Precursors, pillars and polity: examining the European Union’s combating of synthetic drugs through chemical precursor control

Penney, David (2009) Precursors, pillars and polity: examining the European Union’s combating of synthetic drugs through chemical precursor control. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The European Union (EU) is a major producer of synthetic drugs, namely amphetamine and ecstasy, with critical precursor chemicals sourced in China and Russia. This study examines the EU’s combating of synthetic drugs through international chemical precursor control, a trade-based drug supply-reduction mechanism requiring both regulation and law enforcement investigation. With respective EU-level competencies currently divided between first and third pillars, analysis focuses on internal policy and coordination and the external dimension. Research is undertaken from an EU-level perspective, considering three principal aims: to update academic insight into the arguably under-researched area of precursor control; to enhance collective understanding of EU cross-pillar challenges and to assess EU capability in delivering against its synthetic drug priority in view of the current pillar regime and strategy, as yet unrealised Treaty of Lisbon 2007 reforms and a new EU-initiated United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) process, including a synthetic drugs and precursor Plan of Action. The study adopts a mixed-method design. Building upon literature review findings, primary insight is gained through the interview of national, EU and international law enforcement and judicial practitioners, regulatory administrators and policy-makers. This is triangulated with the study of secondary documentary material and additional literature pertaining to EU Justice and Home Affairs and the inter-pillar Area of Freedom Security and Justice. This empirical research demonstrates that the international regulatory drug precursor control framework is inconsistently implemented, compromising first pillar EU regulatory machinery. Also revealed is that necessary inter-disciplinary collaboration is inhibited by pillar competency divisions and institutional positioning, deficient law enforcement engagement and somewhat incoherent EU drugs and external strategies. This study identifies that necessary polity development may be supported through the EU Drugs Action Plan 2009-2012, Treaty of Lisbon ratification, a revitalised UNGASS process and potential cooperation with the challenging nations of China and Russia.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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