These are the minutes from the 56th meeting of the heads of focal points of the Reitox network which took place in Lisbon on the 30-31 May, 1 June 2017.
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Update on key recent and future policy and institutional developments (Plenary Session II)
· The NFPs were provided with updates on the EMCDDA latest developments: Priority is to create the conditions to successfully implement the Strategy 2025. There are four priority lines of action, as follows:
1) aligning the future programming documents (such as the new PD 2019-21), with the Strategy, namely by building them along the two pillars and the business drivers of the Strategy;
2) Implementing the decision on the new organigram designed to support the implementation of the Strategy – this regards in particular the new scientific unit ‘Public health’ (HEA), created by merging the EPI and the IBS units, and whose mission is to coordinate the Agency’s contribution to a healthier Europe. This is expected to be fully operational (new HoU and HoS in place) by end of October;
3) The involvement of the Reitox network in the implementation of the Strategy 2025, namely through the adoption of the Reitox Development Framework (RDF); and finally
4) The adoption of a new External Partners Framework, updating the 2007 IC strategy. The NFPs expressed their availability to provide support to the Centre on the drafting of this document.
· The Portuguese NFP gave an update on the programme of the 2017 Lisbon Addictions Conference organised on 24–26 October 2017.
· The EC representative provided an update about:
1) the new legal framework on NPS: a package composed of an amendment to the EMCDDA Regulation, integrating the EWS and risk assessment in the body of the text, and a Directive amending the Council Decision from 2004 on the minimum provision of constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking is being finalised and will be probably adopted still under Maltese Presidency, i.e. before end of June 2017; and
2) EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017–2020 proposes actions around the following topics:Drug demand reduction, Drug supply reduction, Coordination, International Cooperation and Research and information. The plan should be agreed on by the end of the Maltese presidency.
· The Centre provided an update of its cooperation with external partners, namely EU institutions, EU agencies, International Organisations and Third Countries.
o The Centre will provide the NFPs with the consultation draft of the WP 2019 (PD 2019–21) by 31 January 2018
New Reitox network Development Framework (Plenary Session III)
· The HNFPs were debriefed about the activities of the Joint Working Group that has been set up to prepare and propose a draft RDF (2 meetings: the first on 20–21 April and the second on 29 May), as well as of the results of a survey launched by the NFPs representatives in the JWG (CZ, MT and DE) to better understand the agendas and the tasks of the NFPs and the level of expertise of the FPs’ parent/hosting organisations;
· Many HNFPs took the floor with several expressing concerns about capacities of the NFPs to follow the new direction set by the EMCDDA. The main reasons for this concern being the fact that most NFPs are not sufficiently staffed, and/or don’t have the necessary expertise to help the Centre fulfil the Goal 2 of the EMCDDA Strategy 2025 – Contributing to a More Secure Europe. Some HNFPs considered important to have more clarity about the remit and tasks of a NFP. The implementation of these new tasks by the NFPs should be addressed in the RDF.
· Support from the Centre will be needed to make sure that the Reitox network will be able to implement the RDF envisaged to be adopted at the end of the year.
o Working group on the RDF will pursue its activities along the lines proposed (in the supporting document for the meeting and taking into account the concerns expressed).
o A draft will be presented and discussed at a Technical Meeting of HNFP to be organised in October. Then, the draft document will be presented to the whole Reitox Network for adoption at the November 57thHNFP meeting.
Reporting Package: Debriefing of 2017 Reporting and preparation of 2017 (Plenary Session IV)
· The plans for the integration of the SQ into the WBs and ST were presented, together with a debriefing of the TM of 26 April that was held to discuss this integration. There will be an exception: SQ 25 and 26, which will be kept for the time being;
· The concept of Rapid information Requests, replacing the former T5 questions of the WBs, was presented in more detail. It will be a screening tool to assess the availability and interest to provide data on topics of possible relevance. On the basis of responses, the Centre might ask or not for ad hoc information; in all cases, the Centre will keep the NFPs informed about the outcomes of the RIR;
· EU Action Plan: a special data collection exercise around the stages of the (evaluation) of the Action Plan 2017–2020 will be done. This will be preceded by an assessment of the information already available through routine monitoring and the need for complementary information.
o The Centre will send to the NFPs shortly after the 56thHNFPs meeting a single list of RiR, with a deadline for reply of 1 month;
o The Centre will send for the revised workbooks before the next HFPs meeting in November;
o Access to WBs: Each NFP will inform the EMCDDA by 31 July 2017 about the approach to follow regarding external requests received by the EMCDDA for access to the WBs. In case of no information, the Centre will redirect any requests received to the NFPs.If the NFP authorises the Centre to share WB with interested external partners, the Centre will do this with a clear recommendation to contact the NFP for further requests and actively inform NFP about respective inquiries.
o The Centre will prepare and propose in 2018 to the NFPs a special questionnaire on the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017–20;
CDR (Plenary Session V)
· CDR 2017 was presented and was praised by the large majority of the NFP taking the floor. Some reasons for concern: the fact that the CDR data is circa two years old at the date of the launch, which might be confusing for national audiences when more recent national data were already presented at national level;
· Last checking by 1 June and publication of all the 30 CDRs on 6 June, together with the EDR;
· Few issues to be considered for the next CDR 2018: last check of the CDR by the NFPs before publication; national versions (to be produced under NFP responsibility); promotion in the social media (to be done by the NFP);
o The 2017 CDR national versions will be publicised by the EMCDDA as soon as they are published at national level in national languages;
o The CDR will be a topic tentatively of the TM of October, and in any case of the 57thHNFP meeting;
o The Centre will send an evaluation questionnaire on the CDRs to collect input for the next CDRs;
o The Centre will liaise with Belgium HNFP to have the survey results already carried out among NFPs.
Update of EMCDDA activities: Markets, Crime and Supply Reduction (Plenary Session VI)
· Drug Law Offences: The Centre updated the NFPs about its work to reconcile the two data collection exercises (reported to the EMCDDA and reported to the EC-Eurostat). The EC-Eurostat is open to hand over the coordination of the EU data collection to the EMCDDA. The Centre encouraged the NFPs that have not yet done so, to make contact with their counterparts in the National Statistic Offices responsible for DLO and to work to figure out where the discrepancies lie..
· Reference Group (RG): NFPs were provided with conclusions of a review of the recent work of the RG on Drug Supply indicators. The Centre welcomed the suggestion of the Spokesperson to have a small joint meeting between certain members of the Reference Group on Drug supply indicators and the HNFPs.
· Supply indicators: It was emphasised that the NFPs are still the central data collection conduit for Supply indicators. The Centre encouraged the NFPs to work towards implementing the revised supply indicators where possible. Encouraging remarks were made by several NFP regarding the analysis possibilities using the improved supply data. This type of cross-indicator analysis will be further developed as the data coverage will continue to increase.
o NFPs that have not yet done so, to make contact with their counterparts in the National Statistic Offices responsible for DLO to work to figure out where the discrepancies lie. Support to the NFPs will be provided by the Centre upon request and when possible.
o The Centre will promote a small scale joint meeting between some NFPs and members of the Reference Group on Supply;
o The Centre will circulate the report of the RG to NFPs once finalised and subsequently work on implementing the recommendations.
Update of EMCDDA activities: Health-related issues (Plenary Session VI)
· European Web-based survey: a report with the main results of the first round and the validity study will be published in the second half of the year. The questionnaire will be modified based on the validity study recommendations. The second round of data collection could possibly run in October 2017. Seven National Focal Points have already actively shown an interest to take part.
· Prisons survey questionnaire: methodological package is now finalised and available on the public EMCDDA website. Countries planning to conduct prison surveys and are interested to use the EQDP may use the existing tool.
· Prevalence module TDI: the first data collection started in September 2016 with 7 NFPs that collected the data. This is a voluntary data collection and will be repeated in 2019 with 2018 treatment data.
· Hospital emergencies-EURODEN: an update on the network was presented and there was a shared interest to create contacts between the EURODEN and NFPs with the aim of increasing the participation in the project;
· Minimum Quality Standards in Drug demand Reduction: an update of the state of the art regarding the implementation of the Minimum standards was presented;
· Hepatitis week is organised from 12–16 June 2018 at EMCDDA in collaboration with ECDC;
o The Centre will follow-up with the voluntary NFPs for the second round implementation of the web-based survey and will liaise with Pompidou Group on online questionnaire mentioned during the meeting;
o Interested countries are invited to inform the EMCDDA if they have the intention to conduct a drug survey in prison using the EQDP;
o NFPs are welcome to send their comments on the prevalence module by September 2017;
o The Centre could facilitate a fact-sheet on EURODEN that could be further distributed by the NFPs to potential partners at national level;
· Bridging waste-water with other epidemiological data:
Two external experts participated in the parallel session ‘bridging wastewater with other epidemiological indicators’: Malcolm Reid (NIVA, Norway) and Hayley Jones (University of Bristol, UK). Malcolm Reid presented an introduction to wastewater based epidemiology. Some countries (Belgium and Finland) presented their positive experiences of collaborating with wastewater experts to improve monitoring at national level. Others (Czech Republic) gave examples of how wastewater analysis should not be conducted at national level.
There was an agreement on the importance of seeking further synergies between wastewater experts and national focal points/drug epidemiologists.
Hayley Jones provided further details about the Work Package 3 of the WATCH project, which is aimed at combining wastewater with other epidemiological data. Synergies and collaboration with different cities were explored during the parallel session, but in particular during the slot for bilateral meetings.
· DRD epidemiology and responses:
Objectives and expected outcomes of an ongoing EMCDDA project on take home naloxone (THN) projects were presented by the contractor (AT Focal Point) and DH;
The aim is a web-based resource, which provides technical resources to service providers who want to set up THN programmes, including materials on overdose prevention and management trainings, as well as an overview of legal and operational frameworks relevant to policy makers;
The current state of forensic practices related to DRD cases investigations and improvement of the completeness of the DRD data were also discussed. It was agreed that mapping the current toxicological routine practices would be important as well as increasing the availability of post-mortem toxicological data to monitor polydrug use and opioid deaths. These issues will be further discussed at the DRD meetings.
o A template for systematic collection of data from current THN projects has been developed. It will be pre-filled with available information by the contractor and be sent out in the weeks following the 56thHNFP meeting to 10 countries where THN projects/programmes exist;
o At the DRD-expert meeting in September, an expert workshop will address whether a harmonised documentation or monitoring of such programmes should be recommended at European level.
Several bilateral meetings were organised: on DLO, European Web Survey on Drugs, Treatment workbook, TDI and EWS. There will be action points agreed directly with each of the NFPs involved.
RTX network – Accreditation and 2017 Extended Reitox meeting 6thReitox week(Plenary Session VII)
· Accreditation: 6 NFPs currently undertaking piloting phase (AT, BE, EL, HR, CY, NL). A first feedback was given by AT and HR on the ongoing piloting of the questionnaire; this showed the usefulness of the exercise but also some shortcomings in the questionnaire. This will be addressed again in the second half of the year.
· Extended Reitox meeting (6th Reitox week): the topic put forward by the Centre – ‘Migration and drug use: challenges and opportunities for the drug monitoring framework’, was welcomed by the HFPs. The Austrian and Turkish FP showed interested and proposed to suggest speakers. It was suggested to limit the number of presentations (max 2 presentations per session), and called for parallel sessions and a more interactive meeting, with the aim to allow for more exchanges between the NFPs and the non EU countries representatives.
o The feedback of the NFPs piloting the accreditation questionnaire is due by 15 September 2017;
o NFPs will provide the Centre by 30 June with comments on the themes and possible speakers for the Extended Reitox meeting.
Publications and cross-cooperation projects(Plenary Session VIII)
· Plans for EDR and EDRR 2017 were presented:
o EDR: Launch planned for 6 June;
o The European Drug Response Report (EDRR), with the provisional title ‘Health & Social Responses to Drug Problems: A European Guide’ is conceived as guidebook on health and social responses; it will be launched in October 2017;
· Trendspotter: the results of the latest trendspotter on high-risk drug use and NPS in Europe were presented.
· 7 step guide on national policy evaluation: document was presented and its final availability most welcomed by several NFPs. Data of publication not yet decided, but NFPs will have immediate access to an embargoed copy through the Reitox Extranet;
· Reitox Academies: the next one is planned on ‘Reporting on drug-related public expenditure’ on 27 October 2017 (Lisbon), three more academies are under preparation for 2017: Indirect methods to estimate the prevalence of high-risk drug use (Lisbon), New threats and challenges in drug monitoring and responses, TBD (September, Tallinn) Drug treatment for people affected by violence, TBD (Vienna);
· EU research projects: a state of play of major EC-funded drug-related research projects was presented by the EMCDDA.
o EDRR: The Centre will send a consultation draft to NFPs two or three weeks after the meeting, i.e. during the month of June
o The Centre will upload in the Reitox Extranet immediately after the 56thHNFP meeting the 7 step guide on national policy evaluation;
o Reitox academies: the information on the upcoming academies will be sent in due time to all NFPs and the Centre will launch an online survey to collect ideas for the 2018 academies.
Reitox meetings in 2018
HNFPs were kindly asked to save the dates below for the two HNFPs meetings to be organised in 2018:
· 58thReitox meeting of the Heads of Focal Points: 22–24 May 2018;
· 59thReitox meeting of the Heads of Focal Points/7thReitox Week: 12–15 November 2018.