Professionalizing Drug Prevention

A new manual has been designed to train substance abuse prevention professionals in Europe

Drug prevention in schools

Evidence-based drug prevention practices must be implemented in school and community settings – US Navy representative applauds students at Waipahu Elementary School (Hawai) after they finish their annual drug-free walk – Photo by Petty Nardel Gervacio – Public Domain

Advancing the professionalism of the drug prevention workforce in Europe is at the heart of a new European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) handbook, launched on September 24 by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA).

There has been much progress over the past 20 years, both in Europe and internationally, in developing responsible and evidence-based interventions in substance use prevention. Yet, prevention practices for which there is little, or no, evidence of effectiveness are still being implemented in school and community settings today. In the worst cases, poorly designed interventions may even cause harm.

The new handbook represents an important step towards achieving the agency’s goal, outlined in EMCDDA Strategy 2025, to support interventions to prevent drug use which are based on evidence. It provides practical overviews of a variety of topics (e.g. etiology, epidemiology, monitoring and evaluation) as well as prevention in diverse settings (e.g. family, school, workplace, community, media and the broader environment).

The aim of the EUPC initiative is to implement a standardized prevention training curriculum in Europe and improve the overall effectiveness of prevention. Adapted from the Universal Prevention Curriculum by the EU-funded UPC-Adapt group, the handbook is based on international standards but with a European slant.

Source: EMCDDA