Focus on the EU borders

Emerging drug trends in North Africa and Middle East
In programme
Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 16:50 to 18:20
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The EMCDDA has launched a new technical cooperation project called ‘EU4Monitoring Drugs’ (EU4MD). This 3-year project is funded by the European Union for countries in the European Neighbourhood Policy area (ENP) and supports the improvement of national and regional capacity to identify and respond to drug-related security and health threats.

This session will pin-point emerging trends in the South ENP countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine (*) and Tunisia) and their neighbours by looking at changes in drug use and markets, and reflecting on possible interaction and links to social, demographic and political challenges , as well as security situation in the region.

Growing body of scientific literature indicate complex drug use situation in the South ENP countries, potentially also affected by recent political and social instability in the region. Attempts have been made to document possible interactions between drug trade and other illicit trades as well as migration. Although production, trafficking and also use of cannabis dominates the drug markets in the region, concern over misuse of licit and counterfeit medicines, such as pharmaceutical opiods (e.g. Tramadol), pregablin and benzodiazepines, frequently in poly-substance use context, as well as rise in stimulant use, including ‘captagon’ market, and emergence of new synthetic drugs are some new threats documented and discussed by experts.

While the national routine drug-related data systems in the region provide limited information on the drug situation or emerging threats, recently Lebanon and Morocco have published national drug reports. In addition, innovative approaches for drugs monitoring, e.g. wastewater analysis, bring new insights into the drug markets in some South ENP countries.