A new action plan for tackling drug abuse has been unveiled by the EC even as cocaine consumption in Europe is on the rise.
The plan, for the 2009-2012 period, aims to reduce demand for and supply of illegal drugs, raise public awareness and improve education about the dangers and boost international cooperation on fighting the phenomena.
AdvertisementIt offers ways to improve medical treatment, forge better police and customs cooperation to counter organised crime within the 27 EU nations, but also on drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan and Latin America.
"With up to two million problem drug users in the EU, it's high time to raise awareness of vulnerable groups, especially youth, on the risks of drug taking," said EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot.
EU data shows that cocaine consumption is rising in a number of countries -- notably Britain, Spain and France -- with at least 12 million people estimated to have used the drug.
Cannabis remains the most popular drug -- around 70 million people have used or use it -- while 9.5 million people have taken ecstacy and 11 million used amphetamines.
Around 7,500 people die of drug overdoses each year.
The commission expects the plan to be adopted by EU nations by the end of 2008.