The National Anti-Drug Strategy (2013-20) defines the main objectives and framework for drug prevention; it puts an emphasis on increasing the quality and improving the effectiveness of prevention activities, with a particular focus on addressing risk factors leading to the initiation of substance use. Prevention is embedded in the activities of numerous institutions representing the education, health, social affairs and family, and criminal justice sectors. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also play an important role in the delivery of prevention programmes. Most prevention interventions are now centrally monitored, while evaluations of their effectiveness remain rare.
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 Slovakia, environmental strategies focus on controlling alcohol and tobacco.
Universal prevention programmes are mainly implemented in school settings under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, and the Ministry of the Interior. Prevention activities in schools focus on alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs and risk behaviour. A few manual-based programmes are in place, including The Way to Emotional Maturity, a long-term national prevention programme for pupils aged 12-15 years (the sixth to ninth years of elementary school and the first year of secondary school), which develops and strengthens the psychological and social skills that can act as protective factors.
Educational and Psychological Counselling and Prevention Centres also provide prevention interventions, with a focus on elementary school pupils and other young people. Primary and secondary schools have a drug prevention coordinator, usually a school psychologist or a teacher; these coordinators are part of a country-wide network. However, integrated training or education programmes are rare.
Community prevention programmes are targeted at recreational activities, such as organising summer camps and sports activities for young people and children within leisure centres. The website of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs provides online information and consultation services.
Selective prevention interventions are organised by health and social welfare services and NGOs in recreational settings, such as festivals, for children and young people in disadvantaged and Roma communities, for marginalised families and for young offenders. Educational and Psychological Counselling and Prevention Centres provide counselling services to pupils with learning, personality, psychological or behavioural problems. As regards indicated prevention, specialised psychological counselling is provided for families with drug dependency problems and for disruptive children in school settings.