Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2008

incbThe report that generated quite a bit of press interest yesterday is now available for all of us to read.

As you’d expect it’s a long document, 150 closely typed pages, and while much of it isn’t really relevant to our particular interest there is a useful chapter focusing on prevention.

The report suggests that:

For all Governments, understanding what prevention policies work and why is one of the greatest challenges.

It argues that we need to understand the risk and protective factors associated with drug misuse and says:

A global review of prevention programmes indicated that retention and engagement within education were critical protective elements of the structural environment shaping young people’s development. Truancy and exclusion from school may contribute to the development and consolidation of social networks and values that favour regular drug use and may exacerbate problems among the most marginalized and vulnerable youth.

They go on to say that the board believes that national governments should be looking to develop policies:

that are consistent with a more holistic or “ecological” approach to health and well-being and that encourage individuals to value and manage their own health.


the Board believes that intensified, sustained efforts by Governments to give priority to drug abuse prevention programmes targeting youth and other vulnerable groups would be cost-effective.

From their perspective there are 6 key features that will make prevention programmes more effective:

  1. They are linked to the prevention of other problem behaviours such as alcohol and tobacco abuse;

  2. They are based on reliable information on the nature and extent of the drug abuse situation and on the risk and protective factors that prevail in the community;

  3. Programmes are tailored to age, gender and ethnicity, pay attention to the norms, values, aspirations and language of youth culture and involve the target group in planning, testing and evaluation;

  4. The approach extends beyond the focus on drugs: life-skills education approaches are those with the most solid evidence of effectiveness, while parent- and family-based interventions can be useful in reinforcing family bonding and relationships;

  5. More vulnerable youth and families can be identified by health, education and social services and should be offered appropriate psychosocial support;

  6. Media prevention campaigns are coordinated with corresponding activities at the grassroots level. It has been shown that media campaigns alone are unlikely to change attitudes or behaviour, despite effectively changing levels of information and awareness.


Filed under: drug prevention, International

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