From Drugnet Europe.
Drugnet Ireland, Issue
Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of services for drug users
Article by Roland Simon in Drugnet Europe No. 70, April–June 2010
Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of drug prevention, treatment, harm reduction and rehabilitation interventions is one of the key objectives of the current EU drugs action plan (2009–12). In order to translate this goal into concrete action, the plan foresees developing, implementing and exchanging quality standards and guidelines for services and interventions in these areas. The European Commission (DG–JLS) is supporting an EU-funded research project to develop ‘minimum quality standards and benchmarks’ in the four fields. The project will take stock of standards already existing in Europe and develop a mechanism of consensus-building between the EU Member States.
The EMCDDA has been working in this domain for over a decade. In 2008, it launched its Best Practice portal, designed to help those working in these fields take evidence-based decisions when planning interventions. More recently it has conducted a review of national treatment guidelines1 and is currently collaborating in another EU-funded research project to produce evidence-based drug prevention standards for use in the EU.2 In the light of its experience, the EMCDDA will work closely with the Commission on this initiative, participating in the project steering group and offering technical support as required.
1. A Selected Issue report on the implementation of the treatment guidelines will be published in 2011.
New EMCDDA monograph focuses on harm reduction
EMCDDA Monograph No 10, entitled Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges,1 was released in April. In 16 chapters authored by over 50 European and international experts, the monograph provides a comprehensive overview of the harm reduction field. Part I looks at the emergence of harm reduction approaches and their diffusion as part of the new public health movement of the mid-1980s. It explores the concept from several perspectives (e.g. international organisations, academic researchers and drug users). Part II is dedicated to current evidence and impacts of harm reduction and illustrates how the concept has broadened to cover a wide range of behaviours and harms, including those related to alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug use. Part III addresses challenges and innovations and the requirement to integrate and match interventions to individual and social needs.
Drugnet Europe is the quarterly newsletter of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), available at www.emcdda.europa.eu.
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