The Drug information and Monitoring System (DIMS) was founded in 1992. DIMS has two main tasks: monitoring and surveillance. Monitoring to know what is going on the market of illegal drugs, and surveillance to signal dangerous developments in an early stage.
DIMS carries out these tasks by offering drug tests to consumers. After a laboratory analysis the user will receive information on the composition and information about possible risks associated with the drug sample. In exchange for this, the user provides DIMS with information about the drugs in question and the use of these drugs. If substances are found that pose an immediate threat to public health, national or regional warnings campaigns will be issued by DIMS.
Such a national warning campaign (Red Alert) is only issued when there is an immediate threat to public health. The campaign is carried out following a protocol constructed in collaboration with the Dutch ministry of public Health (VWS), the surveillance agency for public healthcare, and all participating DIMS partners.
DIMS is a network of 32 organizations for addiction care spread throughout the country, and one coordinating center. Through the testing of drugs, employees of the participating organizations are in close contact with the people who will be using these drugs. This offers the unique opportunity to not only give people a test result of their sample, but also give DIMS insight in people’s motivations and risk assessment, and offer them personalized harm-reduction advice.
The DIMS-network is coordinated by the Trimbos-Institute.