Versión Española Irefrea
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Cannabis prevention in the EU.
Burkhart, G. and Calafat, A.
(2008) In: EMCDDA. A cannabis reader: global issues and local experiences. Monographs, 8, Volume 2. Lisboa: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.


Cannabis is the most widely consumed illicit drug. It is targeted in one way or another by most prevention interventions. However, few interventions have targeted cannabis specifically. So cannabis prevention in Europe takes place in a vast and varied landscape. What may seem an abstract term — prevention — in practice diffuses across all manner of concrete programmes. These range from diplomacy and treaty negotiation, through health promotion by ministries and community schemes, to physical products such as pamphlets, videos and leaflets.

This chapter attempts to map the diversity of interventions in Europe within the three-tier ‘Gordon’ classification framework of universal, selective and indicated prevention. The chapter is illustrative rather than exhaustive. A general overview of prevention is made difficult because of the sheer diversity of prevention projects that have been developed. Moreover, the actors and implementers involved are far from uniform across Europe.

What is certain is that the evidence base for cannabis prevention in the EU needs considerable work. Budgets for prevention campaigns in Europe run into tens of millions of Euros, yet while considerable effort is spent on describing their scale (number of leaflets printed, number of advertisements aired, etc.) more research is needed into their effectiveness. Much knowledge originates from alcohol and tobacco prevention and from non-European studies (the USA in particular). While the evaluation of programmes has matured in Europe, the evidence base is too small to develop definitive conclusions for good practice. Political efforts should focus on evaluation and rigorous outcome evaluations.