The main objectives and features of Bulgaria’s drug use prevention policy are (i) the expansion of systematic health education in the field of secondary education; (ii) the development and implementation of programmes targeting children and young people; (iii) the establishment and training of multidisciplinary teams; (iv) the implementation of media campaigns; (v) the expansion of sport and tourism programmes for children and young people; and (vi) the development and implementation of programmes for high-risk groups and activities to integrate them into the community.
National and municipal authorities share responsibility for the planning and implementation of prevention activities. A total of 27 municipal drug councils implement the national drug policy at the local level and are supported by prevention and information centres that collect and analyse data and inform the design and implementation of municipal programmes and strategies. Local committees on juvenile delinquency also play a role in the implementation of some of the objectives of the national prevention policy. To secure funding, programmes must comply with the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards.
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.
Interventions in the field of prevention in Bulgaria are predominantly of an informational and educational nature. Local environmental policies are rare. Universal prevention is implemented mainly through the education system and is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science. The principal objectives of school-based prevention are to provide information and create a protective school environment. Most health education interventions implemented in schools combine life skills and peer education. Some interventions targeting parents are also available. Manual-based prevention programmes in schools are rare; available programmes are usually designed or adapted for implementation at the local level. Families are increasingly involved in general universal prevention activities. In communities, municipal youth information and counselling centres implement health promotion projects targeting young people. These activities generally promote the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.
Selective prevention in Bulgaria mostly targets at-risk children, young people and families. It is often based on the provision of information and training programmes, although peer-to-peer education models are also used. Other groups targeted for prevention activities include young people and children with special educational needs and those from ethnic minority communities.
Indicated prevention in the country focuses on training health, social and educational professionals on how to screen and implement early and short interventions. In Sofia, a day centre provides counselling on dependency problems for children, young people and parents.