TWO SWEDISH INITIATIVES IN THE FIELD OF
Initiative of the Kingdom of Sweden with a view to the adoption of a Council Decision establishing a system of special forensic profiling analysis of synthetic drugs.
Initiative of the Kingdom of Sweden with a view to the adoption
of a Council Decision on the transmission of samples of
illegal narcotic substances.
Explanatory memorandum related to two Swedish initiatives in the field of drugs.
||Articles 30, 31 and 34(2)(c) EU; consultation; unanimity
|Basis of consideration:
||Minister's letter of 20 March 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 28-vi (2000-01), paragraph 5 (14 February 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
11.1 These two Swedish initiatives aim to
improve the analysis of synthetic drugs and the pooling by Member
States at EU level of police and forensic information in order
to target production sites and distribution networks for synthetic
drugs in Europe. Documents (a) and (b) are draft Decisions addressing,
respectively, the profiling analysis of drugs and the transmission
of samples. Document (c) is an explanatory memorandum covering
11.2 When we last considered these documents
(in February), we left them uncleared. We asked the Minister for
a full explanation of the benefits to be gained from the proposals,
since her Explanatory Memorandum had not convinced us that these
would outweigh the extra cost and administrative effort involved
in implementing them.
The Minister's letter
11.3 The Minister has now written to us
with much fuller information about the proposals. She begins by
telling us about the scale of the problem in the UK, saying:
"'Global Illicit Drug Trends 2000' published
by the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention showed
that in 1997-98 the greatest weight of seizures of amphetamine-type
stimulants was in the UK and the British Crime Survey 1998 showed
levels of 'last month' use of amphetamine and Ecstasy among 16-29
year olds at levels of 4% and1% of the general population. We
believe that these figures and the harms which the drugs can do
warrant innovative methods for reducing supply to the United Kingdom.
The problems are also apparent in Europe and there is some evidence
that Europe is acting as an exporter of these drugs to the United
11.4 The Minister then explains the rationale
for the proposals and the reasons for the transmission of samples.
She tells us:
"Under the initiative samples of seized amphetamine
and amphetamine derivatives would be analysed so as to establish
whether the seized drugs came from a particular batch and whether
seizures from the same batch had been made elsewhere. The results
would be made available both to the seizing authority and Europol.
The information, with any other available intelligence, would
enable a better idea to be gained about the sources of these drugs
and transmission routes, enabling the enforcement authorities
to target their efforts more effectively. The United Kingdom enforcement
authorities all support the initiative.
"Thresholds will be set in order that sufficient
numbers of seizures are analysed but not too many. The ultimate
intention is that countries should be able to undertake the necessary
analyses within their own countries using standardised techniques
so that the results are comparable. That would obviate the need
for samples to be transmitted between different Member States.
However, scientific advice is that that is not possible at the
moment and that for results to be comparable, tests on a particular
type of drug have to be done by one forensic laboratory. It is
this situation which leads to the need to transmit samples."
11.5 On the question of costs, the Minister
"The Drug Trafficking Working Party has not
yet resolved how the costs should be met. The Presidency's original
suggestion was that Member States should meet their own costs,
including the costs of running a forensic laboratory if one was
located in their country. The Group does not regard that as very
satisfactory and the Presidency is therefore exploring the possibility
of securing EU funding for the project. As it is there is not
yet an estimate of costs: these will depend on the number of analyses
undertaken (which in turn will depend on the thresholds which
are set), transmission costs and on the analytical costs themselves."
11.6 Finally, the Minister tells us that
the proposals offer the possibility of securing information which
is not available by other means. This information will mainly
be used to support activities against supply but it may also shed
light on amphetamine and amphetamine-derivative production and
11.7 The Minister's letter provides the
explanation we requested, and makes her own support for the proposals
more explicit. We now clear all the documents.