Illicit drug use and trafficking are worldwide phenomena that threaten health and social stability. Statistics show that around one in three young Europeans has tried an illicit drug and at least one of our citizens dies every hour from a drug overdose. At the same time, ever-changing patterns in supply and demand call for constant monitoring and dynamic responses. Independent, science-based information is a vital resource to help Europe understand the nature of its drug problems and better respond to them. It was on this premise, and in the face of an escalating drug phenomenon, that the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was established in 1993. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. This brochure provides an overview of the EMCDDA and its work.