Germany Country Drug Report 2018

Drug-related research

In Germany, drug-related research covers the entire range of basic and applied research. A number of German academic research centres apply for funding through tendered projects or receive basic funds. The research community exchanges information, organised through networks and professional associations; this takes place primarily through research conferences and specialised scientific journals.

The promotion of research is also one of the cornerstones of the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy. Addiction research in Germany encompasses epidemiological as well as biological, psychological, social and legal aspects and combines diverse scientific traditions, ranging from basic research to research on care for those suffering from drug dependency. The national strategy highlights the importance of practice-related research to increase the effectiveness of drug and addiction policy and initiatives through evidence-based and evaluated measures.

The implementation of either substance-specific studies or studies examining multiple substances, when carried out jointly with treatment and care facilities, helps to develop new counselling and treatment concepts that fit in with the daily practice of addiction care professionals. The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) increasingly supports model projects and studies that examine and test new prevention and treatment approaches for all substances and for specific target groups. In recent years, the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration has been widely discussed to ensure better and more effective cooperation.

The BMG continues to fund several projects that focus on amphetamines (mainly methamphetamine) users, while recent priorities include programmes in the field of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and on substance use among refugees, a scientific appraisal of the potential and risks of cannabis use, strengthening of (online) self-help activities and the promotion of the use of modern media in addiction prevention.

In 2015, the German Society for Addiction Research and Treatment, the DGS and the German Association for Addiction Psychology founded an umbrella organisation for addiction associations which, among others, should further consolidate the activities in the fields of prevention, research and treatment.

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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.