School-based prevention

Figure 2 Development of school policies

Figure 2


German-speaking Belgium = sporadically found.

Sources: Reitox national focal points.


In all Member States, schools are considered the most important setting for universal prevention, and there has been a noticeable increase in the emphasis placed on school-based prevention in national strategies and in the structured implementation of this approach. This is reflected in the expansion of school drug policies (Figure 2) and the development of specific modular drug prevention programmes for schools as well as improved teacher training.

More countries than before have introduced (Denmark has its first school-based life skills programme), expanded (Germany) or are planning (France and Italy, in their national strategies) more structured prevention programmes. For example, in 2003, prevention programmes were being implemented in 60 % of Polish schools.

Greece provides a particularly good example of moving prevention policies away from traditional information-based and individualistic (counselling) approaches towards the implementation of a true public health strategy that can maximise coverage through programme-based approaches. The number of school-based prevention programmes in Greece more than doubled between 2000 and 2003, and family-based programmes increased threefold over the same period. Malta and the United Kingdom also increased the role of programme-based approaches in their prevention policies: the Blueprint Programme seeks to determine how international research on effective drug prevention can be adapted within the English school system, and is based upon evidence suggesting that combining school-based education on drugs with parental involvement, media campaigns, local health initiatives and community partnerships is more effective than school interventions alone. Six million pounds (€8.5 million) has been allocated to this programme over five years (32).