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Exchange of information on new synthetic drugs

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1) OBJECTIVE

The creation of a mechanism for rapid exchange of information on new synthetic drugs and the assessment of their risks in order to permit the application of the measures of control on psychotropic substances, applicable in the Member States, equally to new synthetic drugs.

2) ACT

Joint Action of 16 June 1997 concerning the information exchange, risk assessment and the control of new synthetic drugs [Official Journal L 167, 25.06.1997].

3) SUMMARY

This Joint Action concerns new synthetic drugs which are not currently listed in any of the Schedules to the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and which pose a comparable serious threat to public health as the substances listed in Schedules I or II thereto and which have a limited therapeutic value. It relates to end-products, as distinct from precursors in respect of which Council Regulation (EEC) No 3677/90 of 13 December 1990 laying down measures to be taken to discourage the diversion of certain substances to the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and Council Directive 92/109/EEC of 14 December 1992 on the manufacture and the placing on the market of certain substances used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances provide for a Community regime.

Each Member State will ensure that its Europol National Unit and its representative in the Reitox network provide information on the production, traffic and use of new synthetic drugs to the Europol Drugs Unit (EDU) of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), taking into account the respective mandates of these two bodies. The EDU and the EMCDDA will collect the information received and then communicate this information in an appropriate manner immediately to each other and to the Europol National Units and the representatives of the Reitox network of the Member States, to the Commission and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products.

The information referred to above will include:

  • a chemical and physical description, including the name under which a new synthetic drug is known,
  • information on the chemical precursors,

At the request of one of the Member States or the Commission, the EMCDDA will convene a special meeting under the auspices of the Scientific Committee extended with experts nominated by the Member States and to which representatives of the Commission, the EDU and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, shall be invited.
On completion of the risk assessment, a report will be drawn up on the findings. In the report all aspects will be addressed. All opinions on these aspects will be reflected in the report.
The risk assessment will be carried out on the basis of information provided by the Member States, the Commission, the EMCDDA, the EDU of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products and taking into account all factors which, according to the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, would warrant the placing of a substance under international control.

The Council may, on the basis of an initiative to be presented within a month from the date on which the report of the results of the risk assessment pursuant to Article 3 is established and acting in accordance with Article K.3 (2) (b) of the Treaty, adopt unanimously a decision defining the new synthetic drug or drugs which are to be made subject to necessary measures of control.

4) IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

Report from the Commission to the Council called for by the Joint Action on New Synthetic Drugs (97/396/JAI) concerning Ketamine [COM(2000)737 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Report from the Commission to the Council called for by the Joint Action on New Synthetic Drugs (97/396/JAI) concerning GHB (gammahydroxybutyrat) [COM(2000)737 final- Not published in the Official Journal].

5) FOLLOW-UP WORK

On 13 September 1999 the Council adopted a Decision designed to extend the scope of the joint action. Following an evaluation of the risks linked to 4-MTA (amphetamine derivative), which the Presidency asked the EMCCDA to carry out in February 1999, 4-MTA is now one of the new synthetic drugs which is to be made subject to control measures and criminal provisions in accordance with the 1971 United Nations Convention [Official Journal L 244, 16.06.1999].

Council Decision of 28 February 2002, concerning control measures and criminal provisions linked to the new synthetic drug PMMA [Official Journal L 63, 06.03.2002].
At a meeting called by the EMCDDA in October 2001, the Commission examined a report on the risks linked to PMMA (paramethoxymethylamphetamine) a substance similar to amphetamine. The report states that four Member States (Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) already control this substance under their legislation. At present, PMMA is not on any of the lists of the United Nations Convention of 1971 on psychotropic substances, although it endangers health and has no therapeutic effect. It is therefore necessary that PMMA should be subject to the controls and criminal penalties provided for in Joint Action 97/396/JHA. This Decision entered into force the day following its publication in the Official Journal.

 
Last updated: 06.03.2002
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