From 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
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.