The consumption of illegal drugs is persisting worldwide, just as are its social consequences. In the European Union alone, drug use is responsible for between 7 000 and 8 000 fatal overdoses every year according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
The Global Commission on Drug Policy recently concluded that the global war on drugs has been a failure. With a view to effectively responding to this major public health threat, it calls upon governments to replace drug policies driven by ideology and political convenience with responsible strategies grounded on science, health, security and human rights, to offer treatment services to those in need and to end the criminalisation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.
As it seems impossible to effectively prohibit drug consumption, drug-checking is one possible measure enabling various problems linked to drugs to be addressed, while reducing the risks linked to their use and increasing the impact of established programmes on consumers of all age groups. However, in most countries drug-checking is unregulated.
In view of the benefits that drug-checking programmes may bring and the legal loophole most countries still face in this area, the Parliamentary Assembly should study the question, explore existing programmes and promote the development of specific legislation as a basis for such interventions in Council of Europe member states.