EMCDDA network on drug use modelling (1998-2001)

Note: this page contains information about that a project that is now considered archived.

The European expert network on drug use modelling was a project funded by the European Commission, DG Research, Targeted Socio- Economic Resarch (TSER). Project no: ERB 4141 PL 980030, Contract no: SOE2-CT98- 3075 (Starting date: 1st December 1998 Duration: 36 months). 

Context and background

What is modelling?

In the drugs field, many processes are difficult to study directly as information is often imprecise, delayed or not available. By using mathematical formulae or computer programmes, a simplified model of a process can be constructed. This model is then tested for its consistency against available data, or the results are examined when one component of the model is changed. This interactive procedure often demonstrates that the model is not satisfactory. The next step is then to find what is wrong, which component has been omitted, and so on. The end result can be a useful model to investigate different outcomes under different circumstances or interventions, or a 'best estimate' of future developments in the spread of drug use or a drug-related infectious disease, such as hepatitis C. Such models can be extremely useful tools for policy makers, as they enable taking decisions on resource allocation and interventions in situations where data are scarce.

See more resources on the website tagged with 'modelling'

Project background

This European expert network aimed to apply statistical and dynamic modelling in the field of drug use research, in order to develop methods and tools for policy relevant analysis of drug data. The network was funded by the European Commission's Targeted Socio-economic Research (TSER) programme(Research Directorate General). The full title of the project is "European Network to develop policy relevant modelsand socio-economic analyses of drug use, consequences and interventions". The funding covered three years of work,from December 1998 to December 2001.

General aims are: 

  • to promote information exchange on new methods to estimate the extent and consequences of drug use; 
  • to improve policy relevance of modelling in the drugs field; 
  • to stimulate scientific publications and proposals for in-depth studies.

The network consists of six work groups, studying different topics within three broad areas: 


  • Workgroup on prevalence of problem drug use at national level prevalence - Executive summary. 
  • Workgroup on prevalence of problem drug use at local level prevalence - Executive summary. 


  • Work group on time trends / incidence - Executive summary. 
  • Workgroup on geographic spread - Executive summary. 

Economic Aspect

  • Workgroup on costs / cost-effectiveness - Executive summary. 
  • Workgroup on drug markets / policy measures - Executive summary.