New European Union Drugs Agency starts work with broader mandate

Opening of new European Union Drugs Agency

Today, the European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) officially starts work in Lisbon replacing the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The development is the result of legislation entering into application today, which revises the EMCDDA mandate and name and formally establishes the EUDA (1). With new tools and competencies, the EUDA will play a key role in strengthening the EU's response to emerging health and security challenges posed by illicit drugs. 

Why a new agency? Following an external evaluation of the EMCDDA, the European Commission called for a broader and more proactive remit for the agency in January 2022 to help it address new challenges posed by an increasingly complex drug phenomenon and the emergence of potent new substances. The EU legislative process was concluded in June 2023, setting the EMCDDA on a one-year transition course to becoming the EUDA.

New services: The ultimate goal of the EUDA is to strengthen the European Union’s preparedness on drugs. Its work will be organised around four inter-connected service categories:

  • Anticipate: Helping the EU and its Member States anticipate future drug-related challenges and their consequences.
  • Alert: Issuing real-time alerts on new drug risks and threats to health and security.
  • Respond: Helping the EU and its Member States strengthen their responses to the drug phenomenon.
  • Learn: Facilitating EU-wide knowledge exchange and learning for evidence-based drug policies and interventions.

New mechanisms: To ensure EU preparedness in the drugs field, new mechanisms have been created, including:

  • European Drug Alert System, which will issue alerts when serious drug-related risks appear on the market. This complements the existing EU Early Warning System (EWS) on new psychoactive substances.
  • European Threat Assessment System, which will boost how the EU prepares for, and reacts to, emerging or potential health and security threats.
  • European Network of Forensic and Toxicological Laboratories, which will foster information exchange on new trends and train national toxicologists and forensic drug experts.

Events this week

3 July: Official opening of the EUDA in the presence of European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson (press conference | inauguration). In the margins of the press conference, the EUDA will sign a Working Arrangement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador, in the presence of the Commissioner. The agreement will be signed by EUDA Executive Director Alexis Goosdeel and H.E. Ambassador Xavier Aliaga Sancho, Ambassador of Ecuador to the European Union

4–5 July: Inaugural EUDA Management Board meeting (closed event).