Drugs: monitoring, research and prevention

Drug use, the health and social consequences of drug use, and drug markets are constantly changing. We track these changes closely through various monitoring systems and research programs.

This work contributes to the prevention of drug use and the reduction of drug-related problems by developing, implementing and evaluating national drug policies, preventing and sharing knowledge and expertise with healthcare professionals and the general public. In addition, we offer governments and policymakers the data they need to develop informed drug strategies.

Get in touch

Margriet van Laar
Head Drug Monitoring & Policy/Reitox Focal Point Drugs

Monitoring & Reports

National Drug Monitor

The National Drug Monitor (NDM) is the core publication of drug monitoring in the Netherlands.

It provides a current picture of the drug situation in the Netherlands to policymakers at the national and municipal levels, as well as to researchers and professionals in addiction care. The National Drug Monitor gives an overview of policy developments, drug use in adults and school-aged children, addiction treatment demand, drug markets, and crime.

Go to nationaledrugmonitor.nl

Drug Information and Monitoring System

Since 1992 the Dutch Ministry of Health enabled the testing of illicit drugs for drug users to prevent serious health hazards associated with unexpected dangerous substances.

This illicit drug testing system is called the Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS). DIMS is a national network of testing facilities that furthermore aims at gaining an insight into the market of controlled substances. DIMS also runs the THC monitor (by analyzing cannabis samples) and hosts the Monitor New Drugs, which focuses specifically on New Psychoactive Substances.

Download the DIMS Annual Report (pdf, English)

National Focal Point

The Netherlands REITOX National Focal Point for the EU drugs agency EMCDDA is based in the Drugs Program at the Trimbos Institute.

There is close collaboration with the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Security and Justice. The Reitox Focal point contributes to the EMCDDA’s core task of collecting and reporting consistent, harmonised and standardised information on the drug phenomenon in the European Union.

Download drug reports at EMCDDA


Alama Nightlife Study

Which pathways lead to substance use among young adults? And what are the consequences? To find out, we participate in the ALAMA Nightlife study, a longitudinal and momentary analysis in the Eurpean nightlife scene.

The study aims to produce a pan-European understanding of issues like the unprecedented number of new psychoactive substances, the doubling of ecstasy pills potency and the rise in drug related health incidents. The knowledge gathered can then be used for better policy decisions for nightlife licensing, drug control and harm reduction.

Online Drug Markets

New psychoactive substances (NPS) can relatively easy be found and bought online. We use an automated crawling tool to research which NPS are being discussed on selected fora.

As we know little about the risks and effects of NPS, the automated fora monitoring provides valuable information on the popularity of new psychoactive substances.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the lead researcher Daan van der Gouwe.

Prevention, Harm Reduction & Education

CADAP program

The CADAP program focuses on supporting local governments in developing drug policies that are based on a scientific approach and focused on health and human rights. The Trimbos Institute has been involved since 2016.

The Trimbos Institute is leading the component on drug policy, assisting governments and other relevant stakeholders in Central Asia with the review of old and drafting of new National Drugs Strategies, Action Plans and drug legislation and with identifying and reaching consensus on drug policy needs and priorities.

Healthy Schools program

The Healthy School Prevention Program is a school-based national prevention program for elementary and middle school students about alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use.

In conjunction with educators, municipalities, and families, the Health School Prevention Program staff assists in the development of school policies on alcohol, drug use, and smoking, educating students, identifying and helping students with substance abuse problems, and working with parents and families.

Like to know more? Get in touch with project-leader Simone Onrust.

Harm Reduction Network

The Harm Reduction Network aims to gather, interpret and spread knowledge and the systematic monitoring of the availability of harm reduction intervention in The Netherlands. The focus lies with interventions for people who (problematically) use heroin and (base)cocaine.  The network also initiates network meetings, webinars and congresses, and supports addiction care in the area of harm reduction in a broad sense.

More about Harm Reduction in the Netherlands >

Vulnerable groups programs

The Trimbos Institute supports research and programs about drug use and vulnerable populations.

This support includes:

  • Supporting youth care professionals
  • Develop educational materials
  • Develop interventions for children of parents with psychological or addiction problems
  • Provide research and consultancy on addiction, psychological problems, and homelessness

For more information, please contact John-Peter Kools.