Greece Country Drug Report 2019

Prevention

The policy document Strategic priorities on responding to substance dependence, drafted by the Ministry of Health, identifies drug prevention as one of its priorities. Drug prevention in Greece is mostly implemented by a nationwide network of 75 Prevention Centres for Addiction and Psychosocial Health Promotion, which were established within the framework of cooperation between the Organisation Against Drugs (OKANA) and local authorities and stakeholders. Their activities include the prevention of different kinds of dependency and the promotion of psychosocial health. The Ministry of Education, other governmental and non-governmental drug services and health services are also active in the field of prevention. OKANA and the Ministry of Education have a memorandum of understanding to promote school-based prevention interventions and anti-bullying policies. There has been a shift in focus from (illicit) drugs to other substances, types of dependency and violent behaviour.

Prevention interventions

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.

Environmental prevention activities in Greece focus on regulating access to alcohol and tobacco. In 2016, a new law, setting stricter measures on tobacco products, was enacted.

Universal prevention in primary and secondary education in Greece consists of health promotion programme-based interventions implemented by the Ministry of Education and programmes carried out in close cooperation with the network of Prevention Centres. The Ministry of Education details the interventions to be promoted each year and the related processes (from the design to evaluation). Prevention Centres provide training and support to teachers around programme implementation. The development of personal and social skills is a key feature of these activities. Families are also a core target group; family prevention includes information events and training programmes. Prevention Centres for Addiction and Psychosocial Health Promotion provide information and raise public awareness about drugs and drug dependency, while prevention professionals target specific members of local communities, such as the army, public security forces, health professionals and youth mediators.

In recent years, a number of selective prevention interventions targeting at-risk groups and individuals have been developed. The Icarus Prevention Unit (KETHEA), for instance, designs and implements interventions aimed at young offenders, young people who experiment with drugs, immigrants, returning migrants, refugees, disabled children, children from dysfunctional environments, at-risk families and children living in care institutions. Other institutions also implement activities targeting these at-risk groups.

Indicated prevention activities consist mainly of individual or group counselling and referrals to other specialised services for students with psychological, emotional and social problems or special learning needs.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.