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ECCAS is a European association of professionals and organizations in the health sector working in the field of addictions, established in 1989 with funding/sponsorship from the European Commission.

ECCAS aims to promote an in-depth understanding of substance misuse and its impact on the individual, families and the wider community. It does this through research, the exchange of knowledge and through the development of scientific, clinical and social approaches and methods for dealing with substance misuse within the context of national policies and practices.

Historical Background

Although formally named only in 1992, ECCAS was established in 1988/89. its origins and subsequent development can be traced back to discussions, held with officers of the European Commission in 1987/88, identifying the need for a collaborative study to investigate the treatment of opiate addiction, using the substitute drug methadone, for the following reasons:

  1. The existence of wide differences in treatment regimes for opiate dependent individuals through our the European Union. These differences were fuelled by the controversy surrounding the side-effects of methadone, its abuse liability and dependence potential.
  2. The absence of sufficiently large samples.
  3. Differences in culture and drug legislation in Europe.

To carry out a study of this magnitude it was further understood that the research group would, in the first instance, need to develop standardised instruments, capable of collecting data from ten European countries.

Over the next three years ECCAS continued to hold discussions with the European Commission and finally in 1991 a contract was signed for the first Multi Centre Study in Europe to investigate 'Methadone Substitution Therapy and its Impact on HIV Risk Behaviours.

Since this first collaborative piece of work, ECCAS has moved on, welcoming new members to its growing group, developing other areas of interest such as training/education, and providing a supportive environment in which members can seek out and discuss with colleagues across Europe a range of issues such as research, education and clinical treatment protocols.

With an already established code of practice, ECCAS formalised its constitution at its 3rd Annual Assembly in Paris, France in April 1995.

Mission Statement

Our aim is to develop and establish a sound and practical understanding of the impact of substance misuse on the individual, his/her family and the wider community, and the best approaches and methods for dealing with it, with due respect to national and international drug control laws and regulations, through a cohesive group of professionals across Europe.