ at least one alternative to coercive sanctions10, for drug using offenders and for people arrested, charged with or convicted for drug-related offences or people found in possession of drugs for personal use, stepping up efforts and mainstreaming the implementation of effective measures11 should be progressed. In this
regard, drug consumption and/or drug possession for personal use or possession of small amounts do not constitute a criminal offence in many Member States, or there is the option to refrain from imposing criminal sanctions. More comprehensive and in-depth data and exchange of best practices between Member States is needed in this area.