Data about changes in patterns of drug use, as well as the related risk factors, habits, and consequences are primarily based on regularly conducted surveys that focus on either the general population or key subpopulations, including:
Health Interview Survey (HIS)
Every 4 to 5 years, Sciensano conducts a national Health Interview Survey (HIS), which provides information about drug use (prevalence, frequency and changes over time) in the general Belgian population. Furthermore, the vast amount of information gathered in this survey allows, for example, for detailed socio-demographic and health profiling of drug users. In doing so, it helps in identifying which social groups have a higher risk of starting people who use drugs or potentially develop an addiction.
Drug Vibes – The Belgian Survey on Drugs
Drug Vibes is an online survey organised by the Unit illicit drugs which focusses on people who use drugs only. The survey offers complementary information to the HIS data about drug-related habits (e.g. amount, consumption location, purchase channel, motivations of drug use, poly-drug use or mental health).
Treatment Demand Indicator (TDI)
TDI is a high-coverage national study that collects important information about people who initiate a treatment related to drug use, such as the risk factors of use and abuse, social-demographic profiles, and consumption habits.
Survey about prevalence and patterns of drug use among young people at school, college or university or young adults
Because drug use often starts at a young age, VAD’s surveys targetting pupils, students and nightlife as well as the HBSC project offer unique insights into drug use among the younger population.
Wastewater analysis is an emerging science conducted on the level of cities or towns. It aims to explore drug habits of those who live in these cities or towns. The results provide a valuable snapshot of the drug flow through the cities involved, revealing marked geographical variations.
Combined, these studies provide a comprehensive picture of the drug situation in Belgium, covering information about the prevalence of use, different patterns of use, factors that lead to problematic use and their consequences.
The results from these analyses are shared in the form of reports, workbooks or scientific publications. They offer valuable evidence-based support to policymakers and practitioners at both national and international levels.
Please visit our Unit illicit drugs pagefor more information about our work on drug-related monitoring, research and support to policymakers.