About the European drug prevention quality standards (EDPQS)

About this page

The European drug prevention quality standards (EDPQS) provide a set of principles to help develop and assess the quality of drug prevention. On this page, you can find background information on these standards as well as links to key resources.


In recent years there has been significant progress in understanding what works and what does not work in prevention and about the quality standards that are relevant to prevention activities. The application of this knowledge reduces the negative outcomes of poor quality work and results in substantial benefits for society including:

  • A decrease in substance use related harm
  • Adoption of healthier lifestyles
  • Reduction of negative social and economic outcomes
  • More efficient use of economic resources
  • Increased competency and professionalism of those working in prevention

The European drug prevention quality standards (EDPQS) provide a set of principles to help develop and assess the quality of drug prevention and  were developed from a research project co-funded by the European Union and offer guidance on high quality drug prevention. They combine scientific evidence and practical experience.

The EDPQS are the cornerstone of the EU minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction endorsed by the Council of the European Union in September 2015.

Key EDPQS resources

Links to the key EPDQS resources are available below:

The Quality Standards Cycle

The EDPQS are represented as a cyclical structure composed of eight stages and four cross-cutting considerations, and that outlines the necessary steps in the planning, implementation and evaluation of drug prevention activities. Each stage provides particular details on how to promote quality in drug prevention. This frameworkl is represented in the figure below. For a full understanding, please consult the European drug prevention quality standards (EDPQS publication.

Who are the standards for?

The standards can be used by a wide range of people within the drug prevention community including

  • Programme Developers
  • Programme Managers
  • Commissioners and Funders
  • Policy Makers
  • Service Managers and front-line Practitioners
  • School Teachers
  • Educators
  • Trainers
  • Evaluators
  • Researchers
  • Other Decision-, Opinion-, and Policy-Makers at local level

Tailored toolkits have been developed to address the needs of different professional groups.

What can the standards be used for?

The standards can be used to help:

  • Assess needs and select target population
  • Plan for quality in the development of new prevention initiatives
  • Identify the strong quality aspects of prevention initiatives
  • Develop and improve the quality of existing prevention provision
  • Review the quality of ongoing or completed prevention initiatives
  • Assess whether a prevention-related activity is undertaken or likely to operate in a way that can be considered “high quality” (see EDPQS toolkit 1)

The standards can also be used in order to support:

  • the learning outcomes of a EUPC-training) to daily practice
  • Professional development
  • Information and Awareness raising about recommended interventions
  • Education and Training (see EDPQS toolkit 3)
  • Self-reflection and self-improvement (see EDPQS toolkit 2)
  • Performance appraisal
  • Developing or updating existing quality criteria or standards (see EDPQS toolkit 4)