In Spain, drug prevention is a priority in the National Strategy on Drugs 2009-16 and the latest action plan, which provided an organisational and financial framework at the national level and at the level of autonomous communities through Autonomic Drug Plans and Municipal Drug Plans. Communitybased programmes may also receive funding from the fund of assets seized from illegal drug trafficking and other related offences, and, very occasionally, from foundations. The main features of the prevention policy are a focus on both licit and illicit substances, strong cooperation with the educational system and the recent increase in interventions in selective and indicated prevention. Non-governmental organisations, funded through public calls or tenders, are key to the implementation of prevention activities at the grassroots level.
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 Spain, the introduction of environmental prevention measures, such as limiting access to alcohol, is the responsibility of autonomous communities.
Universal prevention in Spain is mainly implemented in the educational sector, and it is focused on the development of personal and family competences and skills. Reports from the autonomous communities indicate a decrease in school-based programmes in recent years, while the number of family-based interventions has increased. In the educational environment, a wide variety of manualbased prevention programmes in classrooms are used, and extracurricular activities and training are available. Few of these have been evaluated so far.
Community-based prevention programmes organised by health centres are becoming increasingly available in schools and mainly focus on information provision through a range of support materials. Schools provide educational talks for parents, distribute materials and offer orientation and guidance services and informal courses. Increasing numbers of on-line ‘parents’ schools’, which inform parents about drugs and give advice about parenting skills, are available. An initiative for family-based prevention, Prevención Familiar, has been set up as a mutual empowerment initiative with parents’ associations, providing materials for professionals and families.
Prevention programmes in universities have emerged in recent years and focus mainly on information provision and awareness raising, using peer education methods or online delivery. Universal community-based prevention programmes are largely provided through alternative leisure programmes in youth clubs, sports centres, schools and community centres, and activities are recreational and sports related. Programmes conducted in places where drug use is common, such as bars, nightclubs and music concerts, are carried out by peer mediators, who work to identify problematic cases and provide information and advice about drugs and their various forms of use. Environmental approaches in this setting are rare. Only a few autonomous communities implement programmes, such as Platform for Quality Leisure in the Balearic Islands, Q for Quality in Catalonia and Responsible Serving of Alcoholic Beverages in Castilla and Leon.
Selective prevention activities focus on young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and those in specific educational or residential centres. Selective prevention programmes for families at risk, female former drug users with children and specific programmes for ethnic minorities and for young people with drug use problems and families affected by drug use are available.
Indicated prevention activities in Spain are frequently associated with selective prevention activities and address both vulnerable young people and families, aiming to alleviate risk and promote protective factors at an individual level. For example, Empecemos (Let’s Begin) is a well-researched indicated prevention programme with promising longterm outcomes for disruptive children in Galicia. Several autonomous communities have reported prevention activities focusing on under-age offenders with drug use problems.
Provision of interventions in schools in Spain (expert ratings)
NB Year of data 2016.