Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Is Public Health Best Served By Targeted Or Universal Prevention?

Shamblen_SR_2Mike Ashton has been looking at research which examines the relative effect of universal, targeted or indicated prevention.

The analysis suggests that different types of prevention are more effective with different substances as his chart (right) suggest.

However, as Mike points out, things aren’t always clear:

Universal programmes also face complicating issues. They may lead the population as a whole to reduce use of the targeted substances, but within this population may at the same time exacerbate inequalities in use and health. This happens because well resourced individuals and groups are best able to take on board and act on health promotion messages, while the most vulnerable are less able to do so.

He also reminds us that some approaches to drug prevention are counter-productive.  He concludes:

In the end these decisions must be taken on the basis of how things stand in a particular population for a particular problem related to a particular substance, and the adequacy of the interventions which can be brought to bear on those problems.

It’s a very interesting piece so go read it all.

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Filed under: drug prevention

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