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Sinclair, Hamish (2004) Connecting research, policy and practice. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 11, June 2004, p. 23.

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On 6–7 April 2004 the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe held an international conference in Strasbourg entitled ‘Connecting research, policy and practice: lessons learned and challenges ahead’. The conference provided policy-makers, researchers and practitioners in the field of drug prevention, treatment and criminal justice an opportunity to reflect on the role of research in policy and practice.  For some twenty years now the Pompidou Group has been active in the area of drug epidemiology, developing and promoting a range of drug indicators and methodological approaches to examine the drug problem. However, the work programme of the Pompidou Group for 2004–2006 envisages a new role, that of stimulating dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and practitioners and acting as a catalyst for evidence-based innovative approaches to drug policy and practice. The conference was a first attempt by the Pompidou Group towards the development of strategic thinking on the connection between research, policy and practice.

 Prior to the conference, the Pompidou Group commissioned Richard Hartnoll, in his capacity as a former consultant in epidemiology for the Pompidou Group and as the former head of the epidemiology department of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), to prepare a background paper. This pre-conference paper reviewed what had been achieved over the past twenty years in the area of drug epidemiology, the current gaps in our knowledge, and the opportunities available to strengthen policy- and practice-relevant research. The paper served as the basis for discussion by a panel of international experts and participants at the conference.

 One of the main conclusions from the conference was that there was a need for a strengthening of policy-relevant research on drugs in Europe by investment in a long-term strategy on research. More emphasis on programme- rather than project-based approaches was required and more priority should be given to secondary analysis and synthesis of existing data before embarking on new data collection. There was also need for ‘think-tanks’ of experienced researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to offer detached reflection and critical questioning.

It is expected that Richard Hartnoll’s pre-conference paper will be published by the Pompidou Group before summer 2004. Copies will be available in the National Documentation Centre on Drug Use, Health Research Board, Holbrook House, Holles Street, Dublin 2. Tel:  01 6761176 ext. 175; Email: ndc@hrb.ie

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Issue Title
Issue 11, June 2004
June 2004
Page Range
p. 23
Health Research Board
Issue 11, June 2004
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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