National drug strategy and coordination in Belgium 2017

Belgium Country Drug Report 2017

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

The drug policy of Belgium is defined in two key policy documents, the Federal Drug Policy Note of 2001 and the Communal Declaration of 2010. The Federal Drug Policy Note was adopted as a long-term policy document and focuses on both illicit and licit substances, including alcohol, tobacco and medicines.

The main goals of this document are the prevention and reduction of risks for drug users, the environment and society as a whole; these goals are organised across three pillars: prevention and early intervention of drug consumption; harm reduction, treatment and reintegration; and enforcement. The Federal Drug Policy Note also states the five main principles of Belgian drug policy, which are (i) a global and integrated approach; (ii) evaluation, epidemiology and scientific research; (iii) prevention for non-users and risk reduction for problematic drug use; (iv) treatment, risk reduction and reintegration for problematic users; and (v) repression of producers and traffickers. The Communal Declaration is a further statement and confirms the approach set out in the Federal Drug Policy Note. As such, it can be considered a more up-to-date elaboration of Belgian drug policy.

Belgium evaluates its drug policy and strategy through routine indicator monitoring and specific research projects, in a similar way to other European countries. The evaluation of specific interventions and projects is one of the objectives of the Federal Drug Policy Note. In 2014, the Minister of Public Health requested the evaluation of the Belgian cannabis policy, although no systematic evaluations of the Federal Drug Policy Note or Communal Declaration are planned.

National coordination mechanisms

The Inter-Ministerial Conferences (IMC) are designed to improve the consultation and collaboration between the federal government, the communities and the regions. The IMC Public Health holds thematic meetings on different issues proposed by its members (e.g. the Thematic Meeting on Drugs). Whenever needed, the Thematic Meeting on Drugs can establish inter-cabinet working groups to explore certain issues in depth. The General Drugs Policy Cell supports the IMC in the preparation and coordination of this work on Belgian drug policy. The General Drugs Policy Cell is chaired by the national drug coordinator and supported by the Federal Public Service of Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. It is involved in the operational coordination and strategic management of Belgium’s drug policy and has various responsibilities related to the implementation of the Federal Drug Policy Note and Communal Declaration.

Focus of national drug strategy documents: illicit drugs or broader

NB Year of data 2015. Strategies with broader focus may include, for example, licit drugs and other addictions.

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