The Drug Strategy 2010 is structured around three themes: (a) reducing demand (b) restricting supply (c) building recovery in communities.
Findings on Their Early Intervention Activities:
• Early intervention activities were central to achieving the Drug Strategy 2010’s aim of reducing demand for illicit drugs.
• Designed to tackle the risk factors associated with drug misuse and other risky behaviours, early intervention activities can prevent a wide range of adverse social outcomes relating to offending, family, education and employment.
• However, due to the time-lag between interventions taking place and their (desired) effect, there is a lack of evidence supporting their long-term impact.
• When implemented according to the broader evidence base of what works, early intervention activity can be effective in reducing risk factors associated with drug use, and in turn drug use itself.
• Approaches most likely to be beneficial are those targeted at multiple risk behaviours, as opposed to targeting drug use alone.
• Interventions most likely to be effective include pre-school and family-based programmes.
• There is promising evidence that interventions such as Personal Social Health And Economic (PSHE) education, family nurse partnership programmes, family intervention projects and MyPlace can positively impact on reducing risky behaviours and subsequently drug use. However, the strongest evidence typically comes from the United States of America (which has different health and education structures), with evidence from the UK tending to be less robust methodologically.
• Estimates suggest that central government spending on early intervention activity under the Drug Strategy 2010 may have fallen from an estimated £269 million in 2010/11 to £215 million in 2014/15.
• Due to the absence of sufficient data (on expenditure, reach of early interventions, and drug use outcomes), it was not possible to produce value-for-money estimates for early intervention activities.