Area 2: Counting addiction

Led by Jϋrgen Rehm (Dresden University of Technology)

Even though it is a well-known (and widely used) term, ‘addiction’ is not a clear, established and well-defined concept. Addictions, if understood as substance use disorders and gambling/gaming disorders, are presumed to be prevalent in Europe. However, up to now, there are few estimates for the EU as a whole, and for many countries prevalence numbers are missing. Area 2 aims to account for and count the social cost of addictions to European society.


  • WP4 - Classifying addiction - examines the various classifications of addiction with a view to extracting common elements of these classifications. Led by Jϋrgen Rehm.


  • WP5 - Counting addiction - aims to provide an epidemiological overview of addictions related to alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, gambling and gaming for 31 countries. Led by Gerhard Gmel (Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems).


  • WP6 - Costing addiction – is estimating the broad social costs attributable to alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco, as well as gambling and gaming, for three EU countries (Poland, Portugal and Norway), and the avoidable costs associated with key policy actions. Led by Krzysztof Brzozka (State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-related Problems).


Area 2 findings will contribute to the analysis of the different conceptualisations of additions from various angles and disciplines, and will try to establish a classification of addictions which can guide research and policy development in Europe. The studies from Area 2 will also contribute to reducing the research and literature gap on classifying, counting and costing addiction, especially at the European level. From a policy perspective, the notion of avoidable costs is crucial to the better formulation of policies, and to good and efficient public resource use.

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