Greece Country Drug Report 2019

National drug strategy and coordination

The draft Greek National Drug Strategy 2014-20 addresses illicit drugs and follows the EU’s balanced approach to drug policy by placing equal emphasis on reducing drug demand and drug supply. It was developed by the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses. Although final parliamentary approval of the strategy and its accompanying action plan is currently pending, the goals and actions set out in the strategy documents are being followed by the different policy actors that implement drug policy and responses to the drug problem. Among its priorities is the need to assist vulnerable groups and the adoption of evidence-based best practices. The strategy’s action plan also covers 2014-20 and has been designed to mirror the approach of the EU action plan on drugs for 2013-16. The action plan is structured in five pillars: (i) demand reduction (prevention; information and awareness raising; early detection and intervention; harm reduction; treatment; and social rehabilitation); (ii) supply reduction; (iii) coordination; (iv) training, monitoring, research and evaluation; and (v) international cooperation. Actions and indicators are defined for each area and designed to assist future monitoring and assessment. In the field of demand reduction, the Ministry of Health's 2018 document Strategic priorities on responding to substance dependence covers the areas of prevention, treatment and harm reduction. Alongside illicit drugs, addictive substances and behavioural addictions are covered under the prevention pillar of the strategy. In addition, addictive substances are also addressed under the treatment pillar. The strategy’s Operation Plan aims to improve access to treatment, enhance cooperation between services and maximise the use of resources.

As in other European countries, in Greece, drug policy and strategy evaluation is undertaken using ongoing indicator monitoring and specific research projects. The national focal point for the EMCDDA at the Mental Health Research Institute produces a range of epidemiological and other data annually that support this assessment work and provide insights into different aspects of drug problems in Greece.

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National coordination mechanisms

Established by Law No 4139/13, the Greek drug coordination system consists of three levels. The top level is the Interministerial Committee on the Drugs Action Plan, which is the main drug policymaking body in Greece. This committee has several responsibilities, including the approval of drug action plans, the coordination of the agencies involved in implementing action plans and the evaluation of action plans. It is chaired by the prime minister and includes all ministers involved in implementing the strategy and action plan. The second level is the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses, which is composed of representatives from 10 ministries, the major drug agencies and the national focal point. It is tasked with drafting the action plan, overseeing its coordination, implementation and monitoring, and developing international cooperation. At the third level is the National Drug Coordinator, who chairs the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses. The coordinator is appointed by the prime minister for a 5-year term, with a mandate to chair the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses, draft an action plan on drugs and represent the country on international bodies related to drugs. The National Drug Coordinator is a member of the Interministerial Committee on the Drugs Action Plan; a new coordinator was appointed in February 2019.


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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.