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Early Warning System (EWS)

Pursuant to a decision of the Council of the European Union (May 2005), the Early Warning System (EWS) was established, as a rapid response mechanism to new psychoactive substances which may pose public health risks in EU Member States. The Council Decision involves three steps: a) exchange of information on new psychoactive substances, b) risk assessment and c) control of new substances at the EU level.

For the purpose of operating the EWS in Greece, a National Information Network made up of the State General Laboratory, DPAs, forensic laboratories and treatment programmes was established in 1999 to collect information about the trafficking and use of new psychoactive substances, new patterns of use of known substances and new combinations of substances.

The data collection and exchange procedure is as follows:

  • Every network partner reports to the Greek REITOX Focal Point the information they draw from their area of activity in a specially designed questionnaire
  • The new information collected by the Greek REITOX Focal Point is assessed by an Experts Group made up of representatives of the EWS partners.
  • The information assessed as first occuring in Greece is reported to the National Information Network and to the EMCDDA.
  • The Greek REITOX Focal Point also reports back to all partners of the National Information Network the new information collected in Europe and reported to it by the EMCDDA.

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