Understanding the nature, dynamics and scale of drug use in Europe
Understanding the dynamics, nature and scale of drug use in Europe, including lessons learnt and challenges for the future, has been the focus of this EMCDDA conference held in Lisbon from 21–22 September 2015. The event commemorated the EU agency’s 20 years of monitoring and communicating evidence on drugs.
Building on national and early European activities, the EMCDDA has worked for the last two decades to improve the monitoring of Europe’s drug problems. At the heart of its activity have been efforts to enhance the comparability of drug information across Europe and to devise the standards, methods and tools required to achieve this. Among the agency’s core achievements are its five key epidemiological indicators (KI), supported by European expert groups, which allow countries to describe in a ‘common language’ the extent and nature of drug use and its consequences.
The conference aimed to reflect on past successes but also to be forward-looking. Key issues to help the EMCDDA better achieve its aims include: increased data quality and comparability; improved timeliness; better identification of emerging trends; faster and more sensitive monitoring approaches; and the integration of traditional and new monitoring methods (e.g. wastewater analysis, internet surveys). The ultimate aim of this milestone event will be to contribute to reducing drug-related harms through better informed and faster evaluated policies.