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EMCDDA online glossary

All terms referred to in this glossary come from EMCDDA-developed methodological tools and usual practice, unless otherwise stated (EDDRA, PERK, structured questionnaires, manuals, standard tables, etc. )

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Action of the intervention
A term used in EDDRA to desrcibe the main activities of an intervention and the type of service that is offered to the client.
Alternatives to drugs
Alternative-providing programmes offer activities that are considered incompatible with substance use. These programmes were initially proposed by Dohner (1972). He postulated that individuals use drugs because of the reward and pleasure they bring, which cannot be obtained through other non-chemical mechanisms. For that reason, to prevent or reduce drug abuse, it is necessary to provide positive “alternatives” to individuals, i.e. means to obtain the desired reward and pleasure through healthy and socially acceptable activities (Alonso C., Salvador T., Suelves J. M., Jiménez R., Martínez I., 2004).
Alternatives to prison/imprisonment
Alternatives to imprisonment’ include a range of measures that replace prison sentences for those who have committed a drug-related offence that is normally punishable by imprisonment according to national law. Prisoners may be diverted to i.e. treatment either at the pre-trial or at the post-trial stage.
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Basic assumptions/theory
The rationale or theoretical concept that orientates the methodology chosen to reach programme objectives. Examples are life-skills models, alternative models, drug substitution models, behavioural models, social learning theory, and so on. The strategies chosen may be drawn from existing models or they may be entirely new. In such cases, a brief explanation of the hypothesis underlying the approach would be necessary. A brief overview of models and theories can be found in PERK.
Best practice(s)
Best practice(s) refer(s) to interventions that are supposed to lead to desired outcomes.
Booster sessions
Booster sessions are refresher sessions of the main content of formerly conducted interventions (i.e. school-based prevention programmes).
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Case-control study
An observational analytic study that enrols one group of persons with a certain disease, chronic condition, or type of injury (case-patients) and a group of persons without the health problem (control subjects) and compares differences in exposures, behaviours, and other characteristics to identify and quantify associations, test hypotheses, and identify causes (Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, 3rd Edition. Developed by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Collaboration is an international not-for-profit and independent organisation, dedicated to providing up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare readily available worldwide. It produces and disseminates systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other studies of interventions. The Cochrane Collaboration was founded in 1993 and named after the British epidemiologist, Archie Cochrane.
Community involvement
See community programmes.
Community programmes
Activities carried out at community level stimulating the involvement of community actors/institutions (for example: school, youth centre, neighbourhood, city, city districts) in order to intervene in people's immediate surroundings and to facilitate active participation in a social context.
Community-based prevention
See community-located prevention.
Community-located prevention
For the definition of community-located prevention see here.
Comparison group
A group of people whose characteristics may be measured against those of a treatment group (intervention group); comparison group members have characteristics and demographics similar to those of the treatment (intervention) group, but members of the comparison group receive no intervention
Control group (in a controlled trial)
The arm that acts as a comparator for one or more experimental interventions. Also called comparison group (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
Controlled trial
A clinical trial that has a control. Such trials are not necessarily randomised.(See also Cochrane Collaboration).
An assembly of judges or other persons legally appointed and acting as a tribunal to hear and determine any cause, civil, ecclesiastical, military, or naval (Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989)
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A design is a plan which indicates how often, when and from whom information will be gathered during the course of an evaluation. Good design is essential if the results of an evaluation are to have any future use. A design with at least one experimental group and one control group is known as a control group design; a time-series design uses only one experimental group but at least three data collections; and a design which does not use a control group or time series analysis is the pre- and post- design.
Detoxification is a medically supervised intervention to resolve withdrawal symptoms. Usually it is combined with some psychosocial interventions for continued care. Detoxification could be provided as an inpatient as well as in a community-based outpatient programme.
Drug consumption rooms
Locations where confirmed drug users are allowed to consume their drugs in hygienic conditions and without fear of arrest (for more details see here).
Drug-free treatment
Term previously used in EDDRA, this refers to psychosocial interventions (see definition for psychosocial interventions).
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Effectiveness refers to whether the interventions are effective in “real-world” conditions or “natural” settings, (Flay B.R. et al.,2005). The term effectiveness is also used to describe whether a programme achieves its stated goals and produces measurable outcomes.
Effect size
A generic term for the estimate of effect of treatment for a study. A dimensionless measure of effect that is typically used for continuous data when different scales (e.g. for measuring pain) are used to measure an outcome and is usually defined as the difference in means between the intervention and control groups, divided by the standard deviation of the control or both groups. (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
Efficacy is the extent to which an intervention (technology, treatment, procedure, service, or programme) produces a beneficial result under ideal conditions (See also Cochrane Collaboration). Efficacy is distinguished from effectiveness. See also the definition for effectiveness
Environmental strategies
Environmental strategies are prevention strategies aimed at the immediate cultural, political and social environment of people. For more details see here.
Ethnic approach
The project either solely targeted other ethnic groups or included them specifically in the intervention.
Systematic and scientific collection, processing and analysis of data related to the implementation of an intervention, in order to assess whether the objectives of an intervention have been achieved.
Evaluation Instruments Bank (EIB)
The EIB is an online document archive of tools created to encourage evaluation using reliable methods, and to help to standardise these tools at European level. The Instruments Bank contains tools for evaluating both prevention and treatment programmes.
Evaluation method
The methodology/approach used in the process of evaluation. This includes quantitative methods as well as qualitative approaches.
Evaluation of programme planning
The planning and design phase. The evaluation of this phase starts, at the latest, when the idea of beginning the intervention becomes concrete. This is the time when objectives and methods are chosen. The evaluation of the programme planning reflects the process of defining the problem, the need for intervention, the target population and the objectives. Furthermore, it includes the evaluation of the resources, and ends with planning for further evaluation.
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Evaluation resources
Human and financial resources used to perform the evaluation.
Evaluation tools
Technical resources and specific instruments used to perform the evaluation.
Evidence comprises the interpretation of empirical data derived from formal research or systematic investigations, using any type of science or social science method (Rychetnik, M et al., 2002). Depending on how it was obtained, evidence varies greatly in strength.
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients (Sackett et al., 1996). The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research (Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Oxford, United Kingdom).
Evidence-based practices
There are different definitions of evidence-based practices. At a minimum they are interventions that show consistent evidence of being related to preferred outcomes based on best available evidence. The American Psychology Association defines evidence-based practices as the integration of the best available research with expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences (http://www.apa.org/practice/ebpreport.pdf). This definition parallels with the definition of the Institute of Medicine as adapted from Sackett et al. (2000) that states: evidence-based practice is the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values.
Exchange on Drug Demand Reduction Action (EDDRA)
EDDRA is the EMCDDA's online databanks which provides details on a wide range of evaluated prevention, treatment and harm reduction interventions in EU Member States, as well as interventions within the criminal justice system. EDDRA is primarily designed to help professionals and policy-makers plan and implement interventions in response to drugs. Currently EDDRA contains more than 400 entries.
Experimental study
A study in which the investigators actively intervene to test a hypothesis. In a controlled trial, one type of experiment, the people receiving the treatment being tested are said to be in the experimental group or arm of the trial (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
External evaluation
Collection, analysis‚ and interpretation of data conducted by an individual or organisation outside the organisation being evaluated.
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Family-based prevention
Universal prevention approach that targets the family. For more details see here.
Fidelity of implementation
Fidelity of implementation refers to the degree to which teachers and other programme providers implement programmes as intended by the programme developers (Dusenbury et al.,2003).
Focus group
A small group of people with shared characteristics who typically participate, under the direction of a facilitator, in a focused discussion designed to identify perceptions and opinions on a specific topic. Focus groups may be used to collect background information, create new ideas and hypotheses, assess how a programme is working, or help to interpret results from other data sources.
Follow-up assessment
Expected programme outcomes are measured after the intervention has been implemented and are not compared to the results of some baseline assessment.
Formative evaluation
Formative evaluation is a method of judging the worth of a programme while the program activities are forming or happening. Formative evaluation focuses on the process. (Bhola 1990). Example: Collecting continuous feedback from participants in a programme in order to revise the programme as needed.
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Guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate interventions for specific circumstances (Field and Lohr, 1990). Guidelines often include a set of recommendations or steps that can be followed when implementing an intervention. The content of guidelines are commonly based on available research evidence. Other terms used for guidelines: practice guidance, clinical guidelines, guides, practice recommendations.
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Harm reduction
The aims of a harm reduction approach are to reduce the incidence of drug use-related infections and overdose, and encourage active drug users to contact health and social services (Correlation - EMCDDA working group, Development of a data collection protocol for specialist harm reduction service providers, in print).
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An injecting drug user.
Indicated prevention
Indicated prevention aims to identify individuals who are exhibiting early signs of substance abuse (but not DSM-IV criteria for addiction) and other problem behaviour and to target them with special interventions. For more details see here.
Indicators in the context of evaluation are simply one-dimensional measures that help to measure, to express, or at least to reflect and to simplify the more complex formulation of the objectives. For more details see PERK.
Initial situation
Information relating to the target population such as drug knowledge/use, socio-economic and demographic data can all be included to assess initial situation. Data sources, social perceptions and public discussion related to the situation can also be added.
In-patient treatment
In-patient treatment is treatment in which the patient spends the night in the treatment centre. See also the definition for treatment centre.
Instruments refer to all the tools that are used to collect information on the target group, the evaluation, etc. The most widely used instruments in evaluation are self-report questionnaires. Other instruments include tests, ratings, interviews and observation instruments.
Interactive programmes
Programmes that use participatory teaching and learning methods (i.e. group discussions, group exercises).
Internal evaluator
An individual (or group of individuals) from within the organisation being evaluated who is (are) responsible for collecting, analysing and interpreting data.
The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modifying the outcome (Medical Dictionary 2nd Edition, 2003).
Intervention in the criminal justice system
An intervention that is targeted at drug users in contact with the criminal justice system. This may be when they are arrested, appear before court, are in prison or when they are released from prison.
Intervention-specific instruments
Instruments of examination, observation‚ or evaluation that were specifically constructed for an intervention.
In evaluation research, the interview is an instrument used to assess data on the implementation process and outcome. Interviews can differ in their degree of standardisation (structured, semi-structured or unstructured interviews), the type of contact (face-to-face, telephone or written), or the number of people interviewed at the same time (individual or group interviews).
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Key informant
Person with the particular background, knowledge, or special skills required to contribute information relevant to topics under examination in an evaluation.
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Life skills programmes
Interventions that implement the concept of life skills. Life skills refers to a large group of psychosocial and interpersonal skills which can help people make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and develop coping and self-management skills that may help them lead a healthy and productive life. Life skills commonly include components that focus on social skills, personal skills and knowledge and also resistance skills. Life skills based interventions are often classified as part of the broader category of social influence based interventions, Morgan (2001), Sussmann et al. (2004). A standardised life-skill based intervention, the Life Skills Training (LST) was developed by the US researcher Gilbert J. Botvin. See also Life skills programme website.
Logic model
A logic model is a graphic representation of a programme that describes the programme’s essential components and expected accomplishments and conveys the logical relationship between these components and their outcomes. See also PERK.
Long-term outcomes (also known as impacts)
Changes that occur as a result of many interventions. Long-term outcomes are likely to be changes in behaviour, conditions (e.g. risk factors), and status (e.g. poverty rates), (Chinman M., Imm P., Wandersman A.,2004).
Low threshold services
Services that help drug-addicts with daily survival and help avoid their further deterioration. A main characteristic is that services require little motivation on the part of the drug user and offer basic assistance such as shelter, hygiene and food. They aim at establishing or re-establishing social contacts and getting in contact with hidden populations of drug-users (see also here).
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Mass media campaigns
Mass media reach all or a large part of the general population (broad coverage). They may be used to enhance public awareness on drugs, provide information on drugs or how to confront drug addiction. Examples are TV and cinema, advertising, press and radio (Internet, posters, leaflets, stickers, t-shirts, might be part of such a campaign).
The use of statistical techniques in a systematic review to integrate the results of included studies. Sometimes misused as a synonym for systematic reviews, where the review includes a meta-analysis (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
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Needle and syringe exchange programmes
Needle and syringe exchange programmes describe the provision of sterile syringes and hypodermic needles as well as further injecting paraphernalia to injecting drug users.
Needs assessment
Needs assessment (or needs analysis) is the systematic appraisal of a perceived phenomenon as well as the appropriateness of the proposed intervention.
Non-interactive programmes
Programmes that use didactic methods (i.e. lecturers, presentation of films).
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Objectives are specific and measurable statements regarding the desired outcome of a prevention intervention. For evaluation purposes, the formulation of objectives must specify the variables to be changed and establish measurable success criteria. A plausible, testable assumption must link programme activities to objectives, and objectives to intended outcomes. If the objectives are vague, it will not be possible to implement an intervention or assess the effectiveness of the intervention.
Objectivity is, along with reliability and validity, an important indicator for the quality of an instrument. It refers to the fact that the results yielded by the instrument must be independent of the person measuring the data - different people using the same instrument should come to the same results.
Observational study
A study in which the investigators do not seek to intervene, and simply observe the course of events. Changes or differences in one characteristic (e.g. whether or not people received the intervention of interest are studied in relation to changes or differences in other characteristic(s) (e.g. whether or not they develop a disease), without action by the investigator. There is a greater risk of selection bias than in experimental studies. See also randomised controlled trial (also called non-experimental study), (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
Operational objectives
These are technical, intermediate aims in order to achieve the changes in the target group previously defined as specific objective. Operational objectives are the outputs or products of the intervention, for instance training sessions held, manuals published and distributed, teachers trained, schools involved, peers recruited, but also the demands for repetition of the intervention and the degree of acceptance.
An immediate or direct effect of a programme. Outcomes are frequently stated, for example: by a specified date, there will be a change (increase or decrease) in the target's behaviour, among the target population, (Chinman M, Imm P, Wandersman, A., 2004).
Outcome evaluation
Systematic process of collecting, analysing and interpreting data to assess and evaluate what outcomes an intervention has achieved, (Chinman M, Imm P, Wandersman A (2004). In other words, outcome evaluation measures how clients and their circumstances change and whether the intervention experience has been a factor in causing this change (WHO/UNDCP/EMCDDA Workbooks on evaluation, 2000).
Outcome indicator
Outcome indicators relate the results of a project in the target group to its specific objectives (and the underlying working hypothesis) (see also definition for indicator).
Outpatient treatment
Outpatient treatment is treatment where the patient does not spend the night on the premises.
Outreach work
Community-based activities with the aim of getting in touch with persons who are not effectively reached by existing services. One key element is active contact-making with high-risk groups in a setting where they are comfortable, and keeping in close contact with them, instead of waiting for these people to approach services. Activities range from prevention to healthcare and advice for untreated drug users.
Overall objective
The main purpose of the intervention- the solution or modification of the stated problem. Its definition should include a brief description of the expected change, preferably a quantifiable measure of outcomes, with regard to population and when it is expected to be achieved.
Overdose (OD)
A dangerous condition cause by the use of an extreme dosage of a drug or a mix of drugs.
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Peer-led approach
A psychological support that is provided by a person of a background that is similar to the client’s. When active drug users take part in an outreach activity they provide peer support, as do students who are actively involved in the implementation of a prevention programme for fellow students.
Pharmacologically assisted treatment
Term previously used in EDDRA that refers to substitution/maintenance treatment. See also the definition for substitution/maintenance treatment.
Pre-post design with comparison group – quasi-experimental
In this case, to the simple pre-post design a comparison/control group is added that undergoes the same evaluation procedures as before but does not receive the intervention. With this design one can demonstrate that the effects are most likely due to the intervention, but some critics could still say that there were pre-selection or context effects that made the intervention group more likely to show results than the comparison/control group: e.g. having less risk factors.
Pre-post design without comparison group – naturalistic
The pre- and post-test design (also called naturalistic design) is a simple way to plan an outcome evaluation without the benefits of a control group. In this design, the only people measured are those who receive the intervention. They are tested on their knowledge, attitudes or intentions, for example, before and after the intervention. The differences between the two measurements are then checked for statistical significance. The advantage of this design is its simplicity and the fact that it is not very time consuming. The major drawback is that without a control group, it is difficult to know whether the results are really due to the intervention, or to some other confounding factors.
Pre-post design with comparison group and randomisation
See definition for randomised controlled trial.
Prevention Evaluation Resource Kit (PERK)
PERK is a resource of the EMCDDA which compiles basic but evidence-based prevention principles, planning rules and evaluation tips. It also provides related documentation or references for download. This additional material is particularly useful for readers who have difficulty accessing scientific prevention literature. Each theoretical discussion is illustrated with an intervention example, partly based on a real-life situation, to give a practical perspective.
Preventive intervention
Prevention intervention describes an activity that will be carried out in order to prevent substance use behaviour. Prevention interventions can be realised in different settings and with different methods and contents. The duration can vary between one-off activities and long-term projects running for several months or more.
Prevention of HIV infection among drug users
Activities aimed at avoiding transmission of HIV to drug users by promoting safe injection practices (needle and syringe exchange programmes), promoting non-intravenous use and advising safe sex practices. Such measures might also include sexually transmitted disease prevention and hepatitis and HIV-screening for drug users and their partners.
Primary level research
Any investigation study (or trial) that is designed to investigate a hypothesised cause-effect relation by modifying the supposed causal factor(s) in the study population. A trial is an umbrella term for a variety of designs, including uncontrolled trials, controlled trials and randomised controlled trials.
Problem drug use
Injecting drug use or long duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines.
Process evaluation
Process evaluation assesses the implementation of the intervention and its effects on the various participants. It questions how the intervention took place, whether it was performed in conformity with its design, and whether the designated target group was reached. The process evaluation will help to explain outcome data and to discuss improvement of the intervention in the future
Process indicator
Process indicators relate the outputs of a project (its deliverables, structures created, opportunities given, materials published) to its operational objectives, (see also definition for indicator).
A joint number of co-ordinated activities or interventions. The programme aims to achieve general objectives related to drugs.
Psychosocial intervention
Psychosocial interventions include structured counselling, motivational enhancement, case management, care-coordination, psychotherapy and relapse prevention.
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Qualitative research
Qualitative research is a collection of methodological approaches used to study the social world, in which activities are studied in naturalistic settings rather than under experimental conditions, and where the subjective experiences of ordinary people are of greater interest than objective categories and measurements of researchers. (Davies, 2000). Qualitative research uses a variety of methods, including interviews, observations of naturally-occurring activities, detailed description and ethnography, conversation and discourse analysis, analysis of text and semiotic representations, personal accounts, biographies and oral histories (Silverman, 1993; Denzin and Lincoln, 1994, 1998; Wolcott, 1994; Creswell, 1998). In qualitative approaches to evaluation, the aim is to understand a programme or particular aspects of it as a whole. Instead of entering the study with a pre-existing set of expectations for examining or measuring processes and outcomes (quantitative approach), the emphasis is on detailed description and in-depth understanding as it emerges from direct contact and experience with the programme and its participants.
Quality assurance
Quality assurance can be defined as a system of procedures, checks, audits and corrective actions to ensure that a service and reporting activities are of the highest achievable quality, (Last, 1995). Quality assurance can be implemented as a more or less formal control measure and with a higher or lower level of reporting through providers and public control institutions. Among the most traditional measures are quality standards and guidelines, evaluation (monitoring) and training of staff.
Quality standards
Quality standards are generally accepted principles or sets of rules for the best/most appropriate way to implement an intervention. Frequently they refer to structural (formal) aspects of quality assurance, such as environment and staff composition. However, they may also refer to process aspects such as adequacy of content, process of the intervention or evaluation processes.
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Random assignment
The arbitrary process through which eligible study participants are assigned to either a control group or the group of people who will receive the intervention (Chinman M., Imm P., Wandersman, A., 2004).
Randomised controlled trial
An experiment in which two or more interventions, possibly including a control intervention or no intervention, are compared by being randomly allocated to participants. In most trials one intervention is assigned to each individual but sometimes assignment is to defined groups of individuals (for example, in a household) or interventions are assigned within individuals (for example, in different orders or to different parts of the body), (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
The degree to which results obtained by a measurement procedure can be replicated. Lack of reliability can arise from divergences between observers or measurement instruments, measurement error, or instability in the attribute being measured (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
To implement a programme in a setting other than the one for which it originally was designed and implemented, with attention to the faithful transfer of its core elements to the new setting (Chinman M., Imm P., Wandersman, A., 2004).
Residential treatment
Treatment programmes which require participants to live in a hostel, home or hospital unit. These programmes generally strive to provide a positive drug-free environment in which residents are expected to participate in a full-time programme of counselling, and group work developing social and other life skills (UNODC, Demand Reduction, A Glossary of Terms).
A review article in medical literature which summarises a number of different studies and may draw conclusions about a particular intervention (as secondary level research). Review articles are often not systematic. Review articles are also sometimes called overviews. (See also Cochrane Collaboration).
Review of reviews
These are systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant findings from systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses. They may also include individual studies (i.e. randomised controlled trials).
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Secondary level research
Synthesis (summary) of primary level research (trials, studies), in the form of reviews, systematic reviews or meta-analyses.
Selective prevention
Selective prevention strategies target subsets of the total population that are deemed to be at risk for substance abuse by virtue of their membership in a particular population segment, e.g. children of adult alcoholics, dropouts, or students who are failing academically. For more details see the Selective prevention page on the EMCDDA website.
Self-help group
Bottom-up approach involving concerned persons who organise themselves for mutual support or in order to get more information on drug-related matters. Examples: parents' groups, narcotics anonymous, etc.
Setting of the intervention
The social and physical environment where the intervention is being implemented.
Social influence-based interventions
These are interventions that adopt the social influence approach to drug prevention. They are based on the idea that immunisation in the classroom against active or indirect social pressure to use drugs will help prevent substance use (Donaldson et al., 1996, Morgan, 2001). They commonly include components that focus on normative beliefs and values but also life skills, social skills, personal skills, knowledge and resistance skills.
Social reintegration
Social reintegration is defined as ‘any social intervention with the aim of integrating former or current problem drug users into the community’. The three ‘pillars’ of social reintegration are (1) housing, (2) education, and (3) employment (including vocational training). Other measures, such as counselling and leisure activities, may also be used.
Specific objectives
Intermediate result necessary to achieve the general objective. Specific objectives always relate to changes in the target groups so that the outcomes are clearly measurable. The specific objectives need not necessarily relate to drug use but each of them, if achieved, should lead plausibly to fulfilment of the general objective. The measurement of specific objectives through outcome indicators lead to an outcome evaluation.
Specific target group
The population in which the change defined as a general objective is to be reached.
Standardised instruments
Instruments of examination, observation‚ or evaluation that share a standard set of instructions for their administration, use, scoring, and interpretation (Chinman M., Imm P., Wandersman, A., 2004).
Substitution/maintenance treatment
Treatment of drug dependence by prescription of a substitute drug (agonists and antagonists) for which cross-dependence and cross-tolerance exists, with the goal to reduce or eliminate the use of a particular substance, especially if it is illegal, or to reduce harm from a particular method of administration, the attendant dangers for health (e.g. from needle sharing), and the social consequences, (Demand Reduction – A Glossary of terms, UNDCP, no year).
Summative evaluation
Summative evaluation is a method of judging the worth of a programme at the end of the programme activities. The focus is on the outcome, (Bhola 1990).
Systematic review
A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies (See also ).
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Telephone helpline
Services providing drug information and information or counselling on prevention or treatment facilities to parents, teachers, youth and drug users by telephone.
Tertiary level research
Synthesis (summary) of secondary level research, i.e. of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the form of review of reviews.
Therapeutic communities
These are structured environments in which individuals with drug-related problems live while undergoing rehabilitation. Such communities are often specifically designed for drug-dependent people. They operate under strict rules, are run mainly by people who have recovered from dependence, and are often geographically isolated. Therapeutic communities are also used for the management of patients with psychotic disorders and anti-social personalities. Therapeutic communities are often characterised by a combination of “reality testing” (through confrontation of the individual’s drug problem) and support for recovery from staff and peers. They are usually closely aligned with mutual help groups such as Narcotic Anonymous(UNODC, Demand Reduction, A Glossary of Terms).
The process of attaining knowledge, skills and/or experience in the field of drug demand reduction.
Treatment comprises all structured interventions' specific pharmacological and/or psychosocial techniques aimed at reducing or abstaining from the use of illegal drugs (EMCDDA Structured Questionnaire 27, treatment programmes). In the Pompidou Group-EMCDDA Treatment Demand Indicator Protocol, the following definition is provided: treatment is any activity that directly targets individuals who have problems with their drug use and which aims to improve the psychological, medical or social state of those who seek help for their drug problems. This activity often takes place at specialised facilities for drug users, but may also occur in the context of in general services offering medical and/or psychological help to people with drug problems (Pompidou Group-EMCDDA Treatment Demand Indicator Protocol version 2.0, 2000).
Treatment centre
A treatment centre is any agency that provides treatment to people with drug problems. Treatment centres can be based within structures that are medical or non-medical, governmental or non-governmental, public or private, specialised or non-specialised. They include in-patient detoxification units, outpatient clinics, drug substitution programmes (maintenance or shorter-term), therapeutic communities, counselling and advice centres, street agencies, crisis centres, drug-treatment programmes in prisons and special services for drug users within general health or social-care facilities (Pompidou Group-EMCDDA Treatment Demand Indicator Protocol version 2.0, 2000).
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Universal prevention
Universal prevention strategies address the entire population (national, local community, school, neighbourhood) with messages and programmes aimed at preventing or delaying the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. For more details see here.
Universal target group
The universal target group is the group of people, households, organisations, communities or any other identifiable unit which a prevention intervention is directed towards. A careful analysis and estimation of the size and nature of the target group are essential preconditions when documenting the need for a prevention activity.
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Validated instrument
One way of ensuring the quality of data collected by instrument (questionnaire) is to use only those which have been validated. A validated instrument is one which has undergone a validation procedure to show that it accurately measures what it aims to do, regardless of who responds, when they respond, and to whom they respond. Elements of a validation procedure may include the examination of reliability, the comparison of results with other sources of data, the translation and reverse translation to reduce ambiguity, the examination of feasibility: acceptability, time needed to respond, cost etc. as well as the examination of variation in response due to data inquiry methods (self-administered, personal interview, telephone interview etc.), (International Epidemiological Association /IEA European Questionnaire Group).
The degree to which a measurement, questionnaire, test, or study or any other data-collection tool measures what it is intended to measure (Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, 3rd Edition. Developed by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
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Withdrawal treatment
See the definition for detoxification
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Youth programme outside school
Activities directed at youth outside schools, ranging from leisure time activities to interventions for school drop-outs. Examples are cultural events, video productions, exhibitions, peer-group approaches, sports events, and so on.
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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2014