National drug policy developments

Reorganisation in drug coordination systems  |  Public perception of drugs and drug policy

Reorganisation in drug coordination systems

The trend observed in recent years to organise national drug policy through national action plans and coordinated systems continued in 2002 (61). Germany, Italy, some Austrian provinces, Sweden and Norway joined other EU partners in adopting a coherent drugs plan, programme or strategy. However, it is interesting to note how this area is subject to frequent changes. Often, changes in government result in a change in drugs strategy or the organisation of drugs agencies.

In Portugal, the new government that took office in 2002 merged the Portuguese Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (IPDT) and the Service for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Abuse (SPTT) into the IDT (Instituto da Droga e da Toxicodependência), and transferred responsibility for the new agency from the Presidency of the Council to the Ministry of Health. In the United Kingdom, following its re-election in 2001, the government presented an updated drug strategy in December 2002 for England and also instituted some restructuring within its local crime reduction partnership. Drug action teams were restructured in 2000 to conform to the boundaries of local authorities. In Norway, the Central Health and Social Administration was reorganised to place more emphasis on knowledge and experience as a basis for strategic planning and development of drug policy, while in Ireland the new government (2002) assigned responsibility for the national drugs strategy 2001–08 to the newly created Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. A Minister of State was appointed with responsibility for the national drugs strategy and communityaAffairs, and for housing and urban renewal – areas which in Ireland are considered to be interlinked. In addition, the government highlighted initiatives to tackle drug abuse and crime and to regenerate disadvantaged communities aimed at ‘building a caring society’. In Austria, the Federal Criminal Agency was created within the Ministry of the Interior to ensure greater coordination in combating crime. Moreover, and for the first time in Austria, staff resources have been allocated to the Federal Drug Coordination, which is in charge of coordination of drug policy at federal level.

The EMCDDA constantly monitors these trends, patterns and changes, and in December 2002 published an online comparative study of drug strategies and coordination in the field of drugs.

(61) This report focuses on new developments. A full picture of national strategies and coordination in the field of drugs is available online.