Drug Policy Evaluation

DrugPolicyEvaluation EU
With financial support from the
Drug Prevention and
Information Programme of
he European Union

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Here you can find four books concerning the activities carried out by the researchers of the project. Paul Griffiths, Scientific Director of EMCDDA, presented the books at the Final Conference of Lisbon


An active area for the EMCDDA (ELDD network of legal correspondents).
Extremely useful to have these kind of cross-country comparisons to understand of both the letter of the law but also how its actually applied. A wide group countries included with up-to-date information.


New data – but also a methodological reference source. New GDP estimates. Valuable information on estimating of the size of the drug market, a guide for both researchers and national accountants in the basic methodology of estimating the size of the illicit drug markets.

Analysis of the supply chain and its criminal enterprise 1. This workstream is intended to reconstruct the supply chain of drug markets in a number of European countries--Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kindgom-- and to develop models of the markets, on the basis of which policy monitoring and evaluation can be carried out (see workstream 4). First, the workstream aims to develop typologies of the actors and strategies involved in different levels of the supply chain and to single out key organizational and operational characteristics of the enterprises these actors form. In this context specific attention is paid to the key role of intermediaries, transit areas and advanced logistics, hypothesizing that it is through intermediation that the economic value that dynamizes the drug market is formed.

The organizational characteristics of the criminal enterprises range from their size and longevity to the type and solidity of the ties that link their actors. Operational characteristics basically encompass the operating methods of the enterprises: they thus include the frequency and extent of inventories held, corruption and violence as well as the visibility of the enterprises themselves. 2. Second, the workstream is intended to clarify the relationships these enterprises develop with each other, with their facilitators and more generally, the societal context in which they operate. Through such an analysis, it will single out the market structure and the organizational dynamics of the whole supply chain. 3.Third, through sharp-grained economic and political analysis the workstream examines the impact that advanced logistics and highly adaptive smuggling strategies have on markets in Europe.

It has been documented (Strazzari 2003, 2007 and 2008) how thriving illicit markets, such as heroin trafficking along the so-called ‘Balkan route’, interacted with the armed conflicts that swept the former Yugoslav territories during the 1990s, moulding regional destabilization and determining new forms of symbiosis between extra-legal enterprises and state formation/deformation. This examination will be extended to the wave of destabilization that is sweeping West Africa and the Western Sahel region, located along the (new) ‘Cocaine route’. 4. Finally, an analysis will be produced of changing patterns and roles in entry points, with a focus on Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

A key assumption here is that the organizational and operational characteristics of the criminal enterprises, their relationships and the whole market structure vary in function of the degree of effective illegality the enterprises have to face, that is, the strictness of the national or sub-national governments’ enforcement of prohibitions against drug production and trafficking. This assumption was first developed by Paoli, Greenfield and Reuter in their book "The World Heroin Market: Can Supply Be Cut?" (Oxford University Press, 2009), and the workstream aims to test the applicability of this assumption for other drugs, spefically cannabis and cocaine. This workstream will provide the information necessary to develop the workstream 4, which is intended to assess the impact of past, ongoing and future strategies aimed at contrasting the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.

These will be analysed by survival analysis methods and models to estimate the distributions on the basis of available data. Multivariate models will be used to accommodate for covariates. The information coming from this analysis can be particularly useful for detecting possible risk factors for negative events or protective factors for positive events (An example of the first one may be "non-fatal overdose" and of the second one "first treatment demand"). For some methods of incidence estimation the distribution of length of stay in a specific state is required (e.g. Back Calculation methods).

5. application of new methodologies to estimate consumption, in particular waste water analysis, and correlation with estimated users and dealers (see workstream 5). The waste water analysis will be performed in some sites where the population of users can be estimated so that the estimated consumption can be correlated to estimated consumer population. Data already available from previous experiments will be also used wherever it is possible to correlate with estimates of users.