Illicit drugs

Unit Illicit drugs: Monitoring, research and support to policymakers

Unit illicit drugs provides accurate and comprehensive information about drugs (illicit but also licit drugs). This can be a challenging task because the consumption of most drugs is illegal in Belgium and people who use them are often stigmatised in our society, which makes them a hard to reach population. Furthermore, the rapid changes on the drug market, such as the development of new drugs or changes in the composition of the existent ones adds an additional level of complexity to understand the drug phenomenon. The Unit Illicit drugs answers to these challenges by the continuous collection and analysis of drug related information.

The main topics  covered are:

Our work offers evidence-based support for the development, implementation and/or evaluation of drug policies at national, European and global level.

At the national level, we are the key responsible for delivering insights in the form of national reports, interactive dashboards and scientific studies, and for offering support to ad hoc requests to:

  • local professionals in the field of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, or law enforcement 
  • policy makers 
  • the general population.

At the European level , the Unit Illicit drugs acts as the Belgian observatory on drug-related matters. More specifically, the unit is the Belgian National Focal Point of the European information network on drugs and drug addiction (REITOX). In this role, we contribute to the core task of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) by collecting and reporting consistent and standardised drug-related information and by developing harmonised methodological guidelines to study the drug phenomenon in the European Union. The Unit was certified by the EMCDDA in January 2024. This certificate is a formal acknowledgement of the competence of an EMCDDA national focal point to carry out specific tasks in a reliable, credible and accurate manner and confirmation that it meets the minimum criteria for the fulfilment of the tasks of a national focal point. 

At the global level, the Unit Illicit drugs collaborates and exchanges information with organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Get in touch

We strongly believe that collaboration is key in delivering accurate, up-to-date and thorough information in the field of drugs and drug addiction. We are always open to exchange ideas, start new collaborations and help raise awareness about the use of licit and illicit drugs. For any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 Unit illcit drugs

For more information on the topic of drugs, please visit our Health Topic page. 
If you want to know more about our collaborations on drugs, please visit our Role page.

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