3. State of the Art of Quality Standards implementation in drug demand reduction in Europe
Quality Standards (QS) were a central priority in the EU Drug Strategy 2013-2020 to improve the quality of drug services and to bridge the gap between science and practice. The EU Strategy 2021- 2025 puts further emphasis on QS and evidence-based interventions. Yet, the extent and ways in which QS are implemented in daily practices in the EU varies substantially. The aim of this presentation is to provide an overview of QS application in drug demand reduction (DDR) across Europe, as well as implementation needs and challenges.
Secondary analyses of QS implementation studies were conducted, followed by consultations of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s REITOX national focal points and country representatives. An online survey was administered among 91 key stakeholders – experts in the DDR, covering all Member States and the United Kingdom. This was followed by semi-structured interviews with 26 informants who provided more in-depth information about QS implementation.
Most of EU countries have implemented the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS), followed by the implementation of the Minimum Quality Standards in DDR (EU Council). Various political, professional, legal, financial and ethical factors were identified as the main reasons for the actual degree of QS implementation. More systematic and structured use of available standards was recognised as one of the needs for enhancing QS implementation.
Some countries have successfully implemented QS and there is a clear need to understand what transferable lessons can be learned from these 'inspiring practices', which can guide implementation of QS in different contexts across the EU.