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Preventive interventions in nightlife: a review
Calafat, A., Juan, M. & Duch, M.A.
(2009) Adicciones, 21 (4), 387-414


Participating in nightlife it is a meaningful cultural activity for young people. Councils welcome a flourishing late-night entertainment industry. But there also problems related to the people involved (alcohol and drug abuse, violence, risky sex…) and to the recreational activity itself (noise, street drinking, vandalism…). Prevention intervention possibilities are numerous, and most have been implemented, however assessment of their outcomes is less common.

We have identified 11 types of prevention according to their main objective (venues centred, community, education, law enforcement, industry collaboration…) and we have reviewed the existing evidence in relation to each form of intervention. Popular types of interventions as providing information or pill testing are not evidence based. Other interventions as Responsible beverage services or designated driver programmes, backed by the industry, are not exactly the most effective, especially if they are not enforced. Others like community approaches can be effective but it can be a problem how to achieve their continuity. From the present review, what emerges as the best strategy is the combination of training, cooperation and enforcement. ‘Classical’ measures (taxation, reduced BAC limits, minimum legal purchasing age…) are also evidence-based and effective.

Could be interesting to investigate interventions that address the cultural aspects of nightlife. But this sort of interventions does not depend on the will or the skills of professionals, and are more related to societal changes. The highly frequent use of popular but ineffective interventions contributes more to the problem than to its solution, and only facilitates giving preventive efforts a bad reputation.