Editorials

Policy on drug misuse in Europe

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6929.609 (Published 05 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:609
  1. M Farrell,
  2. J Strang,
  3. J Neeleman,
  4. P Reuter

    Policies for managing drug misuse among the countries of Europe are characterised by unprincipled variations1 and a dearth of information or analysis that would support systematic decision making. For the past two decades purely political priorities have been the dominant influences in many European nations. The establishment in the European Union of a Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction provides an important opportunity to change this climate so that future management of drug misuse is properly informed by science.

    The current lack of information and analysis shows itself in several ways. Radical and interesting changes in policy, such as the removal of criminal sanctions for personal possession of psychoactive drugs in Italy and Spain, have gone unevaluated.2 Few European nations conduct national surveys that would provide the basis for systematic estimates of the prevalence of drug misuse. In the case of France and Italy it has not been possible to identify survey data on drug misuse even at the city or regional level.2 Moreover, in most countries the data that have been collected have remained almost unanalysed …

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