Italy Country Drug Report 2018

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

Launched in 2010, the Italian National Action Plan on Drugs originally covered the period 2010-13, but remains in force pending the development of a new strategy. Eighty-nine objectives are set out in two pillars, demand and supply reduction, across five cross-cutting areas of intervention.

Demand reduction activities include prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration, while supply reduction covers evaluation and monitoring, legislation, supply reduction and juvenile justice. Primarily focused on illicit drug use, the Action Plan also covers licit substance use and addictive behaviours as elements that are addressed predominantly in the context of prevention.

The Action Plan is accompanied by four other elements that support its implementation: (i) individual regional/autonomous provinces plans; (ii) technical and scientific implementation guidelines; (iii) the Project Plan, which sets out the different national projects being carried out under the Action Plan; and (iv) the 2014 National Action Plan for the Prevention of the Distribution of New Psychoactive Substances and Demand on the Internet.

Like other European countries, Italy evaluates its drug policy and strategy using ongoing indicator monitoring and specific research projects. A final external evaluation based on the initial time frame of the National Anti-Drug Action Plan 2010-13 was completed in 2014.


National coordination mechanisms

The Department for Anti-Drug Policies is responsible for the strategic and operational coordination of Italian drug policy. It is a department of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and its responsibilities include ensuring coordination among the different ministries and functioning as a link between central, regional and local authorities through the mechanisms of the State-Regions Committee and the State-Regions-Autonomous Provinces-Municipalities Unified Committee. The Department’s work also includes policy activities at European and international levels, alongside reviewing scientific knowledge on different aspects of drug dependency. The director of the department is the national drug coordinator.

The regions/autonomous provinces have a more strategic management role, which includes planning and organisation of the health services system, and programming and evaluation functions. The local health authorities are responsible for the activities of local public drug addiction dependency service units (public services for addictions, which cover all drugs and addictions) and non-governmental organisations.

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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.