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Best practice portal:
Prevention interventions

This section summarises evidence about the effect of the most widespread prevention interventions.

Prevention interventions are commonly classified in three categories: universal, selective and indicated interventions. In addition there are environmental approaches which are prevention measures that operate on the level of the social, formal and cultural norms tackling both licit and illicit drugs. Universal prevention targets the whole population, while selective prevention targets (vulnerable) groups, both with the aim of deterring or delaying the onset of substance use. Indicated prevention acts at the individual level to: prevent the development of a dependence; to stop progression, diminish the frequency; and consequently to prevent ’dangerous‘substance use.

While this classification remains a valid analytical framework, we have opted to display the information according to the main target groups rather than the category of intervention provided, in order to follow the same methodological approach applied to other modules of this portal.

Detailed information on the methodology used and the definition of terms can be found on the methodology page.

Target group

Select a client profile from the list below and view a ranking by type of intervention, based on its likelihood of reaching the expected results in different contexts:


The Best practice portal draws on the best-available evidence. However, it is not intended as a source of advice or recommendation for individual patients or professionals. The information given here is not a substitute for the exercise of professional judgement. If you are not qualified or experienced enough to make that judgement, you should seek professional advice.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 05 February 2014