Photo: Ministry of Interior
EU National Drug Coordinators held a meeting on 3 May in Sofia in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The meeting dedicated to prevention and therapeutic treatment of the use and abuse with new psychoactive substances (NPS) was organised jointly by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health.
Participants discussed the possibilities for enhancing the cooperation between the involved institutions, and for developing an adequate, multidisciplinary approach in response to “designer drugs” illicit market trends. It was highlighted that NPS pose a specific threat with international dimensions. Hence, the improvement of legislation at national and European level was outlined as effective step, as well as the adoption of uniform applicable European legislation for achieving flexible monitoring for them. The vital role of another key aspect - the development of joint policies for active prevention – was also emphasised.
"In order to address successfully this problem, we need close cooperation between all involved institutions, organisations and the civil society,"
Deputy Minister of Interior Stefan Balabanov said in his welcome address.
He stressed the need for serious measures and actions in countering the distribution of non-controlled substances, avoiding the legal control by altering the chemical structure of known narcotic substances. In this context, Bulgaria's positive experience was shared – as of 2011, the country adopted flexible legislative measures to enable including new substances in the ban lists.
"In recent years, trends in a number of EU countries indicate development of illicit drug markets towards new psychoactive substances evading drug control laws. Bulgaria, also affected by the problem, has not delayed its reaction and has taken immediate measures,"
said Deputy Minister of Health, Ms. Svetlana Yordanova, at the meeting.
She firmly supported the view that monitored trends require development of new approaches in enhancing the drug demand reduction efforts and in addressing the NPS-related harms.
During the discussions, the experts exchanged best practices and experience in the organisation and coordination of preventive activities against the distribution and use of narcotic substances. Particular emphasis was placed on active partnership in finding result-oriented common solutions.