The operation of illicit drug markets is dependent on a chain of events with a global span. At each stage of the process, from the production to the trafficking through to the consumption and the derived profits, the health and security of different countries is compromised by organised crime groups.

This paper looks at EU policies and responses to the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, set within the global context. It considers the different strategic areas where these challenges are addressed, the EU structures involved, and some of the key measures currently being implemented by the EU and its international partners. Drug supply reduction issues arise in many policy areas, including illicit drug policy, security, organised crime, and maritime and regional cooperation policy. Issues related to drug production and trafficking arise in the work of several institutions, bodies and EU agencies. The operation of smuggling routes challenges the security of the EU in different ways and measures have been adopted to counteract these problems. These include developing intelligence-led policing and improved border management and surveillance as well as legislative tools to target criminal profits. The EU is involved in a range of projects and initiatives around the world designed to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, including capacity-building initiatives targeting smuggling routes and measures to support economic, legislative and monitoring infrastructural development.

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