Expert meeting on the epidemiological indicator Patterns and trends in drug use (GPS)

Photo screen GPS

On 6 and 7 June 2017, the EMCDDA brought together more than forty European and international experts for a meeting on the key indicator Prevalence and patterns of drug use among the general population (GPS). There were a range of presentations from both EU Member States and other countries, projects and institutions. These regular meetings on the indicator change their focus from year to year. This year, particular attention has been given to methodological developments on the indicator, the link between drug use surveys and drug policies, and targeted surveys in drug use whilst serving as a platform for discussion on drug use issues. Also see our GPS indicator page and our Statistical Bulletin website where we present the detailed methodological information about national surveys and where you will find the most recent data available.

Meeting topics

In addition to patterns, prevalence and trends in general, thematic topics for this year included, amongst others:

  • Recent trends and analyses based on the most recent national surveys, in particular in countries with consistent and long-term series of surveys. The focus should be on the interpretation of these trends, correlating drug use with other possible explanatory variables
  • Revision of the European Model Questionnaire module on medicines. Measurement of psychoactive medicine use is particularly challenging, both because of their availability in the legal, illegal and grey markets (e.g. online pharmacies), and because differentiation between use and abuse can in many cases be subjective. The EMCDDA has been developing a revised module for the European Model Questionnaire to collect data on the misuse of medicines
  • Targeted surveys: recreational settings, web surveys (e.g. European Web Survey on Drugs)
  • Specific focus on the work being carried out in Europe on drug use in prison, namely the EQDP – European Questionnaire on Drug Use among Prisoners
  • The links that exist between prevalence data and other indicators, with a focus on how drug use data can help policy formulation and evaluation
  • A first exploration on the availability of data on performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED) coming the from General population surveys on drug use
  • Focused sessions on the analysis of poly-substance use and ageing drug users and an update on cannabis including recent trends on supply and demand indicators and policy developments.