The European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC)

Advancing the professionalism of the drug prevention workforce in Europe is at the heart of a new European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC). Central to the initiative is a a manual, the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) handbook. It is designed to train professionals who are involved in shaping prevention decisions, opinions and policies in Europe in the science-based prevention of substance use.

The aim of the EUPC initiative is to implement a standardised prevention training curriculum in Europe and improve the overall effectiveness of prevention. Adapted from the Universal Prevention Curriculum by the EU-funded UPC-Adapt group, the handbook is based on international standards but with a European slant.

eupc logo yellow flower with green leaves

Who is the EUPC for?

This curriculum has been designed specifically to provide essential prevention knowledge to decision-, opinion- and policy-makers about the most effective evidence-based prevention interventions and approaches. EUPC in its current training format is not aimed at frontline practitioners, but will soon be available for them as well. 

The target audience might include prevention coordinators, prevention specialists and policy-makers with both general and specialist roles that include responsibility for prevention programmes. In some countries, this group may also include senior practitioners who are influential in decision-making and professional development. They can be located at community, region or country level. They may also be heads of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engaged in delivering prevention, prevention coordinators in a regional administration, civil servants who develop strategies and commission prevention interventions in a municipality, or stakeholders and community coalitions.

The EUPC has a specific focus on these groups because of the key role they can play in influencing the development of prevention systems.

Why is there a need for the EUPC?

This initiative is a response to the lack of training opportunities in Europe that focus specifically on prevention. Prevention professionals in Europe typically learn about prevention only on the job, without any specific previous training. This prevention training has the goal of boosting the application and uptake of effective modern prevention approaches in Europe.

What is in the curriculum?

The curriculum provides a concise but informative and practically useful overview on topics including aetiology and epidemiology, school-based prevention, family-based prevention, environmental prevention, advocacy and evaluation, etc. Delivering the training in academic settings will also help to ensure that the next generation of decision-, opinion- and policy-makers is equipped with specific knowledge about the advances in and utility of prevention science. This training provides an overview of evidence-based prevention in order to facilitate well-informed choices about funding and implementation priorities. For professionals who have followed the curriculum and want to deepen their knowledge about a particular aspect of prevention science and apply it accurately, safely and confidently (for example the use of media) we strongly recommend that they apply for one of the full prevention science courses at https://www.apsieducationcenter.org/courses.

How is it delivered?

The EUPC can be delivered in different ways. There is a module for inclusion in prevention training carried out in academic settings and training modules for decision-, opinion- and policy-makers (DOPs). The first two basic modules of the DOP version can be delivered online and the additional 3 advanced modules can be delivered on the EMCDDA's training platform PLATO in e-learning format. The graph below explains the different training paths and options. The structure of the training uses a cascade ‘training of trainers’ approach whereby trainers acknowledged by the EMCDDA can further disseminate the training.

Different EUPC training scheme and courses. Students in prevention relevant courses can attend face-to-face trainings and become future trainers. There are a number of different paths open to decision-opinon and policy makers.

What is the history of the EUPC?

The European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) was developed by a European project entitled UPC-Adapt, which was co-funded by the European Commission. Eleven partners from nine European countries cooperated in the project and adapted the Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) to suit a European audience. The UPC was originally developed by Applied Prevention Science International (APSI) with funding from the US Department of State to the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme. The adaptation process was based on the guidelines of the European Prevention Standards Partnership on adaptation and dissemination of quality standards in different contexts (EDPQS Toolkit 4), which describe how to adapt it.

Since the EUPC’s target group in Europe is unlikely to be able (or willing) to attend a long and intensive prevention training course, this European curriculum is shorter and more accessible than the original UPC. It can be delivered in up to five days, unlike the original UPC, which requires up to nine weeks of training.

What resources are available?

You can download the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) handbook, which is intended as a reader or reference material for both trainees and trainers. Additional language versions of the handbook are gradually being added there as well.

Recognised EUPC trainers are provided with EUPC training materials, including a trainer’s guide and PowerPoint presentations. See the list of EUPC trainers

How are the trainings organised?

We want to ensure that EUPC is delivered with a high degree of fidelity and by trusted partners. See the details of the dissemination and quality control principles.

We deliver trainings of Trainers, periodically and preferably in Lisbon and in English only. The system is under continuous revision as contents and modalities of the Master trainings are being adapted after each training of Trainers.

EUPC Master Trainers are acknowledged by the EMCDDA only if they fulfil a number of requirements. See more here for more details of the EUPC rules. Master Trainers can then set up training offers in their respective country or language (e.g. for French-, Greek- or German-speaking countries). These training offers should be non-profit. The EMCDDA cannot provide funding support for any of them in the EU.

How to enrol in an EUPC training?

Contact EUPC@emcdda.europa.eu or consult the list of EUPC trainers and master trainers and contact them directly.

How to become a national trainer or national master trainer?

In order to be admitted to a Training of Trainers (ToT) course, applicants for becoming a national trainer need to have a very thorough knowledge of the EUPC handbook and materials and need therefore to have undergone one of the full training versions of the EUPC (either the academic or the DOP version) and successfully passed the respective exam(1). We also admit candidates to our Training of Trainers courses who have completed a UPC CORE course delivered by APSI intl. and who are recommended by APSI.

Generally, a recommendation by a national (master) trainer and/or the relevant authority of a country's prevention system is required for the admission to a ToT.

Currently there are no training fees, but travel and accommodation have to be borne by participants or their organisation.

Additional criteria for admission to the Trainings of Trainers (ToT) can be found on the EUPC implementation rules page. For further information and inquiries contact EUPC@emcdda.europa.eu

(1) Subject to further revision. Trainers from the EU-Projects who have developed the EUPC (UPC-Adapt project) or have developed further implementation strategies for it (ASAP project) are considered provisional national trainers already. They need only to fulfil a few additional requirements in order to be acknowledged. 

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