From 06- 08 May 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal, experts and policymakers gathered for an international conference, underlined the need for rapid and innovative responses to Europe’s changing drugs problem. Organised by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), and commemorating 15 years of monitoring Europe’s drug phenomenon, the event was dedicated to ‘Identifying Europe’s information needs for effective drug policy’. The event reflected on past achievements and future challenges.

The purpose of the conference was to identify key questions and challenges arising from a constantly evolving drug situation and to assess the type of information needed to address it in the coming years. Some 300 policymakers, researchers and practitioners from Europe, North America and Australia, considered the major challenges arising from today’s drug situation, and the type of information required to respond to it in future.  The focus of the conference was on the following themes:

  • Policy: Information needs for policy — implications for monitoring and science
  • Practice: Making the link between science and practice
  • Trends: Monitoring a fast-moving, complex phenomenon
  • Horizons: Arising issues (e.g. new scientific findings, research needs)

Speaking at the closing session, EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz said: ‘This conference has demonstrated that Europe is a formidable laboratory of ideas and experiences, and an extraordinary reservoir of people and talents. By bringing these together, the meeting has helped us take stock of the progress made, which is considerable, but also identify the tasks that lie ahead of us. As such, it has been an important milestone in monitoring and responding to drugs in Europe.’  

The conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates, and declared by the President of the Portuguese Republic Anibal Cavaco Silva.

On the event the new poster of Bulgarian National Focal Point was presented.