This note was prepared by the Scientific Committee of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) as input to action 47 of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016. Action 47 calls upon the European Commission, EU Member States and the EMCDDA to promote scientific evaluations of policies and interventions at national, EU and international level and lists the EMCDDA Scientific Committee as a contributor to this end.
This note addresses the EU Member States, the Council of the European Union (through its Horizontal Working Group on Drugs), the European Commission and the EMCDDA, as well as the scientific community and funding agencies for research and evaluation in Europe. It stresses the need for intensifying the evaluation of drug policies on national and EU level. Such evaluation activities are highly needed in order to understand the impact of current policies on different targets, such as individual and public health and public security, as well as the differences among drug policies between Member States. These findings can be utilised for ongoing adaptations and improvements regarding drug policy and drug-related initiatives.
Evaluation of drug policies implies many professional and political challenges. Evaluation concepts and methodologies are available but need further development. There is a lack of practical experience and the interpretation and application of findings is often controversially discussed.
This note introduces concepts and aims of drug policy evaluation in Chapter 2, it provides state-of- the-art information on key evaluation outcome indicators as well as on evaluation methods in Chapters 3, 4 and 5. Altogether this note serves as a background document for supporting activities and quality improvements in the area of drug policy evaluation.