The fifth European drugs summer school (EDSS) — ‘Illicit drugs in Europe: demand, supply and public policies’ — opened today in Lisbon and will run until 8 July (1). The initiative, organised by the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), is supported by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Opening the event were EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel and ISCTE coordinator of the EDSS Catherine Moury.
This year, the focus of the course is on the evidence base for policymaking on drug-related issues. Keynote speakers will be considering the outcomes of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), which took place in New York in April 2016.
Speakers on the first day feature Werner Sipp, President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), who will talk on ‘The global drug control system: what is the UNGASS process and what to expect from it?’. On subsequent days, speakers will include: Keith Humphreys (Stanford School of Medicine, USA); Robert West (Editor-in-Chief of the journal Addiction); Owen Bowden-Jones (Imperial College, London) and João Goulão (Portuguese National Drug Coordinator)(2).
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, analysis); the position of the EU on drug policy in the international control system; 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 on ‘Scientific communication and policy decisions’.
The target audiences for the EDSS are: university students, researchers, professionals and administrators interested in working on drug issues. 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.