The planning and implementation of prevention activities in Italy are mainly the responsibility of the regions and autonomous provinces; however, the Department for Anti- Drug Policies at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers allocates part of its annual budget to support prevention activities. Prevention of the use of new psychoactive substances among young people is one of the current policy priorities in Italy.
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 substance use problems and indicated prevention focuses on at-risk individuals.
In Italy, universal prevention focuses on licit and illicit substances, but also addresses road safety, gambling and healthy lifestyles. Prevention activities are often implemented in schools by teachers, as well as local health authorities, law enforcement agencies and private social agencies. They are mainly limited to information provision and awareness raising, while more interactive methods or peer-to-peer activities remain limited. Universal prevention activities that target the community focus on young people through the use of peer groups in out-of-school settings, counselling, recreational and cultural activities and local projects delivered via the media and the internet
Mass media campaigns continue to be an essential part of the prevention strategy, particularly the use of information technology platforms, such as video conferencing or mobile applications. The Unplugged programme continues to be implemented in several regions and provinces.
According to the available information, family involvement is considered central to all prevention efforts in Italy, and almost all regions have universal prevention projects targeting families, teachers and peers. Universal prevention that targets families consists largely of three types of initiatives: mutual assistance, meetings and training.
Selective prevention activities are mainly aimed at young people at risk of substance use, such as young smokers with a desire to change, and people aged under 25 who access emergency rooms for acute alcohol intoxication. These can be implemented in recreational settings. They also target immigrants; school dropouts and young offenders; families with problem drug use and/or with mental health problems; and socially and academically marginalised young people.
Indicated prevention identifies individuals experiencing early signs of substance use and related problem behaviours, and targets them with special programmes, such as preventing and reducing risks of infectious diseases, improving awareness of infectious diseases, and reducing the impact of mental disorders in young people.