Dear colleagues,

At the start of this year, when we embarked on our 25 years of monitoring celebrations, we knew it was going to be a special 12 months. Little did we know then just how unusual and challenging the year would turn out to be…

2020 has been a tough year. COVID-19 has had a disruptive impact on all of our lives, and on the drug phenomenon in Europe, and some of the repercussions may be long-lasting.

When I reflect on these months, I feel proud of the way in which the EMCDDA team swiftly adapted to new, digital ways of working and embraced the procedures of our business continuity plan, ensuring a smooth transition to a new routine.

As EMCDDA Director, I am also proud of how we were able to take the pulse of the impact of the pandemic on drug use, services and markets. This underlined, more than ever, how timely and good quality data are critical for keeping pace with new threats and developments and for identifying areas requiring a rapid response. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us the true value of information that is scientific, evidence-based and comparable across countries.

Evocation of Christmas tree with the message Season's greetings / Boas festas / Meilleurs Voeux / Mit den besten Wunschen

I would like to thank the EMCDDA staff, the Reitox national focal points, our statutory bodies, EU institutions and other partners for their support and dedication in these challenging times. We have produced an impressive set of results. Our special taskforce on COVID-19 coordinated scientific and communication activities on the pandemic, which led to rapid surveys and reports as well as a new series of webinars for professionals working in the drugs field. We were also delighted to launch a special anniversary edition of our European Drug Report in a digital event with European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson.

It was an honour and a privilege this year to be reappointed as EMCDDA Director to take the agency forward on an ambitious course of travel to 2025. The agency has an exciting future ahead of it and is ready to innovate within the boundaries of its remit. In an era when digital transformation becomes vital for organisations to deliver value to stakeholders, we will continue pursuing the use of new technologies for business optimisation and communication. Our planned new business model will help us to contribute more efficiently to a healthier and more secure Europe.

The year 2020 has taught us many lessons and I feel we will emerge from it strengthened and enriched.

The pandemic has shown us the value of partnerships and communities and how, together, we can make a difference to people’s lives.

I would like to send all of the EMCDDA staff and partners Season’s greetings and warm wishes for a safe and healthy 2021!

Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA Director