12 Feb 2015: EMCDDA visit
Royal British Club visits European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction - EMCDDA
On Thursday 12th February the Royal Britsh Club was invited to visit the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) which is beautifully set in a position overlooking the river Tagus and almost adjacent to the Cais do Sodré station at Lisbon.
Established in 1993. Innaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's many decentralised agencies.
The EMCDDA exists to provide the EU and its Member States with a factual overview of European drug problems and a solid evidence base to support the drugs debate. Today it offers policymakers the data they need for drawing up informed drug laws and strategies. It also helps professionals and practitioners working in the field to pinpoint best practice and new areas of research.
Welcomed by Monika Blum, Senior Policy officer to the Management Board, Members were firstly taken to see the impressive shared conference facility in the adjoining European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) building. With all the state of the art technology, this room can accommodate conferences for up to 200 delegates. Following this we retired to a more intimate conference room where Monika explained the mandate and the main activities of EMCDDA. At the heart of the agency's work is the promotion of scientific excellence. To achieve its core task of providing sound and comparable information on drugs in Europe, the ECMDDA has developed the infrastructure and tools needed to collect country data in a harmonised way. These data are then fed by national drug monitoring centres to the Lisbon agency for anaylsis, resulting in a variety of information products conveying the broader European picture.
Mr Paul Griffiths, Scientific Director, then provided a detailed profile of the various problems that faced European countries in their battles to control the introduction and spread of drug abuse and addition. Clear and concise, he provided a series of slides that demonstrated the problems that faced individual states but stressed that it was not the business of EMCDDA to provide policy on issues of control as in most cases each individual state faced different problems. He went on to demonstrate that designer drugs were being created, sometimes not illegally, to replace more traditional drugs and that often as quick as these were being controlled other drugs were being manufactured. It was a very well balanced presentation that left Members with a taste of the problems faced by governments and societies.
Following the presentation Monika and Paul joined Members for lunch at the nearby La Dolce Vita restaurant where more questions could be asked in an informal manner. A fascinating visit enjoyed by all.