EMCDDA unites expert networks in integrated approach to monitoring

EMCDDA unites expert networks in integrated approach to monitoring

Continuity and change: high-risk drug use and drug treatment in Europe’, is the focus of events unfolding this week at the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) in Lisbon (1).

Two parallel EMCDDA expert meetings, dedicated to the agency’s treatment demand indicator (TDI) and the problem drug use indicator (PDU), precede a broader, common event open to specialists from outside the two groups. The proceedings are expected to provide valuable insights into measuring problem drug use and demand for treatment in Europe and will allow experts to interact across the subject areas.

The initiative is in line with a fresh, integrated approach to the agency’s expert meetings, launched in 2013, designed to inspire cross-discipline analyses of the drugs problem and responses to it (2). Through this approach, the agency intends to obtain greater value from these annual events, strengthening what have become, over the last 10 years, valuable networks of excellence.

The week’s programme focuses, among others, on:

  • TDI expert meeting (23 September): state of progress of implementing the TDI indicator across Europe, including advancements in countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA); recent data analyses; TDI in the broader treatment and addiction monitoring system; and a new project to improve estimates of treatment capacity in Europe.
  • PDU expert meeting (23 September): three workshops on indirect methods to estimate high-risk drug use (multiplier, capture–recapture, multivariate indicator methods); feedback on related guidelines and advanced methodological issues; state of progress of implementing the PDU indicator across Europe; and new studies in Greece, Finland and the UK.
  • ‘Continuity and change’ common event (24–26 September): trends and developments in high-risk opioid use; opioid treatment coverage and needs; ageing drug users; vulnerable populations; monitoring systems and information technologies; high-risk use of stimulants, benzodiazepines and cannabis; cost of treatment and the impact of economic recession; treatment outcomes; and evaluating best practice and monitoring treatment effectiveness.

The EMCDDA uses five key epidemiological indicators to achieve its goal of providing ‘factual, objective, reliable and comparable information’ on drugs and drug addiction at European level (3). Endorsed by the Council of the EU in 2001, the indicators underpin the agency’s reporting on trends and developments in the EU drug situation and are crucial to the analysis of interventions and policies.

Participating in the proceedings are specialists from across the European Union, five Balkan countries and North America as well as from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and international organisations.