The function of the EWS-database
In February 1999, the BMCDDA performed a feasibility study to investigate whether a web-based database with all analytical results of analysed drugs would facilitate the monitoring tasks of the BEWS. This web-based database was operationalized in 2002. Currently, a new version of this technical platform is under development. Most laboratories submit the results of multiple samples by using spreadsheets
The data registered by the BEWS is mainly provided by the laboratories analyzing the drug samples. Twenty-three laboratories (spread over Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital) are participating in the BEWS network, of which 18 laboratories reported results since 2002.
Most of the reported analyses concern drug seizures commissioned by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Most laboratories submit their common analytical results (no new or high-risk substances) to the BEWS in the first months after the previous registration year (from Jan 1st until Dec. 31st). Some laboratories report their results on a more regular basis. When the results of one registration year are complete, the BEWS-responsible processes these data for the output. The output includes chapter 10 of the Belgian Annual Report, Standard Tables 14 and 15 (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction 2011), specific EWS-reports and reports on demand (EMCDDA requests, parliamentary questions etc.).
In the case laboratories identify a new or high-risk psychoactive substance, the BEWS is immediately informed. In a small number of cases (mainly when unexpected effects or appearances of psychoactive substances are reported), information comes first from police services or prevention services and is then followed by an analysis. The available information (analysis results, origin of the sample, appearance of the drug, and reported effects in human) is collected by contacting the involved partners.