Related work in Quality Standards and Best Practice #1: Mentor ADEPIS, UK

The aim of the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) Phase II project is to help those involved in drug prevention feel better equipped to develop, support and implement high quality drug prevention work. The Project will be developing support materials for different groups working in the field of prevention to help them apply these Standards in their work practice.

The EDPQS project is an important initiative that offers a reference point to others working on quality standards and best practice in prevention. Equally, the Prevention Standards Partnership is able to learn and gain from related work that is taking place in other countries and regions.

Our Related activites section offers an overview of international activity that is being undertaken or recently undertaken to address the support for and development of “best practice” and the promotion of high quality drug prevention. The following is the first of a series of blogs to provide details of such activities at national or international level, starting with the ADEPIS initiative in the United Kingdom.

ADEPIS – The Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service in the UK

ADEPIS photo durham seminar

ADEPIS is a project funded by the Department for Education in England and run by Mentor UK, in partnership with two other organisations in the UK, DrugScope and Adfam.

ADEPIS provides a platform for sharing information and resources and is targeted at schools and practitioners working in drug and alcohol prevention. Launched in April 2013, it has undertaken a wide ranging mapping exercise with teachers, and developed a range of tools, briefing papers and guidance specific to alcohol and drug education and prevention.

Regional seminars have taken place to address effective drug and alcohol education; identifying and supporting vulnerable young people; and setting standards for drug and alcohol prevention and education.  Regional networking among schools, practitioners and academics has also been supported.

Mapping the experience of teachers

A mapping exercise was undertaken with teachers to identify how resources are chosen and used, the support currently available to practitioners and the perceived gaps. The findings, based on an online survey with 288 teachers (primary and secondary) and 20 follow-up telephone interviews, were drawn together into a report, which informed the development of ADEPIS.


ADEPIS has produced a number of resources for schools including:

  • a toolkit for helping schools review their alcohol and drug policies
  • a presentation and briefing for school governors to help them think about how their school can respond to alcohol and drug issues
  • a briefing paper to help schools identify and support children affected by parental substance misuse.

In addition, it has developed briefing papers which focus on topics that are current for schools such as caffeine and energy drinks, legal highs and e-cigarettes.

The project website has links to a range of resources and programmes, which includes evidence and research based programmes, lesson plans, research summaries, and government advice.

Drug and Alcohol Education Standards

The project offers proposed standards for alcohol and drug education.  These standards draw on existing national and international guidance, including the EDPQS, as well as examples of good practice in drug education and prevention.  They also reflect on feedback from teachers, practitioners and those who support school drug education in order to ensure that the standards provide the best current evidence and practice.

Each set of standards is being produced for a specific target group:

  1. Delivering drug education in the classroom as part of a planned PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) programme: For primary and secondary schools, independent practitioners or anyone else delivering alcohol and drug education, in formal or informal environments.
  2. School context for effective drug education: For school leaders and governing bodies, as well as other members of staff in primary and secondary schools – including free schools, academies, private schools, and faith schools – responsible for, or involved in the delivery of alcohol and drug education or policy.
  3. Staff policies and safeguarding: For external agencies delivering drug education within schools and employing staff and/or volunteers.

The Seminars

Seminars were held to bring together practitioners and academics creating an arena for sharing ideas, perspectives and examples on different aspects of alcohol and drug education and prevention.

Presentations and resources produced for the seminars are all available on the ADEPIS website.

Future plans

The next seminar will look at practical ways to deliver effective drug education and prevention in primary schools through the promotion of healthy lifestyles and positive behavioural choices. Future work will also explore classroom management programmes and the use of theatre in education.

By bringing together theory and practice the focus will move on towards developing efficient needs assessment in schools. A briefing paper and seminar will outline the uses and pitfalls of needs assessment, suggestions on effective ways to employ data to implement drug education and prevention programmes, as well as how to use screening tools in schools.

For further information see

Andrew Brown
Programme Manager
Mentor UK