Controlling drugs in Europe

The first collaboration attempts
EEG Top Conference in The Hague, 1969. Photo by Eric Koch (Anefo). Nationaal Archief, CC0.
Date January 1, 2019
Authors Rafaela de Quadros Rigoni
More information


While solid literature discusses the establishment of an international drug control regime, not much has been written on how drug control in Europe was created. Why, when and how did European countries decide to develop joint policy to tackle drug use and trade? This historical chapter describes the context of the first European collaboration around drug policies in the 1970s, with the creation of the Pompidou Group. The analysis focuses on the factors triggering regulatory interventions in the early days of European drug policy. The chapter combines the concept of “mentalities of government” with frame analysis to investigate the discourses of country representatives during the Pompidou Group debates, based on archival material and literature. The study shows that curbing youth protests, protecting commercial agreements and national policies, and managing international pressure were all important factors shaping the first steps of a European drug control. Other concerns than drug use, dependence or related criminality can trigger regulatory interventions in the drug field. The study, thus, calls attention to the need of considering the broader political context when analysing drug policies, so to arrive to more nuanced explanations of what shapes drug policy decisions.

In: Kaló, Z.; Tieberghien, J.; Korf, D.J. (Eds). Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research. Lengerich: PABST Science Publishers.

Imperative of Regulation