Representatives of candidate, potential candidate and neighbouring countries of the European Union and of Central Asia are joining members of the EMCDDA’s Reitox network in Lisbon today for the kick-off of the agency’s sixth Reitox week . The purpose of this annual event is to broaden the scope of regular Reitox meetings, underline the importance of the EU drug monitoring model and add impetus to the agency’s technical cooperation with countries outside the EU (1).

Reitox — the European information network on drugs and drug addiction — was set up in 1993 and is composed of 30 national monitoring centres or national focal points (NFPs) in the 28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway, as well as a focal point at the European Commission. The NFPs — from which the agency draws the bulk of its data — collect and analyse national information on drugs, drawing on various sectors including health, justice and law enforcement.

The 2017 Reitox week (28 November–1 December) unites some 50 nations including: the current 30 members of the network and a number of beneficiary countries of the European Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)(2). For first time, the meeting will also welcome partner countries of the Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP).

The Reitox week encompasses three events: international cooperation project-related meetings; an ‘extended meeting’ of the Reitox network — this year focusing on ‘Migration and drugs: challenges and opportunities for monitoring’ (3) — and the regular Heads of focal point meeting.

During the extended Reitox meeting, experts and researchers from nine countries (4) and from the European Border Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) will share information on national situations and perspectives relating to migration and drugs. In particular, they will look at the possible threats and vulnerabilities linked to these phenomena as well as the responses developed at national level. This day of exchange will close with a presentation of the EMCDDA’s Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide, released on 24 October, and will look at the overall picture of responses addressing the needs of migrants.