The University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) will be joining forces once again next summer to hold the eighth European drugs summer school (EDSS) on ‘Illicit drugs in Europe: demand, supply and public policies’ (1). Registration is now open for the two-week course, which will take place in the Portuguese capital from 24 June to 5 July (2). The initiative is also supported by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)(3).
Through a multidisciplinary and interactive approach to the drugs problem, EMCDDA scientific experts, leading academics, guest speakers, policymakers and professionals having participated in previous rounds of the EDSS, will prepare participants to meet the complex policy challenges in this field — both in Europe and beyond. The focus of the 2019 course will be on interventions in prisons and alternatives to incarceration.
Week 1 of the summer school, focusing on the ‘Drugs problem: substance use and problems, substance characteristics, and market’, will feature lectures on: the global burden of drug-related problems; drug markets in Europe; detecting new drugs; and prevention approaches in demand-reduction interventions. This session will also focus on the EMCDDA’s epidemiological indicators and their use in informing drug policy.
Week 2, dedicated to ‘Policymaking for drug-related issues’, will include lectures on: drug policies and new challenges (concepts, issues and analysis); the EU drug strategy; drug laws and public expenditure; and monitoring supply reduction and drug enforcement activity. It will also include group discussion exercises on how to use the knowledge acquired during the course, to sustain drug-related debates. Finally, students will be guided through an analysis of the link between evidence and decision-making, including examples of implementation.
Study visits to outreach facilities and to one of the Portuguese commissions for dissuasion will be organised over the two weeks. During the course, students will also participate in interactive workshops to discuss their own projects and views. The course will conclude with an open debate with guest speakers.
The target audiences for the EDSS are: university students, researchers, professionals and administrators interested in working on drug issues. The previous rounds of the summer school brought together students from the EU Member States as well as from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.
Profiles of former alumni and their testimonials can be found on the official summer school website and their statements viewed in a promotional video (4). In 2019, students will again be able to apply for scholarships and ‘early-bird’ reductions are also available (5). The EDSS will be run in English.