In 2021, the EMCDDA embarked on a new five-year Roadmap under its Strategy 2025 and an ambitious programme to contribute to a healthier and more secure Europe. We entered this new phase amid considerable uncertainty, as COVID-19 continued to run its course.  

When I reflect on the past 12 months, I feel proud of the way in which the EMCDDA team has embraced new digital and hybrid ways of working, with great agility and a spirit of innovation.

At the heart of our work in 2021 has been the development of a new business model, which places customers and digital transformation at its core. Adopted this month by our Management Board, this new model is designed to ensure that the agency will be fit to perform in an increasingly dynamic external environment and prepared to seize new opportunities that may arise.

Once again, in 2021, we have produced an impressive set of results. I would like to thank the EMCDDA staff, Reitox national focal points, our statutory bodies, EU institutions and external partners, for their support and dedication in these challenging times.

As the pandemic rolled on, we continued to take the pulse of its effects on drug use, services and markets through our trendspotter methodology, web surveys and leading-edge indicators. Our findings were highlighted in a range of reports, including our European Drug Report 2021, launched in a virtual event with European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in June. Significant efforts were also made to document the potential impact that developments in Afghanistan will have on the European drug situation.

This was also the year when we launched our latest Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide, in a new digital and modular format. This examines some of the key public health challenges in the drugs field today and offers timely, practical advice to practitioners and policymakers for designing, targeting and implementing effective responses. Health and social threats posed by new psychoactive substances led us to undertake two risk assessments on synthetic cathinones, which will have an impact on EU legislation. We have also been working intensively to examine changes in Europe's cocaine and methamphetamine markets and will be publishing new analyses in 2022.

Despite COVID-19 disruption, we did glimpse some semblance of normality this year, leaving business continuity mode and returning to the office and some face-to-face events. Looking back, the year was one of innovation, co-creation, partnership and hard work. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the agency at this time and on our exciting course of travel to 2025.

With gratitude, I would like to send you all Season’s greetings and warm wishes for a safe and healthy 2022!

Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA Director

emcdda season's greetings with trees and stars in turquoise and light yellow