In a recent article in the pages of this journal, the author outlined the hypothesis that, although there have been recent evolutions in European governance effected by the Lisbon treaty, these changes have not brought about any convergence in the national drug policies of European member states. The original article focused on developments in the national drug policies of key member states and based the assessment on their maintenance of key, and significantly different, national policy aims. Standring, in this edition, has offered a critique of that article suggesting that the author has been overly pessimistic in her understanding of the nature of drug policy integration at the European level and that soft integration tools have allowed a high degree of policy convergence in this controversial area. This paper aims to strengthen and confirm the author's position by examining the tools of European drug policy integration.
Key policy strategies (for example, the European Drug Strategy and Action Plans, European level anti‐drug trafficking frameworks and recent implementations on newly developed psychoactive substances at the European level) are examined here for indications of success or otherwise in the harmonisation (or convergence) of European national drug policies.
Ultimately, even under these new terms of reference, the paper finds that attempts to either harmonise or converge European national drug policies have done little more than scratch the surface.
The paper suggests that neither the top‐down regulation, here described, nor the soft convergence that Standring envisages are desirable for European drug policy making where they are implemented with the aim of making national drug policies more similar.
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