The Trends and Developments report presents a top-level overview of the drug phenomenon in Europe, covering drug supply, use and public health problems as well as drug policy and responses. The 2017 report is accompanied by a new set of national overviews, in the form of 30 Country Drug Reports, presenting accessible online summaries of national drug trends and developments in policy and practice taking place in European countries.
More information : http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/4541/TDAT17001ENN.pdf
EU loses €60 billion to intellectual property rights infringement every year, EUIPO report reveals
The European Observatory on Infringements on Intellectual Property Rights (EUIPO) has published a new study on the impact, role and public perceptions of intellectual property in the EU.
The Observatory’s Synthesis Report revealed that €60 billion ($70.8 billion) is lost across the 28-nation bloc every year as a consequence of counterfeiting in 13 economic sectors.
That figure represented a loss of €116 for every EU citizen on an annual basis.
Approximately 434,000 jobs are estimated to have been lost in these sectors as a consequence of legitimate manufacturers making fewer products than they would if intellectual property rights infringements were not committed by counterfeiters.
While the majority of Europeans (97%) believe that enforcing intellectual property rights helps protect inventors and creators, 10% of respondents admitted to having bought counterfeit goods over the course of the past year, while a similar percentage confessed to having knowingly downloaded pirated protected content over the same period.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents overall and 41% of those aged between 15 and 24 agreed that “it is acceptable to purchase counterfeit products when the price for the original and authentic product is too high”.
The report notes that counterfeiters have benefited significantly from the growth of the internet and ecommerce platforms in particular, which they use to sell fake products and distribute pirated digital content such as films, TV shows, music and books.
China was found to be the largest producer of fake products in nine out of the ten most at-risk industries across the EU, which included foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and electronics and electrical equipment.
According to customs seizure data, large volumes of counterfeit goods continue to arrive in the EU from China, much of which passes through the port and international airport of Hong Kong.
Unveiling the study last week, EUIPO Executive Director António Campinos said: “Over the past five years, our reporting and research has given, for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy on the EU economy and job creation, as well as intelligence on how intellectual property rights are infringed.
“Through our research, we have also shown the positive contribution that intellectual property has on employment and growth.
“Our work has been carried out so that policymakers and citizens can be in no doubt of the value of intellectual property and the damage that arises from its infringement.”
Cocaine strength and availability increasing across Europe, EU report finds
The availability and potency of cocaine is rising across Europe, according to a new report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Cocaine consumption is also up in EU countries, as is the production of a range of other drugs, the agency’s European Drug Report 2018: Trends and Developments shows.
The study found that at least 17 million European adults have tried cocaine at least once in their lives, while approximately 2.3 million young adults have used the drug over the course of the past 12 months.
While the price of cocaine has remained relatively stable, the purity of the drug at street level across Europe was found to be at its highest for a decade in 2016.
At the same time, seizures of the drug have also risen in EU members states, increasing from 90,000 in 2015, to 98,000 the year after.
According to the EMCDDA, cocaine has become the most popular stimulant drug in Europe, with availability and usage being driven by soaring coca cultivation and cocaine production in Latin America.
Unveiling the study yesterday, EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel commented: “The findings from our new report indicate that Europe is now experiencing the consequences of increased cocaine production in Latin America.
“Early warnings from wastewater analysis about rising cocaine availability are now supported by other data suggesting growing supply, including increases in purity and in the number and quantity of cocaine seizures.
“We must be concerned about the health implications of cocaine use as we are beginning to see some worrying developments in this area, including a larger number of people entering treatment for the first time for cocaine problems.”
Elsewhere, the study revealed that cannabis remains the most widely-used illicit drug in Europe, noting that some 17.2 million young people in European nations aged between 15 and 34 have used cannabis in the last year, and that 1% of European adults use the drug daily or almost daily.
The report also notes that while new psychoactive substances (NPS) continue a to pose a significant risk in Europe, fewer new forms of NPS were reported to the EU Early Warning System (EWS) in 2017 than in previous years.
Despite this, the EMCDDA launched nine risk assessments into the health harms associated with new synthetic cannabinoids and new synthetic opioids last year, including acute intoxications and deaths.
The report noted that highly-potent new synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and its derivatives are increasingly being detected in EU nation states.
OECD report highlights major weaknesses in global fight against illicit trade
Governments around the world must act to improve global efforts to tackle illicit trade, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Published last week, the OECD’s Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade policy study highlights major weaknesses in the worldwide fight against illicit trade, including inconsistent and ineffective sanctions and penalties for smugglers and traffickers.
The report also criticises the insufficient monitoring of goods that pass through free trade zones, and a lack of screening of small parcels, which criminal networks are increasingly using to traffic prohibited and counterfeit goods worth many billions of dollars every year.
Outlining what it described as “a new phase in its efforts to help governments counter these enforcement gaps and better protect consumers and businesses”, the OECD study explains how the inconsistent implementation of policies and a lack of cross-border cooperation between governments is allowing organised criminal networks involved in the trafficking of illicit goods to avoid detection and punishment.
The report explains how the rise of ecommerce and the growth of postal and courier services that deliver goods ordered online has led to more illicit items being smuggled in small packages, which are harder for law enforcement agencies to detect than larger shipments.
It also notes how free trade zones, such as the EU’s Single Market, can act as safe havens for criminal networks looking to traffic illicit goods.
The report concludes that world governments can do more to fight the growth of illicit trade by working together to develop common solutions and by promoting effective governance frameworks.
“Globalisation and free trade are strong drivers of economic growth. They have also opened up new opportunities for illicit trade activities,” the report said.
“So far, the governments’ response to the risk of illicit trade has been largely uncoordinated and left many enforcement gaps that are easily exploited by criminal networks.”
Commenting on the release of the report, OECD Director of Public Governance Marcos Bonturi said: “Trade in fake and prohibited products can be dangerous for consumers and costly for companies and governments. This affects industries in all OECD countries and increasingly from emerging markets as well.
“Tackling policy gaps can start to increase the risks and lower the rewards of illicit trade for criminals.”
In a statement welcoming the report, anti-illicit trade group Tracit Director General Jeffrey Hardy said: “We fully support OECD’s efforts to upgrade institutional capacities and national government leadership to counter illicit trade.
“What is needed is a joined-up approach that leverages enforcement and governance measures and multiples the effectiveness of available resources across sectors and across borders. Tracit stands ready to support the OECD in its important work moving forward.”
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