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Moore, Joan (2006) From Drugnet Europe. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 20, Winter 2006, p. 34.

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Drug strategies broadening in scope

Cited from Drugnet Europe No. 56, October–December 2006

An in-depth analysis of drug policy published by the EMCDDA this year alongside the 2006 Annual report, reveals that there are strong signs of a broadening of the scope of drug strategies to encompass licit addictive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco and medicines, as well as illicit drugs. Over two-thirds of the countries surveyed now either cite both types of substance explicitly in their drug policy documents or include links to licit substances in the context of prevention and treatment.

In his message launching the report, EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz referred to this as ‘clearly a timely development when the multiple use of licit and/or illicit substances (‘polydrug use’) is becoming ever more visible within the European drug culture’. The EMCDDA currently faces the challenge of monitoring a much broader spectrum of substances than a decade ago and polydrug use presents big challenges to drug monitoring systems that traditionally have focused on the use of individual substances. ‘Developing new methodologies to understand this pattern of drug use must be high on our future agenda’, said the Director, ‘if we are to meet the needs of the growing number of people whose problems stem from using a range of drugs’

Harm-reduction measures may be failing women

Cited from Drugnet Europe No. 56, October–December 2006

In all EU countries, more men than women die from drug overdose, with women accounting for between 7% and 35% of drug-related deaths, depending on the country. However the review points to ‘notable differences’ between the genders in drug-related death trends. While overdose deaths in the EU fell among males by around 30% between 2000 and 2003 (EU-15), the number of deaths reported among females fell by only 15% over the same period. This raises the question of whether harm-reduction measures targeted at high-risk drug users are impacting less on women than on men.

Concerns also surround the relatively high rates of HIV infection found among women who inject drugs. Female injecting drug users (IDUs) are more often involved in sex work and are more vulnerable to HIV infection. Recent data from studies of IDUs in nine EU countries showed HIV prevalence to be on average 13.6% among male IDUs and 21.5% among females. The EMCDDA warns that although, overall, more men inject drugs and die from using them, one cannot ignore the fact that female injectors may be at greater risk and harder to reach.

Drugnet Europe is the quarterly newsletter of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). An electronic version of Drugnet Europe is available on the EMCDDA website at www.emcdda.europa.eu

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the current or future issues of Drugnet Europe, please contact: Drug Misuse Research Division, Health Research Board, Knockmaun House, 42–47 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 676 1176 ext 127; Email: dmrd@hrb.ie


Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 20, Winter 2006
October 2006
Page Range
p. 34
Health Research Board
Issue 20, Winter 2006
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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