Public expenditure in the area of drug-demand reduction (106)

The European Union drugs strategy (2000–04) specifies that the Council and the EU Commission should, based on work by the EMCDDA and the Pompidou Group, attempt to itemise a list of all public expenditure in the field of drugs.

In its efforts to respond to the European Union drugs strategy, the EMCDDA, with the valuable contribution of the Reitox national focal points, is investigating in this report direct public expenditure in the field of drug-demand reduction incurred in 1999 (107). It concentrates on expenditure at national and regional level, on drug-use prevention, treatment of addiction (in- and outpatient, substitution and drug free), rehabilitation and reintegration, outreach work, harm reduction and education and research and coordination when related to demand reduction. To better delineate our research, we have excluded direct expenditure sustained by private health organisations (therapy centres, clinics, etc.) and indirect expenditure sustained by general services such as general hospitals and emergency rooms. Finally, the broader and much more complex question of the social costs of illegal drugs has not been considered.

In addressing the question of public expenditure in the field of drugs (albeit in a restricted domain), this report aims primarily to increase awareness in the EU countries of the relevance of a drug policy indicator, rather than to produce empirical evidence.

(106) The differences in the data available limited the possibility of drawing cross-country comparisons. A more complete picture of expenditure in the field of drugs in the individual EU Member States is available on the EMCDDA web site.

(107) Year of reference for the European Union drugs strategy (2000–04) ‘snapshot’ reporting exercise.