EMCDDA analysis of implementing North American drug prevention programmes in Europe

The EMCDDA have been looking at whether prevention programmes that have been developed in North America (USA and Canada) could be delivered to effect in Europe.

The key points the EMCDDA identify are:

  • Cultural infeasibility is often seen as more of a barrier than it should be.  Where adaptations have struggled it may have more to do with low prevalence and high social protection than flaws in the programmes.
  • Adaptation needs care and consultation, but is feasible.
  • In adapting American programmes those doing so should consider culture and context separately.
  • Thinking about the social capital available may help reduce any anticipated resistance to programmes that have been developed elsewhere.
  • Adaptation needs to be careful not to change the key principles that have made the programme effective in the first place.  Changing illustrative examples to make them accessible to participants is fine, but changing the programme protocol (number and order of sessions, etc.) is likely to change the efficacy.
  • A considerable barrier to implementation may be the perceived complexity of the North American programmes – multi-component, multi-sessions, etc.

The paper gives examples of a number of the programmes that have had European trials many that will be familiar to readers of this blog – the Good Behaviour Game, Preventure, Strengthening Families Program, and Communities that Care.

From my point of view this is a very helpful resource with lots of great nuggets for any of us thinking about how we can introduce or replicate evidence based programmes that have been developed elsewhere.


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