Adopted in 2011, the Resolution of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania on a targeted policy of prevention and control of drugs, tobacco and alcohol consumption prioritised the development of values and the building of skills for a healthy life among children and young people through integrated and evidence-based prevention programmes.
Prevention interventions encompass a wide range of approaches, which are complementary. Environmental and universal strategies target entire populations, selective prevention targets vulnerable groups that may be at greater risk of developing drug use problems and indicated prevention focuses on at-risk individuals.
In Lithuania, environmental prevention activities focus on ensuring that there are safe living and school environments, through the implementation of policies that limit access to licit substances for under-age young people and the organisation of safe neighbourhood groups that support community policing actions.
Universal prevention in Lithuania takes place predominantly in schools. The Ministry of Education and Sciences implements the universal prevention programme Prevention of Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Psychoactive Substances, which is adapted to each age group and covers pre-school, primary, basic and secondary education. Framework programmes for human security and health education, which were approved in 2012, also attempt to improve the capacity of pupils to make sound decisions and to develop the abilities, skills and principles required for the adoption of a healthier lifestyle. Many other programmes and methodological materials for developing the life and social skills of children are used in educational settings, and a number of methodological materials and training activities for teachers are also available on this topic. Examples include the ‘Zip’s Friends’ programme, an early prevention and socio-emotional development course targeting pre-school and first-year schoolchildren and ‘Apple Friends’, a continuation of the ‘Zip’s Friends’ programme. The internationally recognised ‘Unplugged’ programme, which increases children’s social communication skills and critical thinking, is also implemented in selected schools. A number of schools offer a special programme to children whose parents use psychoactive substances.
In 2012, a special procedure for the certification of prevention programmes was adopted, and several programmes have been certified, including ‘Zip’s Friends’ and ‘Apple Friends’. Universal prevention activities are also carried out in youth centres and places where young people congregate, mainly through providing alternative leisure activities and engaging young people in educational programmes. Several programmes for parents are available through school settings, and these focus mainly on improving parenting and communication skills. In 2015, an online prevention programme for parents, entitled ‘What Do Children Do?’, was launched.
Selective prevention activities in Lithuania have mainly targeted recreational settings, such as nightclubs, bars and cafes, and children from at-risk families through social day centres and open youth centres and spaces. In recreational settings, prevention activities are initiated primarily by the police, while nightclubs tend to apply measures, such as safety checks, at the entrance, which limit the entry of under-aged young people and maintain a safe physical environment. A Lithuanian version of the ‘FreD goes net project’ was launched in 2013. The Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department organised a number of training courses during 2013-16 to promote application of early intervention measures; these target professionals working in primary healthcare centres, child socialisation centres, open youth centres and pedagogical-psychological services.
Mass media campaigns and information provision (leaflets, etc.) still play a significant role in prevention activities.
Provision of interventions in schools in Lithuania (expert ratings)
NBYear of data 2015.