Although not a major drug producing country, Germany is a consumer and transit country for narcotics. The government actively combats drug-related crimes and focuses on prevention programs and assistance to drug addicts. In 2006, Germany continued to implement its Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction, which it launched in 2003, with a specific focus on prevention. Cannabis is the most commonly consumed illicit drug in Germany. Organized crime continued to be heavily engaged in narcotics trafficking. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) publishes an annual narcotics report on illicit drug-related crimes, including data on seizures, drug flows, and consumption. The most recent complete German figures available for narcotics cover calendar year 2005. That year saw drug-related crimes (276,740) drop for the first time since 1996. Germany is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Germany is not a significant drug cultivation or production country. However, Germany's location at the center of Europe and its well-developed infrastructure make it a major transit hub. Ecstasy moves from the Netherlands to and through Germany to Eastern and Southern Europe. Heroin is trafficked to Germany from Turkey, Austria, and Italy. Cocaine moves through Germany from South America and the Netherlands. Organized crime continues to be heavily engaged in narcotics trafficking. Germany is a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, making it a potential source for precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics, although current precursor chemical control in Germany is excellent.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. Germany continues to implement the Federal Health Ministry's "Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction" adopted by the cabinet in 2003. The action plan establishes a comprehensive multi-year strategy to combat narcotics. The key pillars are (1) prevention, (2) therapy and counseling, (3) survival aid as an immediate remedy for drug-addicts, and (4) interdiction and supply reduction. Germany also abides by the EU Drugs Action Plan 2005-2008. The National Inter-agency Drug and Addiction Council that had been established in 2004 to coordinate and review the implementation of the government's "Action Plan on Drugs and Addiction" passed a new working program in March 2006. The program recommends, inter alia, a continued focus on demand reduction in the consumption of cannabis.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Counternarcotics law enforcement remains a high priority for the BKA and the Federal Office of Customs Investigation (ZKA). German law enforcement agencies scored numerous successes in seizing illicit narcotics and arresting suspected drug dealers. According to the most recent publicized analyses, the number of narcotics related seizures increased in 2005. However, the seized amounts decreased overall. Seizures of Ecstasy decreased in 2005, while seizures of amphetamine, heroin and cocaine increased. The number of seizures of cannabis rose in 2005, while the amount of seized cannabis fell. In 2006, the BKA seized significant amounts of hashish transported from the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region. The ZKA conducted 7,683 criminal narcotics related investigations in 2005. The Frankfurt/Main Airport Customs Office alone seized 846 kg of illicit drugs in 2005 at Europe's second busiest passenger airport and a major freight hub--roughly the same amount as in 2004.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Germany does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No cases of official corruption have come to the USG's attention.
Agreements and Treaties. A 1978 extradition treaty and a 1986 supplemental extradition treaty are in force between the U.S. and Germany. The U.S. and Germany signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT) on October 14, 2003, which the German Parliament is expected to ratify in early 2007. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the treaty on July 27, 2006. Additionally, the U.S. and Germany signed bilateral instruments to implement the U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements on April 18, 2006. These bilateral instruments were submitted for review together with the MLAT for approval by the German Parliament in order to implement all international obligations simultaneously. There is a Customs Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (CMAA) between the U.S. and Germany. In addition, Germany is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Germany ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on June 14, 2006. Germany has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Corruption Convention.
Cultivation and Production. Germany is not a significant producer of hashish or marijuana. The BKA statistics reported seizure of eight synthetic drug labs in Germany in 2005.
Drug Flow/Transit. Germany's central location in Europe and its well-developed infrastructure make it a major transit hub. Traffickers smuggle cocaine from South America to and through Germany to other European countries. Heroin transits from Eastern Europe to Western Europe, especially to the Netherlands. Cannabis is trafficked to Germany mainly from the Netherlands. Frankfurt Airport is still a major trans-shipment point for Ecstasy destined to the U.S. and for other drugs coming into Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Federal Ministry of Health continues to be the lead agency in developing, coordinating, and implementing Germany's drug policies and programs. The National Drug Commissioner at the Federal Ministry of Health coordinates Germany's national drug policy. Drug consumption is treated as a health and social issue. Policies stress prevention through education. The Ministry funds numerous research and prevention programs. Addiction therapy programs focus on drug-free treatment, psychological counseling, and substitution therapy. Initial results of a heroin-based treatment pilot project to treat seriously ill, long-term opiate addicts published in 2006 found heroin-based treatment for this group had advantages over a substitution therapy approach. In 2006, there were 25 medically controlled "drug consumption rooms" in Germany supplementing therapy programs to offer survival aid. German federal law requires that personnel at these sites provide medical counseling and other professional help and ensure that no crimes are committed. Drug-related deaths have been decreasing for several years. In 2005, they dropped by four percent compared to 2004, making 2005 the year with the lowest number of drug-related deaths since 1989. The number of first-time users of illicit drugs fell five percent in 2005 compared to 2004. First-time use of Ecstasy, heroin, and cocaine decreased in 2005, while the first-time use of crack increased.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. German law enforcement agencies work closely and effectively with their U.S. counterparts in narcotics-related cases. Close cooperation to curb drug trafficking continues among DEA, FBI, the U.S. Customs Service and their German counterparts, including the BKA, the State Offices for Criminal Investigation (LKAs), and the ZKA. German agencies routinely cooperate very closely with their U.S. counterparts in joint investigations U.S.-German cooperation to stop diversion of chemical precursors for cocaine production continues to be close (e.g., Operations "Purple" and "Topaz"). A DEA Diversion Investigator is assigned to the BKA headquarters in Wiesbaden to facilitate cooperation and joint investigations. The DEA Frankfurt Country Office facilitates information exchanges and operational support between German and U.S. drug enforcement agencies. The BKA and DEA also participate in a tablet exchange program to compare samples of Ecstasy pills. Germany is also a "major donor" to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with an annual pledge of approximately $2,300,000.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue its close cooperation with Germany on all bilateral and international counternarcotics fronts, including the Dublin Group, a group of countries that coordinates the provision of counternarcotics assistance and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
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|Title Annotation:||Europe and Central Asia|
|Publication:||International Narcotics Control Strategy Report|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2007|