Minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction - from policy consensus to assessment and implementation
In September 2015, The Council of European Union adopted a policy document (Council Conclusions) on minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction, which includes 16 standards in different areas of work (prevention, risk and harm reduction, and treatment, reintegration and social rehabilitation). Since then, the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) and its working group on minimum quality standards have initiated many discussions on future assessment and implementation of those standards. The standards are defined and described very generally in Council Conclusions, so there is a challenge how we can monitor and assess their implementation in practice, especially amongst civil society organisations (CSOs). In the last couple of years, the CSFD developed a rather complex assessment tool (including a part on feasibility study) which will allow CSOs to monitor and assess implementation of minimum quality standards in their countries and their own organisations. The initial 16 standards have been broken down into 52 sub-standards, 82 questions and 255 assessment indicators. The feasibility study (as a part of assessment tool) includes additional 54 questions and 186 feasibility indicators (all together 441 indicators). The tool is (technically) developed in a way which will allow countries, regions, local communities and other institutions in the field of drug demand reduction to adapt it for their own monitoring and assessment purposes and will also allow adaptation and further development to monitor and assess some other contexts and settings (e.g. nightlife-related prevention and risk/harm reduction, drug consumption rooms, interventions and services targeting marginalised individuals and groups etc.). The assessment tool testing will be conducted in spring 2019 and preliminary results will be available and presented in autumn 2019 (e.g. at the Lisbon Addictions 2019 conference).