Portugal Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related research

Both the National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependences 2013-20 and the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) Strategic Plan for 2017-19 include the topics of monitoring, research and the evaluation of results at national and international levels.

The National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies 2013-20 defines the following research priorities: (i) invest in standardised data collection and the development of scientifically proven indicators at European and international levels considered relevant to the policies adopted; (ii) promote a culture of registration, monitoring and evaluation of interventions — based on common metadata and appropriate instruments, and a culture of sharing the results, in order to maximise the effectiveness of their use; (iii) promote research and enhance the exchange and transfer of knowledge, ensuring the strengthening of synergies and preventing the duplication of resources; (iv) improve the ability to detect and evaluate emerging trends likely to pose a risk to public health and security, enhancing networking and the inter-sectorial cooperation at national and international levels; and (v) ensure the transmission and more effective application of information and knowledge for the development of policies and their evaluation.

Several research projects that had a major impact on public opinion were concluded in 2017, all implemented or funded by SICAD and included in its Strategic Plan for 2017-19. These included national surveys on drug use and addictive behaviour in the general population and 18-year-olds, as well as other studies that focused on new psychoactive substances (NPS) and high-risk/problem drug use. Also in 2017, a study focusing on social attitudes among music festival attendees and trendspotter research focusing on NPS were initiated, and they are expected to be concluded soon. Under the framework of the second European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs transnational call for proposals, two projects with Portuguese researchers have begun: one analyses recovery, while the other assesses the impact of different types of drug policy on society.

SICAD uses its website, reports, national scientific journals, scientific meetings and seminars as its main dissemination channels for drug-related research findings. A list of national scientific publications (scientific papers, reports and academic theses) in the areas of illicit drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviours was established in 2017 and is regularly updated.

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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.