The 65th meeting of the Heads of National Focal Points of the European information network on drugs and drug addiction (REITOX) was held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 15 to 17 November 2021. It was in a hybrid format – representatives of 18 of the countries were on site in Lisbon, and the other 11 (as well as the representative of the European Commission) – joined online. This was the first meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, organised in person by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

The main topics of the meeting:

Introduction and follow-up of previous meetings

The agenda was adopted in unanimity and the attendants had no comments about the document presenting the follow-up of the decisions agreed on during the previous HNFP meeting. The former Reitox spokesperson gave a brief summary of the pre-Reitox meeting in which the NFPs elected a new spokespersons team made of representatives from CY (lead), SI, FR, LU and DE NFPs.

Plenary session I: Update on key recent and future policy and institutional developments

The Director underlined his full commitment to the Reitox network and shared that intense
efforts were being made to avoid a reduction of the budget. However, if the final decision at the Management Board will stipulate a budget cut, then a 25% reduction of the maximum EMCDDA contribution will be applied. On the revision of the mandate, a decision on launching the procedure is likely to be made soon. He indicated that the whole revision process will probably take close to two years and a new mandate is not expected to enter into force before mid-2024.

Plenary session II: EMCDDA New Business model

The Director presented the state of progress of the New Business model underlining that it is centred on the customers, their needs and the offer of services available to them. He clarified that digital transformation is the way of implementation of the new model which will result in a digital ecosystem defined as a set of interconnected digital services that allow users to satisfy interrelated needs in one integrated experience.

Plenary session Ill: RTX network business and international cooperation projects

The Centre proposed, and the NFPs concurred, that the areas and milestones identified in the evaluation of the previous Roadmap as having room for progress should be prioritised. It was agreed that the implementation of the Reitox Development Framework Roadmap 2025 will follow the same assessment methodology as the one used for the evaluation of the previous Roadmap. It was also agreed that if resources allow it, an external evaluation will be conducted at the end of the implementation period (2024/2025).

Plenary session IV: Communication updates

The Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU (CdT) delivered a presentation of their language services, focusing on the latest translation developments using new technologies, especially the automatic translation. The added value of the CdT’s service is the use of translation memories, based on previous translations in the field and feedback received. Although machine translation cannot yet match the quality of human translation, it is much more affordable and faster, and can answer the need of rapidly making content available in more national languages. It follows the principle “quality for purpose” and is not meant to replace the human translation, but rather give additional possibilities. The Centre is constantly trying to improve and develop the resources they use and invited the NFPs to keep providing feedback on the translation quality, as well as to send quality reference documents in the national languages.

Plenary session V: Golden hour

The NFPs held a preliminary discussion about their participation and approach to the Lx Addictions the possibility of taking part in this edition’s video contest and ways to raise the visibility and strengthen the Reitox network.

Plenary session VI: National reporting package 2022

The 2022 National reporting package, which includes changes to ST 1 (GPS), ST 12 (prisons) and ST 13 (seizures), was adopted.

Plenary session VII: Public Health updates

The updated European Response Guide was launched in October 2021 and comes in a completely new digital format published in bundles of miniguides. Parts of the product have been already machine translated to a few national languages (incl. Bulgarian).

Plenary session VII: Risks to public safety and security updates

Two Darknet Drugs Dahboard project were produced in 2021 for 6 EU MS and feedback from NFPs allowed for further improvements to be made.

The Methamphetamine from Afghanistan report published in September highlighted the expansion of the methamphetamine industry in Afghanistan and the potential impact this development may have on Europe.

Source: EMCDDA