Prevention initiatives for illegal drugs pursuit of different aims. The most common objectives are: 1) the prevention and/or reduction of the use of illegal substances; 2) the prevention and/or reduction of risky use patterns and 3) increasing the awareness of the use itself.
These objectives apply to various target groups such as the general population, families, pupils and students, communities and party goers.
Prevention initiatives targeting the general population (or a part of it) are described in international research as universal interventions. Universal interventions are often implemented as campaigns (in the media or at schools). However, the effectiveness of these campaigns is the past years controversial. EMCDDA published in 2013 an interesting contribution to this discussion, titled ‘Can mass media campaigns prevent young people from using drugs?’. It follows that general media campaigns are effective when they are combined with other interventions oriented at knowledge and skills.
Prevention initiatives targeting specific (vulnerable) groups are described as selective interventions. Selective interventions differentiated themselves by universal interventions because these are aimed at a target group where drug use is more common (but not necessarily present). A typical example of this is prevention within the party scene.
Initiatives can also focus on certain behavioural and/or personal characteristics that may pose a threat for a fast development of high risk use or other behavioural problems. These interventions are described as indicative interventions.
Beside these three broad classifications, environmental approaches are also implemented. These prevention initiatives are related to formal, social and cultural standards with regard to (il)legal drugs.
Prevention as a decentralised competence
In Belgium, the implementation of prevention initiatives is assigned to the different communities to meet the specific needs and requirements. As such, the prevention initiatives in the Flemish community are different from those in the French community. Therefore we would like to refer to our partner organizations in these communities which are responsible for the coordination and implementation of prevention initiatives.
Do you want to know more?
The European union published the European Drug PreventionQuality Standards (EDPQS) to support quality in prevention - EN
Also different reports are published about this topic the past years