Spain Country Drug Report 2019


In Spain, drug prevention is a priority in the National Strategy on Addictions 2017-24, which provides an organisational and financial framework at the national level and at the level of the autonomous communities through autonomous community drug plans and municipal drug plans. Community-based programmes may also receive funding from monies realised from assets seized from those convicted of illegal drug trafficking and other related offences, and, occasionally, from foundations. The new National Strategy on Addictions 2017-24 is articulated around two major goals: (i) a healthier and better-informed society; and (ii) a more secure society. Prevention objectives, within the first goal, include the reduction of visibility and promotion, limitation of accessibility and reduction of perception of normality.

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 interventions in Spain are the responsibility of the autonomous communities and municipal drug plans. They focus on promoting safety in the nightlife environment, addressing drunk driving and preventing alcohol consumption among minors. A number of activities are also carried out to limit retail-level trafficking of illicit drugs in schools and leisure zones.

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. A wide variety of manual-based prevention programmes in classrooms are used. The Autonomous Community Drug Plans, which are implemented in collaboration with the educational system, set out promotion, implementation and monitoring of drug prevention activities and programmes. In some autonomous communities and cities, the offer is centred on a few accredited programmes; in others, there is much variety, with up to 30 different programmes being used. In recent years, community work promoting the networking of parents associations has been fostered. A particular Spanish feature is the implementation, in all autonomous communities and cities, of alternative leisure-time programmes that seek to promote drug-free entertainment for minors and young people. 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. Programmes targeting bars, nightclubs and music concerts are carried out by peer mediators, who work to identify problem drug users and provide information and advice about drugs. Some autonomous communities implement their own specific programmes, such as Platform for Quality Leisure, Q for Quality and Responsible Serving of Alcoholic Beverages.

Selective prevention activities focus on young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and those in specific educational or residential centres. Activities include psychosocial attention and development of psychoeducational skills. There are increasingly more alternative leisure programmes of selective prevention focused on minors in high-risk situations.

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. Several autonomous communities have reported prevention activities focusing on under-age offenders with drug use problems.


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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.