Prevention is one of the main components of a health-centred system to address drugs, as mandated by the existing three international Conventions. An effective national drug prevention system delivers an integrated range of interventions and policies based on scientific evidence, in multiple settings, targeting relevant ages and levels of risk. To deliver an integrated range of interventions and policies, a system requires also strong structural foundations, including for example supportive policy frameworks, research, coordination at different levels, and capacity building and other resources.
Prevention is one of the main components of a health-centred system to address drugs, as mandated by the existing three international Conventions:
.Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol;
.Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971;
.United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988
An important mandate to further strengthen the global prevention response was provided in the Sustainable Development Goals, where all the UN Member States committed themselves to ‘Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol’ in the sub-goal 3.5.
An effective national drug prevention system builds on these mandates and delivers an integrated range of interventions and policies based on scientific evidence, in multiple settings, targeting relevant ages and levels of risk. To deliver an integrated range of interventions and policies, a system requires strong structural foundations, which include (link directly to the standards sub-chapters if possible):
- A supportive policy and legal framework
- Scientific evidence and research
- Coordination between multiple involved sectors (such as education, health-care, drug-control, to name just a few) and levels (national, sub-national and municipal/ local)
- Training and supporting the capacities of policymakers and practitioners
- Commitment to provide adequate resources and to sustain the system in the long term
The UNODC International Standards summarize the currently available scientific evidence on what is effective for preventing drug use, and identify and discuss these major components and features of an effective national drug prevention system. It is our hope that the International Standards will assist policy makers worldwide to develop programmes, policies and systems that are a truly effective investment in the future of children, youth, families and communities.
The Standards have been recognized by Member States as a useful tool to promote evidence-based prevention in the following documents:
• The Joint Ministerial Statement on the mid-term review of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action;
• Resolution 57/3 - Promoting prevention of drug abuse based on scientific evidence as an investment in the well-being of children, adolescents, youth, families and communities; and,
• Resolution 58/3 - Promoting the protection of children and young people, with particular reference to the illicit sale and purchase of internationally or nationally controlled substances and of new psychoactive substances via the Internet.
• Resolution 58/7 Strengthening cooperation with the scientific community, including academia, and promoting scientific research in drug demand and supply reduction policies in order to find effective solutions to various aspects of the world drug problem (operative paragraph 2)
• Resolution 59/6 Promoting prevention strategies and policies (operative paragraphs 5 and 14)
Outcome Documentof UNGASS 2016 on the World Drug Problem (paragraph 1.(h))
Other useful tools for decision makers include for example the CCSA ‘ Funders toolkit’. This toolkit for Funding Youth Substance Use Prevention Programs is a collection of resources designed to help funders of youth substance use prevention activities evaluate grant applications. Funding applicants can also use the materials to help develop and prepare their programs for evaluation. The toolkit is informed by best available evidence provided in the Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention, as well as insight from the charitable, not-for-profit and government sectors.
The EMCCDA EPQS toolkit for decision makers is another recommendable resource, as well as the resource finder below.