Category Archives: Collaborations

Invitation: EDPQS at the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

CND logo

We’re very pleased to announce that the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will feature a side event on quality standards in drug demand reduction, including a presentation by Professor Harry Sumnall on the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS).

12.3.2015 Update: Please access our report on this event here.

This side event is a joint initiative of the European Union, the Government of Latvia, the African Union Commission, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the UNODC Drug Prevention and Health Branch, and the Prevention Standards Partnership (represented by Liverpool John Moores University, UK). Representatives of these organisations will provide an update on their current efforts to develop and promote quality standards in drug demand reduction.

Date and time: 11 March 2015, 13.10 – 14.00
Location: Conference Room M3, Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria

Download the official invitation

Further information on this side event is also available from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. To find out more about the CND, visit the UNODC website. The programme for CND 2015, including all main sessions and side events, is available for download here.

Please do come along to our side event if you will be attending this year’s CND.


EMCDDA Drugnet Europe 88: “From guidelines to quality standards”

Drugnet Europe 88The most recent issue of EMCDDA’s Drugnet Europe contains a short article reporting on international developments regarding quality standards, referring also to the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS). The article was written by Marica Ferri, Danilo Ballotta and Alessandra Bo, and can be accessed here (p. 3).

Quick guide available in new language: Spanish

Quick Guide in SpanishThe ‘quick guide’ to the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS), published in 2013 by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in collaboration with the Prevention Standards Partnership, is now available in ten languages, with the most recent addition being Spanish.

This translation was made possible through the Cooperation Programme between Latin America and the European Union on Drugs Policies (COPOLAD), a partnership cooperation programme between the European Union (EU) and Latin America (LA).

The EDPQS have informed COPOLAD’s own efforts to establish quality criteria for demand reduction within the Iberoamerican countries. The translation of the EDPQS into Spanish was considered an essential step to help develop a shared vision of ‘quality in prevention’, involving also Spanish-speaking actors in prevention.

We’re especially pleased to have a Spanish version of the Quick Guide available, as our Spanish colleague Jesús Morán Iglesias was among the key initiators of the EDPQS project.

Further information about COPOLAD’s activities can be found on our “Related activities” page as well as on

All resources to support use of the Standards can be found in our resources section and in our other languages section. See also the official EMCDDA web page on the quick guide.

Project Update #5: From needs assessment to toolkit development

Summary report on the needs assessment available

Needs assessment summary

Today we’re pleased to present a summary report on a needs assessment which we carried out over the first months of 2014 as part of our European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) Phase II project. The needs assessment consisted of an online survey as well as discussion groups in seven project partner countries, and involved over 500 respondents with a stake in drug prevention, including practitioners, policy makers and others.

In the past, we’ve repeatedly heard that the EMCDDA Manual on the EDPQS is not sufficiently interactive and engaging to motivate a real change in professional attitudes and skills among the prevention workforce. Our overall aim in the needs assessment was therefore to develop a better understanding of the kind of support materials (‘toolkits’) needed to produce that change.

The feedback we received was extremely helpful to clarify what is needed to help implement and disseminate the EDPQS across Europe – in terms of content, but also in terms of presentation and style to ensure acceptability to target audiences. The results confirmed some of the assumptions we held based on previous fieldwork, but we also gained some new insights.

One interesting finding from the online survey related to the preferred format of toolkits. We had assumed that people would want to learn about the EDPQS using new and innovative approaches, such as webinars. However, respondents actually preferred traditional learning methods. Most people expressed a preference for small group workshops as a way to learn about the EDPQS. Sub-group analyses showed that it was particularly younger respondents who were interested in workshops. Large proportions of respondents also opted for self-learning using printed and static electronic materials, as well as lecture-style presentations. We found this surprising, given that self-learning and lectures are considered to be among the least engaging learning methods. However, these were also the most frequently utilised methods in practice, so respondents expressed a preference for methods which they are familiar with.

The discussion groups offered detailed insights into potential target audiences, contents and formats. Importantly, participants highlighted target audiences that we had not considered so explicitly, namely: school directors (head teachers); local government representatives; ‘opinion leaders’ in prevention who could help to promote the EDPQS (e.g., professional associations); and young people and their parents. In total, we were able to distinguish 14 groups who may be targeted with support materials. The needs assessment helped to identify priority target audiences among these 14 groups.

Download the summary report

The summary report contains more information about the purpose of the needs assessment as well as the key findings. The more detailed background reports are available upon request.

Vienna meeting to kick-off toolkit development

In the report, we also present initial ideas for the toolkits to be developed in response to the needs assessment. Broadly speaking, we envisage that the toolkits will serve three different purposes:

  • Toolkit 1: Supporting decision makers (e.g., funders and school directors) to select prevention activities for funding or other forms of support
  • Toolkit 2: Supporting service managers, programme developers and other practitioners to review and improve their own prevention work using the EDPQS
  • Toolkit 3: Providing materials to help promote high quality in prevention, including informational leaflets, presentations, training materials, advocacy papers, and guidelines on how to adapt the EDPQS for own purposes

The Prevention Standards Partnership has established three working groups, each of which is charged with developing a toolkit. From May to July, working groups reviewed all the available information (from the needs assessment but also previous project activities) to develop detailed work plans outlining the purpose and contents of the toolkits. Special attention was given to the question: what are the practical benefits of the toolkit for the identified target audiences?

On 22nd July 2014, the three working group leaders Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary, ASL Milano, Italy, and Liverpool John Moores University, UK, met in Vienna, Austria to review and finalise all three work plans. First drafts of the toolkits should be available soon, and the final toolkits are due to be published in spring 2015.

The project now enters a critical stage: the development of the materials according to the agreed work plans. But this will not be a process behind closed doors. On the contrary, we are continuing to involve stakeholders – many of who participated in the online survey and discussion groups – in the toolkit development. Stakeholders can contribute by commenting on the usefulness of the materials being developed, by making specific suggestions regarding the contents, sharing their lessons learnt or relevant external materials with us, and so on.

If you would like to become involved as a stakeholder, please contact EDPQS Project Manager Jeff Lee at

Project Update #4: Reflections on the 2nd Project Meeting and the future of the EDPQS Project

Prevention Standards PartnershipFrom 26-28th February 2014, the Prevention Standards Partnership met in Milan, Italy, to discuss progress on the EDPQS Phase II project activities and to plan forthcoming activities. The two main issues discussed are outlined below.


(i) Who would benefit most from using the EDPQS?

Over the past months we have been exploring, through case studies and an online survey, how the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) might be applied in practice and what support the prevention community requires to undertake high quality drug prevention. As a consequence, we discussed who would benefit most from using the EDPQS; how they might benefit from using them; and what the Partnership needs to do to facilitate this. Responses to the online survey suggested that the main target audiences for support materials (to be developed in the next stage of Phase II) should be:

  • Policy makers
  • Programme developers
  • Drug prevention practitioners
  • Trainers

It was further suggested that support materials should facilitate informal/formal review of prevention activities, as well as support their planning and design, and include delivery of workshops/training on the EDPQS. These findings were in line with the results from the case studies. Participants in the case studies had benefitted most from the EDPQS as a tool to review their own prevention activities, to identify strengths and weaknesses, and as a general framework to conceptualise prevention. To complete the formal needs assessment, project partners will be carrying out focus groups in March and April, where these topics will be discussed in greater detail. However, we will continue involving target audiences in the development of the support materials.

(ii) How to ensure the sustainability of the project achievements?

The EDPQS were developed in Phase I as a European reference framework for high quality drug prevention. In the current Phase II, we aim to ‘prepare’ implementation of the EDPQS by developing support materials and pilot training. This suggests that Phase III should focus on implementing the EDPQS: by disseminating the support materials, including training and provision of other tailored support. These activities would ensure that the EDPQS are a ‘living’ tool, not a final product sitting on a bookshelf. But such activities require structures and resources that are beyond the capacities of the Prevention Standards Partnership in its current form. The question remains as to which organisations could take our efforts in promoting high quality drug prevention to the next level?

To inform our thinking on these matters, colleagues from Italy, Poland and Sweden shared their experiences of translating and using the EDPQS within their own cultural contexts. These presentations highlighted the regional and national differences with regard to how the EDPQS are perceived and how easy or difficult it can be to translate and disseminate them. This suggested the need for different dissemination strategies in different countries or even regions. Should future activities consequently take place at regional, national and/or international levels? Should we pursue a bottom-up and/or a top-down approach? Are we to promote the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards or national versions of them? The answers to these questions have implications for what activities a Phase III might include and who would be in the best position to undertake these.

We were unable to find answers to these important questions and we will no doubt be considering them in-depth over the coming months.

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to participate in our discussions or future activities.

Quick guide available in new languages: French, Slovenian

Quick guide in FrenchIn a previous post we reported on the publication of a ‘quick guide’ to the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) by the EMCDDA in collaboration with the Prevention Standards Partnership. The quick guide was originally published in English with translations available in Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian and Turkish.

The quick guide is now also available in French and Slovenian.

The French version was produced by a Phase II member of the Prevention Standards Partnership, the Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT). The colleagues working at the OFDT on the project, Carine Mutatayi and Cristina Diaz Gomez, have also produced a dedicated project website which introduces the Prevention Standards project to the prevention community in France.

Quick guide in SlovenianThe Slovenian version was produced by the Institute for Research and Development “Utrip”, a non-governmental and a non-profit research institute based in Ljubljana. The translation was made possible through the project “Preventivna platforma” (“Prevention Platform”), which includes training modules on the development and evaluation of prevention activities. The translated version of the EDPQS quick guide will be used as a reference material in the training.

All resources to support use of the Standards can be found in our resources section and in our other languages section. See also the official EMCDDA web page on the quick guide.

Project Update #3: Online survey launched – Please participate

survey_thumbnailUsing the Quality Standards: Who wants what?

We need your views –  Please participate in our online survey

One major outcome of the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) Phase II project will be the provision of materials to support those working in the drug prevention community with respect to using the Quality Standards. These materials will include:

  • Support materials to help in applying the Standards to current practice
  • Training and “train the trainer” courses for different prevention providers and policy makers
  • Indicators to help provide evidence for the achievement of the Standards
  • Expert publications on specific issues related to quality standards in prevention

These materials will help all those working in the prevention field to develop their work in accordance with sound principles and evidence.

We are undertaking an online survey to obtain information from those engaged in different aspects of drug prevention to inform this development.

The survey is available in the following languages:


We hope you will feel able to complete the survey and give your views. This will help to ensure that the support materials will:

a.    Be targeted at the appropriate groups
b.    Focus on the appropriate content needs
c.    Be offered in the appropriate format to facilitate their active use.

Your views are essential if we are to achieve this. We would like all those who are involved in drug prevention at whatever level to complete the survey. This includes commissioners, policy makers, programme developers, service/programme managers, practitioners and other prevention providers, researchers, evaluators, programme accreditors. The questionnaire aims to use your expertise and experience to inform us of your needs and views of what is required at the field level.

Your participation will of course be anonymous but extremely valuable. Please help us by completing the survey before February 12, 2014.

Our thanks in anticipation of your support.

Professor Harry Sumnall
Lead, EDPQS Phase II Project
Centre for Public Health
Liverpool John Moores University

Jeff Lee
Project Manager, EDPQS Phase II Project
Centre for Public Health
Liverpool John Moores University

on behalf of the Prevention Standards Partnership

EMCDDA publishes ‘quick guide’ to Prevention Standards

quickguide_coverLast week, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) launched a new publication entitled European drug prevention quality standards: a quick guide. Prepared by Angelina Brotherhood and Harry Sumnall on behalf of the Prevention Standards Partnership, the quick guide summarises the main points of the full EMCDDA Manual and encourages professionals to start using the standards for self-reflection. It includes a description of the eight stages involved in the drug prevention cycle, along with a self-reflection checklist that can be used when planning and implementing prevention activities.

The primary target audiences of the quick guide are:

  • professionals who are not yet familiar with the concept of quality standards in prevention and who wish to find out more about this topic;
  • professionals who need more information about the standards in order to decide whether the manual could usefully support their work; and
  • professionals who wish to take a first step in conducting self-reflection using the standards.

In terms of professional groups, policymakers and commissioners at national, regional and local levels as well as service managers will find this document particularly useful.

The quick guide was originally commissioned for use by EU acceding and (potential) candidate countries, and it is therefore available in Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian, and Turkish (coming soon). However, professionals within established EU Member States will find the ‘quick guide’ equally useful, and we expect that translations of the quick guide in some EU Member State languages will also become available soon. Translations will be posted on our Resources available in other languages page.

The quick guide can be accessed either on the original EMCDDA page or by accessing our Resources page:

Resources to support use of the Prevention Standards

Presentation of the Prevention Standards at the NIGHTS 2013 “Health, Pleasure & Communities” conference held in Padova, Italy, on September 25th-27th 2013

NEWIPThe conference NIGHTS 2013 was organised through the Nightlife Empowerment & Well-being Implementation Project (NEWIP), comprising a network of European community-based NGOs acting in the nightlife field, nightlife professionals, local and regional authorities and agencies, treatment professionals and scientific researchers. An international conference in scope, the aim of NIGHTS 2013 was to improve the quality of the nightlife scene and the well being of the people inhabiting it; with talks focussing on methods and tools, including quality standards, to ensure safer nights out.

Rachele Donini of ASL 2 Savonese presented the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) on behalf of the Prevention Standards Partnership in a parallel session entitled “Setting the Standard: Good Practice and Standards for Harm Reduction Interventions in Nightlife Settings”. Besides our presentation, contributions highlighting other guidance for drug prevention interventions were made by Alessandro Pirona (EMCDDA) and John Peter Kools (Foundation Rainbow Group, Netherlands). The session was organised and chaired by Judith Noijen and Floor van Bakkum (Jellinek, Netherlands).

During this session, a draft of the forthcoming NEWIP Standards for nightlife settings was also presented, which have been developed based on the EDPQS. Further information about the NEWIP Standards can be found in our examples of use section.

The session was attended by about 25 participants, mainly practitioners working in the nightlife settings, who engaged in an open and lively discussion following the presentations. Participants emphasised the need for helpful and easy-to-read materials that can support the planning and monitoring of drug prevention interventions. Although all participants highlighted the challenges of having to adhere to quality standards, all recognized the importance of having standards in terms of quality and effectiveness.

For more information about NEWIP and the conference please visit: or