This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the National Focal Point on Drugs and Drug Addictions (NFP).

The unit was founded in the National Centre for Addictions by order of the Minister of Health on 12.02.2003, following a decision of the National Drugs Council (NDC) at the end of 2002. The official document (basic principles and elements in the foundation of the NFP) was accepted by the National Drugs Council on 08.04.2003.

At the fourth meeting of the NDC, held on 21.12.2005, the methods for the functioning of the NFP were adopted. Decree No. 120/26.05.2006 adopted a proposal to amend the rules of operation, goals and organisation of the National Centre for Addictions, which established the functions and structure of the NFP.

Until the fall of 2019, the NFP is a directorate in the National Centre for Addictions. After the centre’s closure, the NFP was transformed into the National Focal Point Unit of the Mental Health and Prevention of Addictions Directorate at the National Center of Public Health and Analyses.

In 2003 the NFP included three experts, and the first head of the unit was Momtchil Vassilev.

The unit carries out informational, analytical, science research, expert-consultative and publishing activities, and is the official partner of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) on the behalf of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as a participant in the European information network on drugs and drug addiction (REITOX).

The main objects of NFP activity includes methodological preparation and control, collection, evaluation and classification, processing, storage, analysis and dissemination of information in the field of demand and supply of drugs in the Republic of Bulgaria, the policy and public response to the situation in that field.

Every year, the NFP prepares an Annual Drug Report, which is approved by the National Drugs Council. In recent years, it also publishes an Annual Information Bulletin with basic data on the use of psychoactive substances, the demand and supply of drugs, as well as the public response in Bulgaria.

Since 2007, the NFP maintains a Map of treatment opportunities in Bulgaria. It is part of the NFP’s work on the development of the Treatment Demand indicator.

Since 2009 an internet based electronic version has been operating at the National Information System for treatment demand related to drug use in Bulgaria (I-MIS) – online filling in questionnaires.

In 2014, an Internet system was developed for monitoring publications in the field of drugs and drug addictions. The activity is carried out with the cooperation of the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”.

As the representative of Bulgaria in the European information network on drugs and drug addiction (REITOX), the NFP develops the 5 key epidemiological indicators of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and supports the National Early Warning System on new psychoactive substances (EWS). In connection with this line of activity, the NFP is obliged to collect information on over 1,500 indicators that are comparable at the European level. In addition, the NFP is a major provider of information in this area to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Over the past 20 years, the NFP has initiated and implemented more than 200 national and regional studies in the field of drugs and drug addictions.

Today, in its activities, the NFP cooperates with nearly 150 partners – ministries, departments, organisations, centres and experts. It provides information for the EMCDDA European Drug Report, the UNODC World Drug Report, and at the national level, for the Annual Report on the State of Citizens’ Health and an evaluation of the implementation of the National Health Strategy.

Since middle of 2017, the Head of the NFP is Aleksandar Panayotov, PhD Sociology.

The head of the NFP is a member of the National Drugs Council and a member of the Expert Council under Art. 14 of the Law on Control of Narcotic Substances and Precursors. He participates in the preparation of the National Drugs Strategy and gives opinions as part of expert working groups in the field of drugs and drug addictions.

In the future, the ambition of the NFP is aimed at building an electronic module with data on the main indicators. The module will provide information on the current situation, trends, and also international comparisons between national data and those at the European and global level.