This publication is the second issue of the EMCDDA’s statistical bulletin. It will continue to be presented only in English and available only as an Internet publication, although this year a more readily download-printable file format is also available. The bulletin is a companion publication to the EMCDDA annual report and provides a complementary information source. It supplies the user with the data tables collated by the EMCDDA from the information submitted by the national focal points Reitox network. These tables constitute the epidemiological basis on which the annual report is written and are frequently referenced by it. In addition to the tables of data and the accompanying graphics, the bulletin gives detailed technical commentaries, notes and descriptions.

This year reporting covers in most cases, where data are available, the enlarged EU, Norway and the candidate countries. The bulletin has expanded the range of information presented in the epidemiological tables, both in detail on the previously reported topics, particularly in the reporting of drug treatment, and notably now including information on programmes for needle and syringe provision and exchange facilities in the EU. Each topic this year has an added gloss, summarising the main points as an aid to interpreting the relevant tables. The graphical presentation section is also greatly expanded and a link is given to a set of individual country data profile pages for selected prevalence indicator information. Readers of the 2004 bulletin may notice that this year the division of the bulletin by topic has been extended to include the methodological notes and the overview pieces, with the result that this year's bulletin is arranged as a set of chapters. But, for readers wishing to go straight to the data tables, there is the index of tables and graphics.

The commentary section in this 2005 edition of the bulletin draws attention to the comparison of the expanding EU with the US on a number of selected drug prevalence measures. Future issues of the bulletin are planned to comment on recent trends in more technical detail than can be presented in the annual report.

The tables are presented for screen browsing (see online version table of contents) and also in an accessible and editable form for downloading. They and their associated texts are available in a download/printing format along with the methods and definitions behind them. For information on downloading tables or text in spreadsheet format or in download/print format the user should consult the help section of the bulletin. Some of the information recorded at the EMCDDA is held in tables that are very large. Typically this information consists of lists of research studies in the key indicator fields. These have been included as supplementary tables that are available online on the EMCDDA website, usually in spreadsheet format, for downloading.

The methods and definitions sections (see online version table of contents) collect together the information on the EMCDDA guidelines and protocols, summarising the main points for each of the key indicators and the associated developing areas of core data. Here you will find descriptions of the definitions used in collecting the data for the main tables, and comments on their rationale and implications. These sections contain links to the more detailed descriptions of the guidelines and protocols found elsewhere on the EMCDDA website. The information on drug law offences methodology has been updated.

For printing or offline browsing, an abridged version of this bulletin is available in pdf format in the Downloadable (abridged) version section.

The expansion of the EU unavoidably means that many tables of data are incomplete, some with a large number of missing items of information, and they necessarily show only a partial picture of the European drug situation for both older and newer countries. Progress in this respect has been made since 2004 and the table structures in the 2005 bulletin have changed and may change again in the future as the data continues to develop into towards providing a fuller European picture