The University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) will be joining forces this summer to hold the fifth European drugs summer school (EDSS) on ‘Illicit drugs in Europe: demand, supply and public policies’ (1). Registration opens today for the two-week course, which will take place in the Portuguese capital from 27 June to 8 July (2). The initiative is also supported by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Through a multidisciplinary and interactive approach to the drugs problem, EMCDDA scientific experts, leading academics, guest speakers and policymakers, will prepare participants to meet the complex policy challenges in this field — both in Europe and beyond.
This year the focus of the course will be on the evidence base for policymaking on drug-related issues. Keynote speakers will consider the outcomes of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), taking place in New York in April 2016.
Week 1 of the summer school focuses on ‘Drug policies and the production of evidence’ and will feature lectures on: UNGASS 2016; evidence in harm reduction; drug markets in Europe; detecting new drugs; and prevention. This session will also focus on the EMCDDA’s epidemiological indicators and their use in informing drug policy.
Week 2 is dedicated to ‘Policymaking for drug-related issues’, including lectures on: drug policies (concepts, issues and analysis); the EU drug strategy; drug laws and public expenditure; and monitoring supply reduction and drug enforcement activity. Week 2 will conclude with an analysis of the link between evidence and decision-making and will include study visits and an open debate.
The target audiences for the EDSS are: university students, researchers, professionals and administrators interested in working on drug issues. The previous rounds of the summer school brought together students from the EU Member States as well as representatives from Asia and Latin America. Based on feedback from previous editions, more space will be devoted this year to student-led workshops and discussions.
Profiles of former alumni and their testimonials can be found on the official summer school website and their statements viewed in a promotional video. In 2016, students will again be able to apply for scholarships and ‘Early-bird’ reductions are available (3). The EDSS is run in English.