Germany Country Drug Report 2019

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

In Germany, the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy was adopted in 2012 by the Federal Cabinet as an ongoing strategy with no specified end date. The strategy aims to help individuals avoid or reduce their consumption of licit substances (alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic pharmaceuticals) and illicit substances, as well as addictive behaviours (e.g. pathological gambling). The strategy is comprehensive and based on four pillars: (i) prevention; (ii) counselling, treatment and help in overcoming addiction; (iii) harm reduction measures; and (iv) supply reduction. It covers six distinct areas: (i) alcohol; (ii) tobacco; (iii) prescription drug addiction and prescription drug abuse; (iv) pathological gambling; (v) online/media addiction; and (vi) illegal drugs. Each of the six areas contains a set of goals and measures for the implementation of the strategy.

No systematic evaluation of the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy has been conducted and none is scheduled. However, Germany, like other European countries, evaluates the impact of drug policies and strategies through routine indicator monitoring and specific research projects. For example, the prevalence of drug use is reviewed every 3 years through epidemiological studies, and many individual projects that have been implemented within the framework of the strategy are continuously evaluated.


National coordination mechanisms

The federal government, Länder and municipalities share responsibility for drug and addiction policy in Germany. According to the German Constitution, the federal government has legislative competence for narcotic drugs law, penal law and social welfare law. The Office of the Federal Government Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs is attached to the German Federal Ministry of Health. The Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs coordinates the drug and addiction policy of the federal government. The National Board on Drugs and Addiction is an advisory body that follows federal actions and plays a role in evaluating them. The enforcement of federal laws is mainly the responsibility of the Länder. The responsibility for the implementation of the drug and addiction policy, in particular its funding, rests with the Länder and municipalities, which may well set different priorities within the framework of statutory provisions and common goals. Coordination between the federal government and the Länder takes place in the interdepartmental conferences and working groups.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.