In Germany, the promotion of research is one of the cornerstones of the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy. 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. For this reason, the study of research questions in close cooperation with facilities providing care is supported. The aim is to further develop counselling and treatment concepts closely aligned with everyday practice and to apply research findings as seamlessly as possible in the everyday practice of facilities that provide counselling and treatment. 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 2015, three large addiction associations — the German Society for Addiction Research and Treatment, the DGS and the German Association for Addiction Psychology — founded an umbrella organisation for addiction associations that further consolidates activities in the fields of prevention, research and treatment.
The BMG continues to fund several projects that focus on amphetamine (mainly methamphetamine) users, while recent priorities include programmes in the field of new psychoactive substances, substance use among refugees, scientific appraisals 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.
Drug-related research in Germany covers the entire range of basic and applied research. It 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 exchange of information in the research community is, to a large extent, organised by researchers themselves, networks and professional associations. It takes place primarily through research conferences and scientific journals addressing the drugs field; clinical guidelines and transfer processes through which initiatives with a positive evaluation are implemented more widely are also used.