Heads of EU and UN drugs agencies meet in Vienna

EMCDDA and UNODC reinforce partnership and launch treatment demand toolkit

(VIENNA, 14 March 2007) - Cooperation between the EMCDDA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) took a further step forward in Vienna today with the adoption of a new joint work programme and the launch of a practical toolkit to help countries collect data on people seeking treatment for drug problems.

EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz and UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa approved the five-part programme as they met in the margins of the 50 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the central policy-making body dealing with drug-related matters within the UN system ( 1).

The work programme enhances cooperation in epidemiology, demand reduction, supply reduction, legal information systems and new drug trends, synthetic drugs and amphetamine-type stimulants.

'Both within Europe and globally there is now an explicit understanding that effective drug policy depends on basing our actions on hard evidence', Mr Götz said.

'Both the EMCDDA and UNODC are committed to developing a better understanding of the drug situation, identifying new trends and threats and supporting the exchange of knowledge on what constitutes good practice and effective actions. Today we reiterated our commitment to working together and agreed a concrete set of joint activities that will help provide information tools that are crucial to the development, targeting and assessment of our policy initiatives.'

Mr Costa added: 'In many countries, people who are dependent on drugs are stigmatised and excluded from mainstream society. They should be helped through treatment to get back into society, free of addiction. For this to happen it is necessary that they have access to appropriate services and that practitioners have information on the people seeking treatment. The EMCDDA and UNODC have a common interest: to provide quality information to inform policy-making and programme development.'

The UNODC-EMCDDA toolkit released today is the first volume co-published by the organisations and is designed to help countries in compiling comparable data on the demand for treatment of drug problems ( 2).

Entitled Guidance for the measurement of drug treatment demand , the publication is targeted at drug treatment experts and practitioners throughout the world. It is the eighth toolkit module of UNODC's Global Assessment Programme on drug abuse (GAP) ( 3).

The number of people seeking treatment for drug problems is a leading indicator of drug use patterns and prevalence. Data collected from this group offer a valuable 'window' onto an otherwise hidden population and a means of assessing the performance of treatment services, client needs and the effectiveness of policy.

Although data on drug treatment are available in many countries, there is still a lack of standardisation in data coverage, concepts and methods and tools.

The guidelines look at the practical issues to be addressed in order to reach an internationally consistent dataset on drug treatment demand. They include a three-stage model for building the foundations of a treatment demand information system, a core set of standard data items/codes and common definitions of treatment, drug use, treatment centres, clients and units of measurement.

Toolkit available here (pdf).



( 1) For more on the 50 th session of the CND see: /unodc/en/cnd_session_50.html. The EMCDDA participates as observer on the CND while the UNODC has observer status on the EMCDDA Management Board. The bodies cooperate under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1998: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/?nnodeid=1131

( 2) The guidelines are available on the EMCDDA website at: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/?nnodeid=400

( 3) Global assessment programme: /unodc/drug_demand_gap_aboutgap.html