In Austria, the Addiction Prevention Strategy was adopted in 2016 and, alongside the Narcotic Substances Act, sets out the goals, principles and framework for Austria’s drug policy. It views addiction as a disease, supports the principle of treatment over that of punishment and aims for a society as free from addiction as possible. The strategy addresses illicit drugs and licit substances alongside non-substance-related addictive behaviour. It provides a guiding framework at the federal level for work on drug use issues and complements the drug strategies of the nine provinces. It has three fields of intervention: (i) prevention of addiction; (ii) help with addiction (harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration); and (iii) security. The strategy does not include a specific action plan.
While no systematic evaluation of the current drug strategy document is planned, Austria, like other European countries, evaluates its drug policy and strategy using routine indicator monitoring and specific research projects. Addiction research, evaluation and quality assurance are identified as key support processes in the Austrian Addiction Prevention Strategy for the ongoing development of interventions and policy.
At the federal level, the central actors in the field of drug policy are the Federal Drug Coordination Office, the Federal Drug Forum and the Committee on Quality and Safety in Substitution Treatment. The main responsibility for coordinating the federal drug policy, that is cooperation at the federal level and with the provinces, rests with the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, which also chairs the Federal Drug Coordination Office as well as the Federal Drug Forum. The Federal Drug Forum comprises representatives of other relevant federal ministries and the provincial drug or addiction coordination offices, as well as the Local Governments Federation, the Reitox Focal Point and the coordinating body of the addiction prevention units. Other experts and academics can be invited to attend meetings. The provinces work together through the Provincial Conference of Drug Coordinators, and each has an Addiction Prevention Unit.