NIDA DISCA: Global Drug Early Warning System (G-DEWS) Project

JUNE 12, 2017: Dr. David Newcombe at the Centre for Addiction Research (CFAR), the University of Auckland, has received a NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA) to work with researchers at the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), University of Maryland-College Park, on a project to examine existing drug monitoring systems to gain an understanding of how they work, the contexts in which they operate and to describe areas of best practice. The goal of the project is to develop guidance based on proven practices utilized by existing systems to support countries establishing new drug early warning systems (DEWS).  
The rapid emergence and rise in the number of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) globally poses obstacles to their accurate monitoring due to the lack of information on their potency or adverse effects. Existing drug monitoring systems are struggling to develop effective methods to collect and analyse data on the use of illicit substances such as NPS and to respond to rapid changes in availability and use in a timely manner. Systems such as these are often specifically referred to as drug early warning systems (DEWS). They typically use a range of pragmatic data collection and reporting mechanisms. Given the dynamic nature of this market, DEWSs will need to adopt innovative ways to facilitate the detection and response to NPS and especially to communicate any risks or other information collected effectively to the public and other stakeholders.
G-DEWS Project
What is planned?
Selected drug monitoring systems will be explored via a series of NDEWS Presents webinars co-ordinated via the US National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS; at CESAR. A key person from each DEWS will be invited to describe the key approaches and/or ‘state-of-the-art’ their system employs to monitor drug trends, measure risk and disseminate information, and also to reflect on what could be done differently and how they might move forward to respond to future challenges.
What are the proposed outcome and benefits of this project?
A project workgroup composed of representatives from existing DEWS will be convened virtually in June to plan approximately 2-3 webinars to be held during summer 2017. Each participant will be asked to write a brief paper that reports on the presentation about their DEWS. These papers will be included in a special issue of papers on drug early warning systems submitted to a peer reviewed journal. In addition, a summary chapter will be prepared with key best practices and guidelines on setting up new early warning systems. 
For more information contact:
Eleanor Erin Artigiani
Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), University of Maryland-College Park
Dr. David Newcombe
Centre for Addiction Research, the University of Auckland  
Acknowledgements: David Newcombe received a 2017 Distinguished International Scholars Collaboration Award from NIDA and funding support from University of Auckland to support this project.