Germany Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

In Germany, quality assurance is embedded within the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy, incorporating supranational agreements. The framework document outlines evidence-based strategies and emphasises their relevance in terms of ensuring effectiveness and favourable returns on taxpayers’ investments.

Responsibility for quality assurance and the setting of standards are shared among the federal government, the Länder and the municipalities, as is responsibility for overall drug and addiction policy. Following the principle of subsidiarity, the responsibility for producing guidelines and rules rests with the 16 Länder and no uniform formal requirements or criteria for quality assurance exist. Guidelines and quality standards for drug demand reduction and addiction prevention in Germany are set by various stakeholders including governmental organisations, social insurance providers and non-governmental organisations, such as professional associations.

Insurance organisations, such as the German Pension Fund, the biggest provider of funding for drug rehabilitation programmes, and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds are also responsible for quality assurance.

Some accreditation systems for intervention providers in drug demand reduction exist at the federal level and in the Länder. They are provided by government bodies, for example in the case outpatient services, and statutory health insurers, for example in the case of detoxification and rehabilitation services. Accreditation systems include the cooperation network Equity in Health and its database of good practice projects, the Green List Prevention and the seal of approval of the statutory health insurers (Zentrale Prüfstelle Prävention). Other actions in this field include the publication Prevention of Addictive Behaviours (revised in 2018) and the nationwide conference on quality assurance in addiction prevention, which is organised by the Federal Centre for Health Education.

Accreditation also exists for academic degree programmes and further education in addiction therapy. Drug treatment may be provided only by adequately skilled staff with supplementary training in the specific relevant field. Germany is one of the few European countries where specific academic courses on addiction exist. Germany participated in a pilot project for the European Universal Curriculum on Prevention.


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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.