What is a National Drugs Observatory (NDO)?
Represents a broad and systematic approach to the collection and dissemination of objective, reliable and comparable information on drug use and drug addiction
- Provides a comprehensive understanding of the drug situation
- Informs a national strategy to address drug-related problems
Core Functions of an NDO
- Collects drug-related data and monitors drug trends at the national level
- Integrates extensive sources of information on the demand for and supply of legal and illegal drugs including surveillance programs such as the Early Warning System, surveys and Rapid Assessment studies.
- Presents data using descriptive and analytical tools
- Reports and communicate results.
Reporting of Data and the NDO
- Reporting and communication of results are the most important tasks of the NDO.
- Outputs are what justify the NDO’s existence.
Importance of Funding to NDO
- Critical to the functioning of the NDO is adequate funding.
- Government support and establishing linkages with local, regional and the international community are necessary to ensure the long-term contribution of the NDO to national development plans.
The current covid -19 pandemic highlights the critical role played by NDOs in providing valuable information for policy and programmes. The pandemic and the subsequent limitations of movement can increase psychological and social problems that may increase the demand for legal and illegal drugs. Increased use of licit and illicit substances can burden health care systems and retards Barbados' social and economic gains. Also, the demand for drugs is a catalyst for the increased supply of illegal drugs and the growth of illicit drug markets. Therefore, during the pandemic, the NDO allows Barbados the opportunity to respond to the social and economic problems driving drug use through the collection of timely and relevant data.
Comprehensive Research Agenda
In 2021, the NDO in Barbados will continue to broaden its research and data collection systems through online platforms. The NDO will support online platforms with Annual Drug Reports, Early Warning Systems, and implementing measurement indicators tied to drug prevention and treatment goals. Finally, the work of the NDO extends to the increase collaboration with local, regional, and international stakeholders in the formation of data collection networks and obtaining technical and financial assistance as it moves toward reducing the demand for drugs and controlling its supply.