Spain Country Drug Report 2019

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

The Spanish National Strategy on Addictions for 2017-24 addresses illicit drugs, new psychoactive substances, the licit trade in alcohol, tobacco and medicines with addictive potential, and behavioural addiction. The strategy’s objectives include delaying the age at first contact with dependence-producing substances and behaviours, reducing their availability and prevalence, and reducing associated harms.

The strategy is built around two basic goals, which are developed in several sub-goals. The first goal seeks to achieve a healthier and better informed society by diminishing drug demand and the prevalence of dependencies as a whole. This includes prevention and risk reduction; integrated and multidisciplinary care; harm reduction; and social integration. The second goal aims to achieve a safer society by diminishing drug supply and controlling those activities that could lead to dependencies. This includes supply reduction, review of legislation, and judicial and law enforcement cooperation at both national and international levels. The strategy will be implemented through two consecutive 4-year action plans, for 2017-20 and 2021-24.

Like other European countries, Spain evaluates its drug policy and strategy using on-going indicator monitoring and specific research projects. Since the evaluation of the National Strategy on Drugs for 2000-08, the Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs has used a mixed method approach to final strategy evaluations. A final multi-criterion evaluation of the National Strategy on Drugs for 2009-16 was completed in 2017 by a mixed evaluation team in the context of the development of the new strategy. Indicators were developed and addressed the strategy’s principles, objectives, processes and systems, degree of implementation and final results. As part of the consultation process, questionnaires addressing different aspects of the strategy were completed by representatives from the central, autonomous and municipal administrations, civil society and other stakeholders. Indicators related to the strategy’s final results, its processes and outputs, the quality of the systems and transversal objectives as well as principles such as equality, equity, gender perspective, social participation and training. The degree of accomplishment of the 14 general objectives was analysed, along with the objectives related to the guiding principles (evidence, social participation, an intersectoral approach, a comprehensive approach, equality and a gender focus).


National coordination mechanisms

At the national level, the Spanish Council for Drug Addiction and Other Addictions is responsible for inter-sectoral collaboration. It seeks to improve the development and implementation of policies and actions related to illicit drug use and other addictions. The Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs is the national drug policy coordinator. The Delegate’s office is a directorate of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. It coordinates the institutions involved in delivering the drug strategy at central administrative, autonomous community and local levels.

The Sectoral Conference on Drugs facilitates cooperation between central government and the administrations of the autonomous communities and cities. Chaired by the Minister for Health, Consumer Affairs and Wellbeing, it includes representatives of the central administration and the commissioners of the autonomous communities. The Communities Commission on Drugs, chaired by the Government Delegate for the National Plan on Drugs, reports to the sector conference, which is made up of all the deputy directors-general of the Government Delegation and those responsible for the regional drug plans. There is a drug commissioner in each of the 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla). They communicate with the Government Delegation through their participation in the Inter-autonomic Commission and the sector conference, and each has an organisation that is responsible for the autonomous community drug plan.

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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.