A year in review: General Report of Activities 2023 published today

Today, the EMCDDA launches its General Report of Activities 2023, which provides an overview of key achievements and governance in a year steeped in significance. 'No previous year has bridged the future and the past more significantly than 2023 has done', states the report. In February, the EMCDDA commemorated 30 years since its creation, an event which had symbolised a major political decision to build drug policies on scientific evidence rather than ideology. In July, new legislation entered into force, setting the agency on a one-year transition course to becoming the new European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) on 2 July 2024.

Preparing to become a new agency, with a broader mandate, drove much of the EMCDDA's work in 2023. Concepts for new products and services began to be developed, new rules of procedure were drafted, and preparatory work for significantly expanding operations was initiated. A branding project, involving all staff, also set about reimagining the organisation's corporate identity and re-positioning the agency from being a monitoring centre (EMCDDA) to an agency empowered to act (EUDA).

While this preparatory work involved a significant, organisation-wide effort, a key priority in 2023 remained the delivery of quality products and services to EU and national drug policymakers and professionals in the Member States and beyond. During the year, the agency published 30 scientific and institutional publications and co-authored 14 articles in prestigious journals and publications, enhancing its scientific reputation.

These offerings included three flagship publications presented in innovative digital formats, which are now embedded in our communication model. The European Drug Report 2023 was launched in Brussels with European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. We teamed up with Europol to produce two more modules (amphetamine and cannabis) of the joint EMCDDA-Europol EU Drug Markets: In-depth Analysis. New modules of the European Responses Guide were also released (focusing on migrants, older people and women). Also published were new analyses in priority areas of policy and practice, such as harm reduction, cannabis developments and drug-related violence.

Some 2.5 million people visited the EMCDDA website during the year and the upward trend in the number of social media followers continued. The 40 % rise in the number of media requests further confirmed the significant increase in uptake of the EMCDDA’s knowledge by its customers, partners and the general public.

Participation in drug-related events and in training and capacity building are complementary means for the EMCDDA to disseminate information, analysis and knowledge. In 2023, a record number of more than 3 300 professionals working in the drugs field, including health workers, law enforcement officers and policymakers in the EU and beyond, were trained. A record 4 800 professionals working in the drugs field all over the world attended the eight EMCDDA webinars that were organised during the year.

In 2023, support for the EU institutions and EU policy on drugs was enhanced through the provision of permanent technical support to the European Commission, successive Presidencies of the Council and the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Collaboration with partners played a crucial role in the EMCDDA's work, including working closely with the main national contributors, the Reitox network of national focal points, and joint activities with other EU and international partners.

In the area of international cooperation, the agency successfully completed its first bilateral project with Georgia (EMCDDA4Georgia). Two technical cooperation projects were implemented with third countries, namely candidates and potential candidates to the EU (IPA8) and neighbouring countries (EU4MD II). Relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries were strengthened via the COPOLAD III project and through the negotiation and conclusion of Working Arrangements with Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The achievements in this particularly significant year in the life of the EMCDDA, would not have been possible without the vital support of our Management Board and Scientific Committee, the Reitox network, the EU institutions and other key partners. We thank them for their continued commitment to our mission.