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Quality level: 3


Unplugged is a school-based programme based on the comprehensive social influence approach, targeted to adolescents 12-14 years old and aimed to reduce the initiation, the use and abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. The programme has been evaluated in a large European collaborative randomised controlled trial (EU-Dap), conducted in seven European countries between 2004 and 2007. The effectiveness evaluation showed that the programme is effective at 3 months follow-up in preventing cigarette use, drunkenness episodes and use of cannabis among 12-14 year old students. The effect on drunkenness and cannabis is maintained at a 1 year follow-up.

Type of intervention:
Type of approach:
Target group:
children/young people
Age group:
12-14 years old
Annual coverage:
Substances addressed:
tobacco, cannabis, opiates, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine and derivatives, amphetamines, methamphetamines, inhalants/solvents
Evaluation type:
outcome evaluation, process evaluation
Start date:
End date:

Overall objective

The Unplugged programme aims to reduce prevalence of tobacco smokers, alcohol abusers and substance users among youth, curbing or delaying initiation and stopping transition from experimental use to addiction.


Unplugged is the first school-based prevention programme developed in an international collaboration in Europe and evaluated in a multi-centre cluster randomised controlled trial. It is based on the comprehensive social influence approach, and includes training of personal and social skills with a specific focus on normative beliefs. Unplugged was developed by a European expert group as a standardised package and includes the following components: social skills, personal skills, knowledge and normative education. The core programme consists of 12 1-hour sessions to be delivered weekly by class teachers who previously attended a 3-day training course. It is a strongly interactive programme and follows a standardised package programme. The programme has been evaluated between 2004 and 2007 in the EU-Dap study, a large European collaborative randomised controlled trial, conducted between September 2004 and May 2007 in seven European countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden, and involving 143 schools, 345 classes and 7 079 students. The evaluation showed that Unplugged reduced the use of tobacco and cannabis, and the episodes of drunkenness among pupils receiving the programme versus pupils of the usual curriculum control group. At post-test, significant intervention effects were detected for daily use of cigarettes, frequent and sporadic drunkenness episodes and cannabis use. The effect on drunkenness episodes and cannabis use was maintained at 18 months follow–up. In a second phase of the EU-Dap project, the teacher handbook was largely revised, mainly based on teacher feedback information. Moreover, to complement the new teacher’s handbook, a student’s workbook was developed, intended as a personal workbook of the student, and containing activities that students are to work through during the Unplugged units. The cards for lesson 9 have also been revised. A new appealing graphic version was developed, and the new programme, together with the student workbook and the cards, is freely available in the project website (www.eudap.net).

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.


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Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012