The Regulation governing the EMCDDA’s work requires that each EU Member State or other country participating in the work of the Centre shall establish or designate one national focal point (NFP). This designated national focal point then becomes a member of the network, which currently includes each of the 28 EU Member States plus Norway, the European Commission and the candidate countries.
The network’s main mission
Reitox directly contributes to the EMCDDA’s core task of collecting and reporting consistent, harmonised and standardised information on the drug phenomenon across Europe.
Reitox links national drug information systems and is the main way in which the EMCDDA exchanges data and methodological information on drugs and drug addiction in Europe. Data collected through the Reitox network are also utilised to monitor and support the evaluation of the outcomes of the EU drugs action plans, within its drug strategy. Furthermore, the data help guide EU drug policies and develop recommendations for appropriate national responses for organising treatment, prevention and harm reduction activities. The information gathered through the EU Early warning system for new psychoactive substances implemented in cooperation with the network makes it possible to adopt decisions for putting these under control within the EU.
What are the functions of Reitox national focal points at European level?
The national focal points are the cornerstone of the European drug monitoring and reporting system. On an annual basis, a NFP should collect information and produce comparable and scientifically sound data on a national drug situation which will feed into monitoring the situation across Europe.
The NFPs also help improve data collection methodologies and tools, and develop relevant guidelines for their implementation.
In addition, the NFPs participate in the Early warning system and report to the EMCDDA on new trends in the use of existing psychoactive substances and/or new consumption patterns involving combinations of psychoactive substances which pose a potential public health risk.
However, in many cases the role of NFPs goes beyond their reporting obligations to the EMCDDA and they also produce information to fulfil their country’s reporting obligations to other supranational and international monitoring and drug-control programmes.
The EMCDDA also requests the technical support of NFPs in the production of its different products and publications in national languages.
What are the functions of Reitox national focal points at national level?
The three core functions of a national focal point are:
- data collection and monitoring;
- analysis and interpretation of data collected;
- reporting and dissemination of the results at national level.
These functions are usually carried out by the NFP in conjunction with other national institutions and experts forming a national drug information network coordinated by the NFP.
Moreover, each country, which is solely responsible for setting up a NFP may also, depending on resources and data and expertise available at national level, expand the NFP’s mandate and tasks in order to meet national needs. For what regards the EU Reitox national focal points, the EMCDDA co-finances the core Reitox activities, at national level, by mean of an EC grant agreement for an action.
The Reitox national focal points are asked to disseminate knowledge and best practice produced at European level and relevant for national needs to the extended community of professionals involved with drugs and drug addiction. They also support the broad dissemination of EMCDDA products and publications at national level.