Prevention for communities

Prevention for communities

Community here is understood to mean a group of individuals sharing a common geographical and administrative setting. Interventions within a community do not necessarily address all of the community concerned but may involve several key actors (for example health services, schools and sport facilities).

What works?

  •  Multicomponent and interactive interventions delivered in the community reduce drug, tobacco and alcohol use in high-risk youths
  •  Furthermore, community support groups, involving also other family members, help young people living in problem families
  •  Mentoring programmes reduce alcohol use in young people
  •  Computer-based programmes have the potential to reduce drug use when targeted at illicit recreational drug users, at least in the medium term
  • The CTC (Communities That Care) approach is a proven and effective prevention strategy for targeting substance use and problematic/delinquent behaviour in young people. Currently, available results come from studies conducted in the United States, so the approach still needs to be assessed in Europe
  • 'Problem-oriented policing' includes activities that target drug hot spots (small geographical areas of high crime activity) and partnerships with non-police agencies. Such interventions can reduce drug-related calls for service as well as drug offences

What's unclear?

  • It is not clear if programmes focused only on one component or mentoring programmes are helpful in reducing alcohol as well as drug use
  • More generally, it is not clear whether anti-alcohol and anti-cannabis community interventions reduce consumption
  • It is not clear if positive youth development (PYD) interventions, i.e. programmes that favour the promotion of positive assets over traditional risk reduction, are helpful in reducing alcohol as well as drug use

What doesn't work?

  • We are not aware of any community interventions that cause harm

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