Epidemiology & Monitoring

Reliable data is essential for professionals, policymakers, and politicians. At the Trimbos Institute, experts conduct longitudinal and other types of research for large and small clients. These efforts are focused on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, mild and moderate mental health disorders, and severe mental health disorders. The epidemiological research and monitoring studies conducted by the Trimbos Institute provide insight into mental health and the (mis-) use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.


Effective monitoring is necessary for understanding the needs of the population, the changes in care delivery, and the implementation of new policies. The collected and analyzed monitoring data is used to guide development, to improve care at the practice level, and/or to change national policies and financing. The Trimbos Institute leads many national monitoring efforts, as well as participating in many international monitoring endeavors. 

Selected monitoring activities

  • A synthesis of current facts and figures on the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco and consequences is reported annually in the National Drug Monitor. Operating as the National Focal Point, this information is shared with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
  • The illicit drug market is monitored through long-standing monitoring systems that jointly observe trends and warn about potential public health risks. This monitoring comes through the Drug Information and Monitoring System (DIMS), which analyzes nightlife drug composition. DIMS observes online drug markets and fora and collaborates with justice and customs in the Monitor New Drugs.
  • Other monitoring happens through the THC-monitor, which assesses the strength of cannabis products sold in Dutch cannabis coffee shops.
  • CanDep investigates the dynamics of cannabis use and dependence in a longitudinal cohort young adult frequent cannabis users.
  • The Monitor Drug Incidents keeps continuous track of acute drug-related health incidents in a network of medical services.
  • The Dutch National School Survey is a national research effort regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and the internet among adolescents
  • The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) is a collaborative effort of independent research teams in more than forty European countries and the largest cross-national research project on adolescent substance use in the world.
  • The Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments, and health behaviors. HBSC includes 44 countries and regions across Europe and North America.
  • The WMH (World Mental Health)-WHO survey initiative is a project of the Assessment, Classification, and Epidemiology (ACE) Group at the World Health Organization coordinating the implementation and analysis of general population epidemiologic surveys of mental, substance use, and behavioral disorders.
  • The NEMESIS-2 study generates basic information about the mental health of the Dutch population, as well as changes in the mental health of the adult population over time.
  • Monitoring deinstitutionalization and mental health care system reform focuses on three themes, including reviewing developments in the care that is offered to clients, collecting the personal experiences of clients, and comparing the policies and visions of different caregivers, institutions, and policies across different regions in the Netherlands.
  • Monitoring the living arrangements for those with dementia is conducted every two years to review the current status of nursing home care for people with dementia in the Netherlands.


Trimbos Institute staff author or co-author nearly 200 publications a year. These range from peer-reviewed articles in distinguished Dutch and international journals to research reports and doctoral theses. Some of these articles and reports are listed below.

Mental health care Monitor Older adults (MEMO): monitoring patient characteristics and outcome in Dutch mental health services for older adults (2013). M. Verbeek, Y. Oude Voshaar, M. Depla & A.M. Pot.

Shared Decision Making in mental health care using Routine Outcome Monitoring as a source of information: A cluster randomised controlled trial. (2015). M.J. Metz, G.C. Franx, M.A. Verbeek, E. de Beurs, C.M. van de Feltz-Cornelis & A.T.F. Beekman.

Monitoring new psychoactive substances (NPS) in The Netherlands: Data from the drug market and the Poisons Information Centre. (2015). L. Hondebrink, J.J. Nugteren-van Lonkhuyzen, D. van der Gouwe & T.M. Brunt.