Belgium Country Drug Report 2018

Quality assurance

In Belgium, efforts have been made to develop an integrated, balanced and evidence-based drug policy. In the Flemish Community, the Flemish Centre of Expertise for Alcohol and Other Drugs (VAD) promotes evidence-based practice in alcohol and drug prevention and treatment.

In 2014-15, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) funded a study on consensus building vis-à-vis minimum quality standards for drug demand reduction in Belgium. The aims of the study were to document the critical ingredients and prerequisites for the successful implementation of these standards, based on selected good practices; to assess the acceptability and actual implementation of the minimum standards for drug treatment, prevention and harm reduction; and to specify and put into operation the consensus minimum standards and develop standards of excellence that can be used as measures and benchmarks for monitoring and evaluating prevention, treatment and harm reduction interventions. As a result, 32 prevention, 24 treatment and 20 harm reduction quality standards were identified. The next step will be to translate them into measurable indicators and create a connection with the VIP²-project (Flemish Indicator Project for Patients and Professionals), which is currently developing generic quality indicators for mental health care in Belgium.

EBMPracticeNet, founded in 2011 and consisting of Belgian organisations active in evidence-based medicine (EBM), has produced a vision paper on how Belgian EBM organisations can support the quality of Belgian healthcare in 2016-20. EBMPracticeNet is currently focusing on offering evidence-based information to general practitioners and other first-line caregivers.

Several organisations provide specific continuing education and specialisation courses in the field of drugs and related subjects, although there is no specific accreditation system for intervention providers, and nor is there an academic curriculum for professionals working in the field of demand reduction.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.