European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Paul Griffiths joined the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) nearly a decade ago and became scientific director in 2010. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Griffiths has supervised a considerable increase in the scope and scientific sophistication of the Centre’s work, making the EMCDDA a world leader in documenting the extent of drug use and identifying trends in use patterns and substances of abuse. Mr. Griffiths and the agency’s staff monitor all aspects of the European drug situation, maintain a network of European drug information centers, and, with Europol, implemented the European Union early warning system on new psychoactive substances. His work with the EMCDDA could be a career highlight for many people, but it is not the first time that he has led the way in standardizing international data collection about drug abuse.
At the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Griffiths revised the primary United Nations instrument for collecting information on the drug situation, which required significant skill in both the technical and political arenas. Working with UNODC colleagues, Mr. Griffiths dramatically changed the way heroin addiction was estimated in Pakistan, dropping the estimates from the range of 3 million to 5 million cases to the more reasonable range of 250,000 to 750,000 cases. He also developed and implemented the United Nations global assessment program, which created drug information systems in Africa, the Caribbean, Central Asia, and Latin America. While working for the Pompidou Group, he made similar contributions to the countries of the former Soviet Union, helping the new nations establish the drug information systems necessary for them to join the European Union. His work with others in London on a large and diverse portfolio of research projects coalesced in the formation of the United Kingdom’s National Addiction Centre. Clearly, Mr. Griffiths has made a world-class contribution in documenting drug abuse trends and standardizing statistical records and, at the EMCDDA, has helped create what the journal Addiction called one of the world’s leading research centers in the addictions field.