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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Reinout Wiers,
University of Amsterdam

Tracking young people’s life pathways

For 10 years, a large-scale European project called IMAGEN has been monitoring the behaviour and mental health of 2000 youngsters in four countries. From the age of fourteen, they have been given questionnaires, tests and brain scans on a regular basis. Blood samples have also been taken for genetic research.

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Margriet van Laar
Netherlands’ Trimbos Institute

Nightlife in the spotlight

For many young people, taking drugs during a night out is no longer an exception. Researchers from 5 countries (Belgium, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) are to investigate the dynamic between nightlife and the use of drugs and other substances.

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Uwe Verthein
Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research of Hamburg University (ZIS)

‘To use or not to use (anymore)’

Why does one person use drugs while another is able to resist the temptation? And why does one person become addicted while another does not? These important questions will be explored over the next few years in an ERANID project led by Dr. Uwe Verthein of Centre for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research of Hamburg University (ZIS).

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Alex Stevens
Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Kent

‘We need common indicators’

International cooperation on research into illicit drugs is vital, argues Alex Stevens, Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Kent. ‘It’s a transnational problem’, he explains. ‘Drugs and people don’t stop at the border and every country faces similar problems.’ However, he also points out that cooperation will not be enough in itself. ‘We need better data, based on common indicators, to compare countries properly.’

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Tony Verachtert
Transnational Crime Project Officer

‘We try to think ahead’

Innovative, multidisciplinary, effective and evidence-based: the four keywords that Tony Verachtert, Transnational Crime Project Officer, uses to describe the work of the Pompidou Group. ‘We can’t make drugs policy in the member states, but we can highlight problems and propose potential solutions.’

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Elsa Maia
Policy Officer (European Commission)

‘Drugs policy must be based on evidence’

The great benefit of ERANID is that we will eventually be in a better position to base drugs policy on scientific findings, believes Elsa Maia, who works at the European Commission as a Policy Officer for the Unit of Anti-drugs Policy. ‘We need the objectivity of science.’

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Maria Moreira
Drug-related research information officer (EMCDDA)

‘We can take the best each country has to offer’

It took a lot of prior consultation, but finally the day has almost arrived. In mid-September 2015 ERANID’s First Joint Call will open. Maria Moreira, who works at the EMCDDA, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, has high expectations. ‘We have gone for a challenging theme’, she says. ‘“Understanding transitions in pathways of drug use” requires a multidisciplinary approach. I would expect researchers to tackle the subject in an innovative way.’

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Henk Garretsen
Scientific Coordinator and Chairman of ERANID

‘ERANID offers unique opportunities for European collaboration in addiction research’

The European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID) is planning to issue its first call for proposals in 2015. Scientists from the participating countries can then submit proposals for international research on illicit drugs. ‘Until then, it will take us some time to take stock of the existing knowledge, identify any gaps that exist, and translate all stakeholders’ wishes and requirements into research priorities,’ says Prof. Dr. Henk Garretsen, the Dutch chairman of ERANID.

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