Key questions that need to be addressed at the initial assessment stage are who is affected, what types of substances and patterns of use are involved, and where the problem is occurring. Responses need to be tailored to the particular drug problems being experienced, and these may differ between countries and over time. The wide array of factors that need to be considered at this stage in the process are discussed in this section and illustrated in the figure.
Visual description: Three concentric circles show the factors to be considered in stage one of the action framework. The inner centre of the circle depicts Problem definition, and from it an arrow facing east departs to the outside of the concentric circles. This arrow is entitled Aims and outcomes sought. The middle circle is divided into three key questions. These are: Who, Where, and What and How. The outer circle provides further elements for each question. Who is divided into three sectors: Individuals, Communities and Families. Where is divided into two sectors: Social context and Geographical setting. What and How includes seven elements: cannabis, opioids, stimulants, new psychoactive substances, medicines, injecting, and polydrug use. Outside the concentric circles, the diagram lists on the top left corner three Contextual factors and influences. These are Attitudes of public and policymakers, National and local priorities, and Social and economic factors. On the bottom left corner, three Knowledge bases are listed. These are Early Warning Systems, Needs assessment, and Key indicators.