European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)

Legal basis (mandates) and mission

The EMCDDA is a decentralized agency of the European Union (EU), a legally independent EU body, set up in 1993 to provide the EU and its Member States with a factual overview of the European drug situation and response and a solid evidence base to support the drugs debate.

The EMCDDA exists to provide the EU and its Member States with a factual overview of European drug problems and a solid evidence base to support the drugs policy and debate. Today it offers policy-makers the data they need for drawing up informed drug laws and strategies. It also helps professionals and practitioners working in the field pinpoint best practice and new areas of research. At the heart of the agency's work is the promotion of scientific excellence. To achieve its core task of providing sound and comparable information on drugs in Europe, the EMCDDA has developed the infrastructure and tools needed to collect country data in a harmonized way.

Collaboration with European and international organizations in the drugs field is also central to its work as a means of enhancing understanding of the global drugs phenomenon.

Topics of interest in the prison setting

  • Drug use and drug-related problems
  • Drug-related health services for prisoners (including prevention, treatment, harm reduction services)
  • Drug-related crime
  • Drug law offences
  • Drug seizures in prison
  • Price/purity of drugs in prison
  • Alternatives to incarceration
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis C

Strategic operations

  • European data analysis
  • Data collection from EU Member States
  • Technical collaboration with EU Member States
  • Analysis and dissemination of findings
  • Data harmonization
  • Facilitation of advisory groups

Role in prisons

  • Develop indicators to monitor drug use, drug-related health problems and drug services and thus contribute to a coherent methodological framework for monitoring drugs and prison in Europe
  • Collect, analyze and publish data on prevalence of drug use among prisoners (prior to and during incarceration)
  • Collect, analyze and publish data on services provision targeting drug users in prison
  • Collect, analyze and publish data on hepatitis C virus and HIV infection among incarcerated drug users
  • Publish reports, research results and produce policy briefs on the European problem of drug use, drug-related problems and responses in prison
  • Collect, analyze and publish data on health and social responses to drug use among prisoners in the European Region
  • Promote drug treatment as an alternative to custody and punishment
  • Offer information on best practice in the EU Member States and facilitate exchange of best practice between them

Target groups

  • Policy-makers
  • Practitioners and professionals working in the drugs field and in the prison field
  • Scientists and researchers
  • Civil servants of EU national and European institutions

Geographic region of focus

  • Focus on EU countries
  • EU candidate and potential candidate countries
  • European Neighbourhood Policy countries, Russian Federation