This was the key message of our CIVEX coordinator, Matteo Luigi Bianchi, who has initiated his work on preparing the European Committee of the Regions opinion on the "EU roadmap to fight drug trafficking and organised crime".
In today's CIVEX meeting, Mr Bianchi stressed that "Drug trafficking run by organised crime networks is one of the most serious security challenges facing Europe today". He called on local and regional authorities to play their part in mitigating the negative effects of this dangerous global phenomenon as it has "numerous local implications".
The CoR rapporteur, who is also a Member of the Local Assembly of Varese (Lombardy), noted that "there is a need to strengthen the resilience of logistical hubs, which are the main entry points for illicit substances, and this requires close cooperation with the local and regional authorities".
Mr Bianchi stated that in the European Union, the situation of the illicit drugs market is alarming, it is an ever-expanding market, with an ever increasing availability of drugs, mostly cocaine, but also new substances such as lethal synthetic opioids.
"There is also a need to focus on prevention and to raise awareness about the dangers of the abuse of drugs. We will promote communication campaigns targeting specific population groups in order to combat drug use, especially among the young" concluded Mr Bianchi.
The opinion is scheduled for adoption in CIVEX on 10 April, while the adoption in CoR plenary session is due on 19-20 June.