EMCDDA collaborates in international conference on drug prevention, treatment and care

The EMCDDA is collaborating this week in the 2019 International Conference on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care — Inspiration and Direction, organised in Vienna by the International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP). The event — running from 1–5 July with a packed programme of plenaries, keynotes and training workshops — brings together national and international experts in substance use prevention, treatment and care.

Speaking at the opening session today, EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel presented the latest demand reduction trends and developments in Europe. Around 1.2 million people received treatment for illicit drug use in the EU in 2017. An estimated 654 000 opioid users received opioid substitution treatment (OST) in the EU, a 4% increase on the previous year.

The Director also highlighted a number of EMCDDA products and services including its Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide; Best Practice Portal and its public health priorities (preventing and treating hepatitis C and preventing overdose deaths). Over 9 000 (9 461) overdose deaths, mainly related to heroin and other opioids, are estimated to have occurred in Europe (EU 28, Turkey and Norway) in 2017, with 8 000 (8 238) in the EU only.

As conference collaborator, the EMCDDA will hold a three-day workshop at the event focusing on the most useful and evidence-based prevention interventions and approaches, based on the European Universal Prevention Curriculum (EUPC). This is ahead of the launch of a EUPC manual in September.

Gregor Burkhart, the agency’s principal scientific analyst in the area of prevention, will present Xchange, the EMCDDA’s online registry of evidence-based prevention programmes, and ask ‘Can registries of evidence-based programmes really make a difference?’ 

Professionals, academics and experts from European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries are participating in the conference, thanks to 15 bursaries being offered through the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project. The three-year EU-funded project — launched by the EMCDDA in January — supports national and regional readiness in the ENP area to identify and respond to drug-related health and security threats.

The International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) is a global non-governmental organisation that supports the development of a professional substance use prevention, treatment and recovery network.