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Tighter EU controls of methamphetamine and heroine precursors
Stronger controls on drug precursors used in heroin and methamphetamine
production have been proposed by the Commission today.
Drug precursors are legal chemicals contained in a wide range of
products, including pharmaceuticals, perfumes and plastics, but which can also
be illegally diverted to produce narcotics.
The two proposals adopted today seek to close loopholes in current
legislation on drug precursors that could be exploited by illegal drug
They reinforce the controls on specific chemicals, both within the
Single Market and at the EU borders through Customs.
In doing so, the proposed new rules can contribute to early stage
prevention of illicit drug manufacturing, which is an important pillar of the EU
European Commission Vice President, Antonio Tajani, responsible for
industry and entrepreneurship, said:
Securing legitimate trade in the EU's market for the main heroin
precursor — by ensuring and extending the registration of business users — will
allow companies to continue to actively cooperate in the worldwide fight against
diversion of drug precursors and fight against illicit drug production."
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and
"Customs has the dual responsibility of keeping our society safe, while
facilitating trade for legitimate businesses.
Controlling drug precursors is a prime example of how this is applied.
On one hand, the shipments of legitimate businesses using these
chemicals should not be hindered.
On the other hand, everything possible must be done to thwart the
efforts of illegal drug producers.
Today's proposal reinforces Customs' contribution to tackling illicit
drug production, for the benefit of all EU society, citizens and businesses."
The first proposal strengthens Customs controls on two drug precursors,
namely ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
These chemicals are used to make flu and allergy medicines, but are
also illegally exploited to produce methamphetamines (a.k.a.meth, ice, speed or
While ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are controlled both in the EU and
internationally, the trade in medicinal products containing them is not.
Drug traffickers therefore frequently target the legal medicines to
have an easy source of precursors for methamphetamines.
To close this loophole, it is proposed that Customs authorities should
be allowed to seize shipments of medicines containing ephedrine or
pseudoephedrine when there is reasonable suspicion that they are destined for
The second proposal tightens the rules for companies within the EU
using acetic anhydride, which is used in the manufacture of heroin.
Currently EU companies producing or trading acetic anhydride must
register with their national authorities.
This is to ensure that this substance remains in the hands of
legitimate businesses rather than drug traffickers'.
Under today's proposal, end-user companies using acetic anhydride in
their industrial processes would also have to register with the authorities.
Finally, the proposal also aims to establish a European Database on
Drug Precursors, to ensure more efficient data collection on seizures and
stopped shipments, and have a list of EU licensed and registered businesses.
Not only will these measures help block access to the necessary
chemicals for narcotics producers, but they will also create greater legal
security for legitimate EU businesses.
The two proposals will now have to be adopted by the European
Parliament and the Council.