Editing and Printing of the Final Results of the EU Project “New Methodological Tools for Policy and Programme Evaluation”

Project location: ITALY, Roma
Project start date: December 2012 - Project end date: February 2013
Project number: 2012-097
Beneficiary: Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata


Originally the project involved the publication of three books to disseminate the results of a EU Commission-financed research study aiming at developing a comprehensive set of indicators to monitor illicit drug supply and demand and to evaluate actions and policies. It was subsequently decided that the amount of documentation was such as to warrant the publication of a fourth book, by splitting the third publication in two different volumes

The four published books are:

Lifestyles and history of use of drug abusers in four EU countries: exploratory analysis of survey data. 550 pages

Recent trends in drug use challenge monitoring methodologies presently used at the local, national and European level. New indicators are needed to evaluate the impact of policy and programmes, whilst new models are necessary to mirror the various populations involved in the use, abuse and dealing of drugs and in order to estimate their size. Innovative data collection can provide valuable data which can help to fill the information gap. In order to acquire information about the lifestyles of "problem" drug users, their drug using career and involvement in criminal activities, a survey among residents in therapeutic communities and clients of low threshold services has been conducted in four countries: Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal and Spain in the framework of the EU project JUST/2010/DPIP/AG/1410 New methodological tools for policy and programme evaluation. The data collection was conducted in the period January-July 2012 using a questionnaire developed by a research group composed of: Vera Balanchova (for the Czech survey), Maria Caterina Bramati, Antonia Domingo Salvany, Francesco Fabi, Fernanda Feijao, Marta Alves de M. Montenegro (for the Portuguese survey), Roberto Ricci, Carla Rossi and Alberto Zuliani. The English version of the questionnaire appears as an appendix to this book. The book reported the very numerous analyses developed. The data analysis provided very valuable information on lifestyles, gateway substances, typical periods in a drug using career, the involvement of drug users in criminal activities, imprisonment, the market price of substances and many other aspects which allow for the analysis of the market from the demand and supply perspective and for the estimation of the size of the market and of the populations involved. The first chapter draws comparisons across the studies, whilst the following four chapters contain independent country reports.

Drug laws in Europe: main features and comparisons, 120 pages

The book is divided into two parts and a guest contribution: part one is a comparison between the laws of most European countries regarding illegal drug use; part two is a more in depth comparison between Italian and Portuguese laws aimed at highlighting how apparently similar regulations are in fact quite different and have completely different outcomes. The guest contribution presents a comparison, conducted by Brendan Hughes, of penalties for trafficking in some legislations of EU countries based on data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The study of the various laws that are applied in different countries has allowed us to identify their strengths and weaknesses and verify their effectiveness. This analysis, in fact, has demonstrated that some regulations are more efficient than others because they employ a comprehensive approach to the problem of illegal drug use and are not limited to only one aspect, such as sanctions or merely procedural aspects. The debate about drug policy is often represented as a polarized choice between two options, "prohibition" and "legalization". The reality is that there are multiple options that are in no way reducible to a simple dichotomy between these two extremes. After having analysed advantages and disadvantages connected with each national legislation, we have attempted to identify the elements contained in the so-called best practices in order to propose a homogeneous legislative framework. The point of view is not ideological, and the choice is not between a right or wrong system, but is an analysis based on the laws and facts. To ascertain best practices, it is necessary to start analysing the positive results (the facts) of legislation.

Illicit drug market and its economic impact, 105 pages

The objectives of the work were to provide models to estimate the impact of the illicit drug market on the economy (in particular in relation to the GDP in terms of its size). Expected results were (i) development of methodology for estimation of drug trade from the demand side, (ii) definition and (iii) identification of suitable indicators for the estimation of drug market with the possibility to include the drug trade into the system of national accounts as a part of illegal economy, (iv) data collection of available indicators and estimation of illicit drug market in project partners countries (Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Spain), (v) data collection of labelled public expenditure on drug policy (divided into prevention, harm reduction, treatment, law enforcement) and (vi) estimation of non-labelled public expenditure on drug policy. Finally, economic impact of illicit drug trade on GDP was analysed, and comparison of public expenditures on drug policy with total public expenditures was performed in a time series.

Expected utilizers of the Workstream results are the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in terms of the list of collected data; and the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) in terms of the financial indicators from drug market that should be included in national accounts by the national statistical offices. And of course, the results are available for other experts and policy makers for future research and decisions.

Corruption, competitiveness and illicit drug market: a quantitative analysis, 54 pages

This work stems from a seemingly trivial observation that one of the researchers happened to make in the early 2000s: the two "rankings" published yearly by two highly credible, international, independent institutions (Transparency International and the World Economic Forum) respectively on the transparency and competitiveness of the countries, looked like two facets of the same reality, just slightly blurred. The top positions were always given to the same countries, in both charts and - more importantly - in the same order, with very few exceptions. Thus emerged the idea of further investigation to find, if any, a statistical correlation between the two parameters. The first attempts were made using the data of the years 2004-2005. Analyses were carried out at both global (world-wide) level and local (regional) level and the first results were very encouraging. This work was then restarted some years later, following the international financial crisis of late 2000s, and - surprisingly - the correlation index proved to be even higher. In addition, extending the investigation to the possible correlation between the transparency index and routes used by international organised crime for its illicit trafficking - in particular class A drugs - it has been possible to prove that an even higher correlation exists between the low value of the Transparency as measured yearly by Transparency International - i.e. the corruption of the Public Administrations - and the volume of this illicit International trafficking. The lack of transparency, i.e. the corruption of Governments and public administrations favours organised crime in all its activities, which, in turn, undermines dramatically the competitiveness of a country in the International markets.


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