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"Grass" rolled tightly into a joint © Julien Rousset, fotolia

The nature, extent and consequences of drug use constantly evolve - they are as dynamic as society itself. Collecting reliable, high-quality, accurate and comparable information and data is crucial for addressing drugs effectively. These data are also useful for evaluating the effectiveness of policies put in place at national or EU level. Research is also vital: we need to know more about how drugs can affect people, what treatment methods work, or how drug trafficking can be detected and intercepted. The European Union is committed to promoting such research, through the EU's research programmes.

The EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 identifies information, research, monitoring and evaluation as key elements of EU drug policy, helping to achieve a better understanding of the drugs phenomenon.

Information

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction is the EU's reference point on drug information and provides the EU with objective, reliable and comparable data at a European level.

The EMCCDA has developed common key indicators for EU data on:

  • the extent and pattern of drug use in the general population;
  • the prevalence of problem drug use;
  • the demand for treatment by drug users;
  • the number of drug-related deaths and the mortality of drug users;
  • the rates of drug-related infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis, etc.).

The data collected from the EMCDDA's national focal points in the EU countries is presented annually in the EMCDDA's European Drug Report.

European Opinion Poll on Drugs 

The European Commission carries out regular public opinion surveys - Eurobarometer Choose translations of the previous link  - focusing on youth and drugs. Such surveys were carried out in 2002pdf Choose translations of the previous link  , in 2004pdf Choose translations of the previous link  , in 2008pdf Choose translations of the previous link , in 2011pdf Choose translations of the previous link  and in 2014 Choose translations of the previous link .

Evaluation

Evaluation is an important part of EU drugs policy. The EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 requires the European Commission to carry out regularly an evaluation of the implementation of the strategy and of its implementing drugs action plans, with the support of the European External Action Service (EEAS)EMCDDA and Europol. The EU Drugs Action Plan 2013-2016 indicates timetables, responsible parties, indicators and data collection/assessment mechanisms for each action for this purpose.

The European Commission presents regularly progress reports Choose translations of the previous link  on the implementation of the EU Drugs Action Plans.

Research

Research plays an important role to underpin evidence-based drug policies and develop the necessary policy responses to reduce the adverse health and social impacts of drug use in our societies.

In 2009 the Council and the Commission, with the support of the EMCDDA, developed an EU strategic framework in the field of drugs-related research, which draws on the following findings: