Representatives of candidate, potential candidate and neighbouring countries of the EU are joining members of the EMCDDA’s Reitox network in Lisbon today for the kick-off of the agency’s fifth Reitox week (1). The purpose of this annual event is to broaden the scope of regular Reitox meetings, underline the importance of the EU drug monitoring model and add impetus to the agency’s technical cooperation with countries outside the EU (2).
Reitox — the European information network on drugs and drug addiction — was set up in 1993 and is composed of 30 national monitoring centres or national focal points (NFPs) in the 28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway, as well as a focal point at the European Commission. The NFPs — from which the agency draws the bulk of its data — collect and analyse national information on drugs, drawing on various sectors including health, justice and law enforcement.
The 2016 Reitox week (21–25 November) unites 38 nations including: the current 30 members of the network and a number of beneficiary countries of the European Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)(3).
The Reitox week encompasses three events: international cooperation project-related meetings; a Reitox ‘extended network’ meeting (4) — this year focusing on ‘Drugs and recreational settings’ — and the regular Heads of focal point meeting. During the extended meeting, experts and researchers from 10 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Serbia) will share available data on substance use in open-air music festivals and other recreational and nightlife settings. In particular, they will look at the experiences and challenges faced by festival organisers and at existing interventions targeting the consequences of substance use in this context. A special focus will be placed on prevention strategies and on the evaluation of their effectiveness.
Alexis Goosdeel, EMCDDA Director, says: ‘With this meeting, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the dimension of problems associated with substance use in specific recreational settings, such as open-air music festivals and nightlife venues. Our discussions this week will help us shed light on the potential, yet often underused, role of local regulators, party organisers and parents' organisations in reducing substance-use-related problems in these settings. They will also help EU and partner countries identify possible steps towards implementing evidence-based interventions to tackle this issue'.