European drug policies and action plans require sound and comprehensive evidence on what are the main issues in the drug problematic and how to intervene. In order to obtain a better understanding of the different aspects of the drug phenomenon as well as the impact of related measures, the information exchange, data collection and monitoring of the drug situation at the European level are of great importance.
A comprehensive understanding of the extent of the drug use problem requires a review of several indicators : the magnitude of drug use measured by prevalence in the general population, the potential of problem drug use as measured by drug use among young people, drug-related morbidity and mortality and costs and consequences of drug use measured by treatment demand.
The objective of the Treatment demand indicator is to collect information in a harmonised and comparable way across all Member States on the number and profile of people entering drug treatment (clients) during each calendar year. Although the name of the indicator is the ‘Treatment demand indicator’, it collects information on people entering treatment. TDI is widely recognised as the instrument for collecting and reporting data on people entering treatment for their drug use inside and outside Europe, as an indirect indicator of the unobserved level of people that are potentially in need of drug treatment.
The primary purpose of the information collected by the TDI indicator is :
- to gain insights into the characteristics, risk behaviours and drug use patterns of people with drug problems entering treatment.
- to help to estimate trends in the extent and patterns of problem drug use, ideally in combination with other drug indicators.
- to calculate prevalence and incidence rates of addiction treatment using indirect methods alongside with other datasets
- to set up more specific studies by linking this register using the same identifier to other national registries using the same identifier (mortality register, health insurance database)