Innovative methods for exploring new drug-related trends
In Europe, we see worrying signs of rising levels of drug production that are now occurring closer to consumer markets. Technology facilitates this development and also more easily connects European drug producers and consumers in an increasingly global market.
The purpose of drug monitoring is to help understand the nature and extent of drug problems and better respond to them. ‘Established’ monitoring tools, like prevalence surveys and studies, treatment data or seizures have been fundamental in the last decades, and still are, to map and understand the realities of drug use.
One important observation relates to the fact that existing monitoring tools may not be sensitive to some major changes that occur in patterns of drug use. So, do we need new ones to complement our existing monitoring systems? Are the current tools fit for purpose?
Some of the current monitoring challenges that are upon us are: we still have important gaps in our knowledge; the reliability of surveys and response rates; people who use drugs being unaware of what they are using; a rapidly evolving situation; increasingly globalised drug market; growth of online and virtual drug markets and constant appearance of new substances.
This session aims to raise awareness of new drug monitoring methodologies, their strength, weaknesses and possible ethical issues. It will allow informing on the type of results these may provide and how they can be better used and to ensure that participants will know where they can access more information on these methods.
The scope/main topics covered will be some of the ‘new’ monitoring methods used at EU level including: wastewater analysis, drug checking, European Syringe Collection & Analysis Project and using harm reduction agencies as a way to get information on drug-related harms.