New products and services, working in partnership, and support to policy and practice in the fields of health and security are among the features presented in the latest EMCDDA General Report of Activities published today. The report, covering key achievements and governance in 2019, presents the implementation of the agency’s work programme activities over the 12-month period.
2019 was a year in which the agency released 32 scientific and corporate publications, in addition to 30 Country Drug Reports presenting the situation in the EU Member States, Norway and Turkey. EMCDDA staff contributed to some 300 scientific and institutional drug events and over 500 drug professionals were trained at capacity-building activities carried out by the agency (many in cooperation with partners).
Two flagship publications, the European Drug Report 2019 and the third edition of the EU Drug Markets Report (produced with Europol), were launched in Brussels by Dimitris Avramopoulos, then European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. These reports contributed new evidence on the dynamic drug phenomenon and the increasingly innovative EU drug market, estimated to be worth at least EUR 30 billion per annum.
At a time when public health concerns are growing, the agency also acted effectively on three of its key priorities: tackling the problem of drug-related deaths, supporting effective harm-reduction interventions and engaging with drug prevention professionals. The European Prevention Curriculum handbook was an important resource published in this context, designed to support specialists working in the drugs field.
This was also the first year of operation under the new legislative framework of the EU Early Warning System (EWS) on new psychoactive substances (NPS). Eight risk communications were issued during in 2019 and 53 new psychoactive substances were notified to the EWS, bringing the total number of substances monitored to around 780.
Providing timely information to the EU drug policy debate was a transversal priority in 2019 and much effort was invested in analysing and reporting on developments in the evolving cannabis market. These culminated in a new report and a range of analyses, all of which were provided to key stakeholders.
Throughout the year, working in partnership was vital for the EMCDDA. Core to the agency’s activities, as always, were its established data providers: the Reitox network of national focal points. Two important EU-funded technical cooperation projects also took off, one for six of the candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU (IPA 7) and the other for 15 of the European Neighbourhood Policy countries (EU4MD). Working with partners also made it possible to organise the Third European Conference on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (‘Lisbon Addictions’) which attracted a record 1 300 participants in 2019.
Over the 12 months, the EMCDDA received recognition for its work from practitioners in the field, partners and drug policymakers. In 2019, the agency achieved its highest operational and financial performance to date and received a positive fourth external evaluation for the period 2013–18. The latter highlighted the EMCDDA as a true hub of scientific excellence, both in Europe and internationally.