EUROPEAN MONITORING CENTRE FOR DRUGS AND DRUG ADDICTION
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the hub of drug-related information in the European Union. Its role is to gather, analyse and disseminate ‘objective, reliable and comparable information’ on drugs and drug addiction and, in so doing, provide its audiences with a sound and evidence-based picture of the drug phenomenon at European level.
Among the Centre’s target groups are policy-makers, who use this information to help formulate coherent national and Community drug strategies. Also served are professionals and researchers working in the drugs field and, more broadly, the European media and general public.
At the heart of the Centre’s work is the task of improving the comparability of drug information across Europe and devising the methods and tools required to achieve this. As a result of efforts to date, countries can now view how they fit into the wider European picture and examine common problems and goals. A key feature of the drug phenomenon is its shifting, dynamic nature, and tracking new developments is a central task of the EMCDDA. The Centre obtains information primarily from the ‘Reitox network’: a group of focal points in each of the 25 EU Member States, Norway, the candidate countries to the EU and at the European Commission. The Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union and Norway and an online Statistical bulletin offer a yearly overview of the latest European drug situation and trends. Meanwhile online Country situation summaries provide a rich pool of national drug-related data.
The EMCDDA works on the assumption that sound information is the key to an effective strategy on drugs. Although the Centre cannot propose any kind of policy model, it is now making a clear impact on decision-making through its analyses, instruments and standards.