COPOLAD III: EMCDDA delivers training in Chile with Latin American and Caribbean Drug Observatories

Increasing knowledge on early-warning systems and complementary data-collection methods will be among the aims of a training event being held this week in Santiago de Chile (25–27 April 2023). Taking place under the COPOLAD III programme, the event is co-organised by the EMCDDA and OAS/CICAD, with the support of Servicio Nacional para la Prevención y Rehabilitación del Consumo de Drogas y Alcohol (SENDA).

Following the opening session — featuring speeches from the European Union, EMCDDA, OAS/CICAD and SENDA — Day 1 will focus on early-warning systems (EWS) and new psychoactive substances (NPS). This will include the sharing of best practice, support for EWS, as well as updates from over 20 countries on the implementation of national EWS. The session will also explore the role in EWS of law enforcement and laboratories.

Complementary data-collection methods, such as wastewater-based epidemiology and web surveys, will be the focus of Day 2. Presentations will provide an overview of wastewater monitoring, protocols and epidemiology and showcase some of the practical applications of this method (e.g. monitoring NPS use). In particular, the training will look at what web surveys are and why they are important, how they can support drug data collection, their limitations, recruitment strategies and use of social media. Technical support will be offered on these methods as needed. Experiences from running the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD) and web surveys in Belgium will be presented.

Day 3 will be dedicated to two COPOLAD III Working Groups focusing on ‘Strengthening the technical capacity and the institutional role of the national drug observatories (NDOs)’ (led by Chile) and ‘Developing and strengthening national EWS (led by Colombia and Uruguay). These will define workplans and objectives for the upcoming years, with the purpose of strengthening the analytical capacity of EWS and NDOs.

The participants will include representatives of NDOs from the Latin American and Caribbean region, regional and international organisations, and national and international experts.

The EMCDDA became an official partner of COPOLAD III in July 2022 (1). The programme promotes dialogue and bi-regional cooperation on drug policy between the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean countries. Funded by the EU, the programme is led by the International Ibero-American Foundation for Public Policies and Administrations (FIIAPP), in consortium with the Italian-Latin American International Organization (IILA). Also collaborating in the programme is the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).