School-based prevention programme EU-Dap (»Unplugged«)

EU-Dap programme or programme “Unplugged” is the most important part of the school prevention curriculum in the prevention of addiction. Programme started in 2004 and begun to develop in seven European countries (Belgium, Spain, Austria, Italy, Germany, Greece and Sweden) and is currently expanding rapidly across Europe and beyond (Eastern Europe, Middle East, the Arab part of Africa). The programme was designed based on the model of integrated social impact and is interactive, combining life skills and normative beliefs (young people develop their thinking, ideas and values that have a significant impact media, music, friends and film, these influences are often in conflict with the values that the young learn at home or at school). The target group consists of adolescents between the ages of 12 to 14 years, since in this period some of them are experimenting drugs (particularly cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis). With the programme we want to reduce the number of adolescents who start using drugs and / or postpone the transition from drug experimentation to regular use of drugs. UTRIP is the national centre of the EU-Dap programme for Slovenia.

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More: Web page “Izstekani” (Unplugged)

»The Strengthening Families Program« (SFP)

The “Strengthening Families Program” (SFP) is an evidence-based family skills training intervention developed for high risk children of substance abusing parents and found efficacious in a four group randomized control trial for substance abuse prevention by U.S researchers in the 1980s (Kumpfer & DeMarsh 1985 a & b). In the 1990s, a cultural adaptation process was developed to transport SFP for effectiveness trials with diverse populations (African, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American). Since 2003, SFP has been culturally adapted for use in more than 20 countries producing positive outcome results similar to the original research studies. The culturally adapted versions, however, increased retention and recruitment by an average of 40% compared to a generic version (Kumpfer, Pinyuchon, de Melo, & Whiteside, 2008). The “Strengthening Families Program” (SFP) involves school-aged children (3-5, 6-11 and 12-16 years old) and their families in 14 group session of family skills training sessions that last about 2 hours. SFP uses family systems and cognitive-behavioural approaches to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioural, emotional, academic, and social problems. It builds on protective factors by: (1) improving family relationships; (2) improving parenting skills; and (3) increasing the youth’s social and life skills. SFP offers incentives for attendance, good behaviour in children, and homework completion to increase program recruitment and participation. Comparative effectiveness reviews of alcohol and drug prevention programs (Cochrane Collaboration Reviews, WHO, Foxcroft, et al., 2003, 2006; CSAP, 2008) have concluded that a family based intervention, namely “Strengthening Families Program” (SFP) was the most effective program in preventing alcohol and drug use in children and adolescents. UTRIP is a national centre for SFP in Slovenia.

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Club Health – Healthy and Safer Nightlife of Youth

Background: Nightlife plays a major role in modern life, being a critical aspect of youth recreation and a major source of employment, economic development and tourism for towns and cities. However, nightlife activities also create a wide range of health and social problems including alcohol and drug use, anti-social behaviour and crime. The development of safe nightlife environments is a growing priority throughout Europe, where town and city authorities must manage not only the recreational habits of their own youth, but also those from other countries as international tourism increases. Effectively managing nightlife settings is critical both in protecting the health of young people and reducing the burdens that night time antisocial behaviour can place on public services and society.

Project scope: The scope of the project was especially: (1) to increase the knowledge on nightlife-related problems and implementation of nightlife-related policies (including evaluation with the aim to assess the quality and effectiveness of best practices in the field or developed implementing tools (e.g. standards, training concept and city criteria) by looking at the process of implementation, the short term outputs and estimation of the long term outcomes); (2) to better target research (including identification of nightlife-related problems and effective policies in a given population (e.g. partygoers or clubbers) and development and pre-testing of an intervention and implementing tools); (3) to bring political and administrative benefit regarding effective managing nightlife settings and other nightlife-related environments; and (4) to bring benefit in the health sector by disseminating and implementing best practices and implementing tools with the aim to reduce costs in the delivery of existing services (e.g. police, inspectorates, local authorities and governments). The assessment of effectiveness of developed implementing tools and suggested good practices is a long-term goal of our network in the following years (as a part of sustainability plan of the network). The tools and good practices will help us to promote and request improvements in national and local policies, especially in the way of incorporating health and safety standards into legislation and daily practice of nightlife industry and other responsible stakeholders.

Objectives: The Club Health project, with 20 associated and 43 collaborating partners from 15 EU Member States and Norway, supports the European Commission (EC) in its public health and other related strategies to reduce the social costs and harm associated with nightlife youth risk behaviours. The project aims to reduce diseases (especially addictions and sexually transmitted infections), accidents, injuries and violence among youth with a focus on specific environments of nightlife. The project aims to facilitate more consistent implementation of strategies and laws in the field of youth risk behaviour on the one hand, and increase sensitivity of media, advertising industry and politically relevant actors (e.g. policy and decision makers) on their responsibility for action on the other. The project built on the work of the previous EC co-financed project “Recreational Culture as a Tool to Prevent Risk Behaviours”, and complemented other EC co-financed projects in the field of youth risk behaviour, including “Healthy Nightlife Toolbox” and “Democracy, Cities and Drugs II”. The objectives of the project were: (1) to consolidate, maintain and broaden the Club Health network, bringing together a wide range of institutions, researchers, professionals and nongovernmental organisations (NGO) in the field of youth risk behaviour; (2) to undertake impact assessment of implementation of strategies and laws; (3) to develop an inventory of effective evidence-based legislative and policy measures; and, (4) to build capacity at country, regional and local levels for effective implementation of legislative and policy measures through pilot trainings, workshops, seminar and conferences.

Final results: The results of the project in relation to intermediate health outcomes are improvements in healthy lifestyles of young people. This was achieved by producing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based measures focusing on reducing consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs, tobacco smoking, injuries and violence in nightlife recreational settings. With the integration of safety and health standards, staff training concept and city criteria in practice, the situation in nightlife environments will be improved significantly in relation to the present situation. In relation to health promotion outcomes, a set of project activities was planned to improve the situation with regards to networking and capacity building at the European, national, regional and local level. The project intended to empower communities in participating countries in the sense of effective prevention of youth risk behaviour in nightlife context. The community participation occurred through pilot trainings and pilot assessment in different cities. Through wider media activities the project tried to influence public opinion, which is also important for effective social action. One of the results is also the promotion of effective public health policy in relation to more consistent implementation of strategies and laws. Guidelines and recommendations for legislative and policy measures were disseminated worldwide and the sensitivity of professionals and politically relevant individuals was increased through a wide range of activities during the project. Finally, in relation to health promotion actions a set of awareness and information activities was implemented including broadcast and print media communication. A special work package was set up to increase the awareness of media representatives (journalists, editors and media owners) and advertisers on their part and responsibility for the healthy lifestyles of young people. The project has increased social mobilization (e.g. with community development and targeted mass communication etc.) and advocacy (e.g. promoting implementation of effective measures, especially at city level).

Conclusions and recommendations: The Club Health project was established to support local, national and European policymakers and practitioners to develop healthier and safer nightlife environments. The project has produced a range of resources that can be used by governments, local authorities, health professionals, police, non-governmental organisations, the nightlife industry and other parties working to protect health and promote safety in nightlife environments. Several local authorities and ministries already started to use our resources for policy improvements and several others intend to do this in the near future. The project also shows that there is a huge potential in more consistent implementation of nightlife-related strategies and law in most of our countries, especially in the field of alcohol (e.g. underage drinking), tobacco (e.g. nightlife premises are exceptions in many countries regarding smoking bans), transport (e.g. drink and driving) etc.

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European Family Empowerment (EFE)

In the period 2010-2012 UTRIP was a partner organisation in the European project “European Family Empowerment (EFE): Improving family skills in order to prevent hazardous and harmful use of alcohol and other drugs”, which involved six established institutions and organisations from six European countries (Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovenia). The project was financed by the European Commission under the “Drug Prevention and Information Programme”. This project aimed at strengthening the capacity of families to prevent drug addiction and increasing organisational capacity and synergy in cooperation with relevant institutions and NGOs. The main objective of the project was to explore and develop a variety of preventive activities of the modern European family towards the prevention of hazardous and harmful use of alcohol and other drugs by their children and adolescents. In this project we investigated and identified the circumstances and conditions, which will be used to strengthen the skills of those families and parents to facilitate or face the risk behaviour of their children. We prepared recommendations and guidelines based on evidence and analysis of family skills to parents and civil society organisations (e.g. teaching staff, organisations, leisure organizations, etc.). We will continue to promote the strengthening of capabilities and capacities of families in the prevention of risk behaviour of children and to encourage networking between families as an innovative method of prevention.

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AMPHORA (“Alcohol Measures for Public Health Alliance”)

AMPHORA, a 4-year, €4million project co-financed by the 7th framework programme of research of the European Commission in the period of 2009-2012 with 33 partner organizations from 14 European countries, aimed to add European knowledge across a wide range of public health alcohol policy measures, and to disseminate this knowledge to those engaged in making policy. By enhancing cooperation among researchers and advancing research in Europe AMPHORA provided new scientific evidence for the best public health measures to reduce the harm done by alcohol. The aims of the project were: (1) to create a European Alcohol Policy Research Alliance; (2) to evaluate the cost effectiveness of policy measures; (3) to analyse the alcohol policy related infrastructures; (4) to measure exposure of young people to alcohol marketing and examine how this relates to drinking behaviour two years later; (4) to analyse pricing and availability of alcohol; (5) to evaluate public health impact and policy implications of early identification and management; (6) to analyse drinking environments and alcohol-related harm; (7) to reduce the harm from surrogate and illegally produced alcohol; (8) to analyse public perceptions of alcohol related harm; (9) to develop a scale to measure the comprehensiveness and integration of public health measures to reduce the harm done by alcohol; (10) to translate science to policy through expert meetings, conference, publications, database, website etc. AMPHORA was coordinated by the Hospital Clinico i Provincial de Barcelona (HCPB) in Spain.

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ALICE RAP (»Addictions and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Project«)

ALICE RAP (Addiction and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Project) is a five year European research project, co-financed by the European Commission that brings together over 100 scientists from more than 25 countries and 29 different disciplines. It aims to strengthen scientific evidence to inform the public and political dialogue and to stimulate a broad and productive debate on current and alternative approaches to addictions. The project is divided into seven areas and twenty one work packages (three in each area), making up an integrated multidisciplinary research strategy. In addition, two specialist consultation groups will input to the direction and work of the project as a whole: (1) A media and communications advisory group will be consulted and oversee the provision of public information. Blogs and websites will make all the findings generated in the project available in real-time, providing spaces for continuous public input; (2) A global science group, brings together renowned scientists from around the world, to embed the project in a global context and enable a global overview of the governance of addictions, providing relevant comment and input of other related initiatives, societal trends in relation to governance and public policy responses that are going on outside Europe.

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»Online Self-Harm Support for Youth«

The six organisations involved in the project were YouthNet (UK), Cyberhus (Denmark), Associazione Photofficine Onlus (Italy), UTRIP (Slovenia), Depaul UK and 42nd Street (UK). A two-year project was co-funded by the Daphne III Programme of the European Union. Partners launched a Good Practice Guide by practitioners for practitioners providing a ground-breaking framework on how to support young people who self-harm through online and online peer support services. Beyond the cultural differences characterising the four countries, the research identified many similarities in the way young people self-harm and seek help. This has allowed us to develop a framework which is adaptable across boundaries. There is an urgency to develop innovative support services on self-harm, because practitioners have not yet found the right way to reach young people who self-harm: around one in 15 young people in Denmark, Italy, Slovenia and the UK self-harm but yet only a minority of them seek support. By creating services which are adapted to the channels young people already use when looking for support and information, practitioners can break down these barriers. 93% of 16-24-year-olds in Europe use the internet, also to find information on sensitive issues such as self-harm. Similarly, peer have an important role to play: once young people have taken the decision to disclose something personal, they are much more likely to talk to their peers about their self-harm as opposed to adults. The six organisations involved in the project recognised the potential of the internet and peers in supporting young people who self-harm and have developed innovative services of online and online peers support. The project reached more than 50.000 young people across the four countries through a variety of online services as articles, Q&As, discussion forums and online counselling. Through a thorough evaluation of the projects, the research found that online services can really help to overcome the barriers young people face when looking for support on their self-harm.

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Good practive guide: Link to PDF


The number of people with a difficult social background who don’t have any kind of formation or who hardly find a job in their first profession increases more and more. Adult education shall give a chance to these people to get further training and thus further qualification. However, the experiences from the partners’ countries show that offers of adult education and life-long learning are predominantly used by adults who already have a certain level of education. Especially socially unprivileged persons have rarely access to these offers and often have difficulties to successfully accomplish it. For this target group, the lack of social and personal competences can be a barrier. Beside technical and methodological skills, social and personal skills are basic key competences of adults and important pre-conditions for the access and the successful accomplishment of any kind of formal and informal education. Furthermore they are essential for the development and consolidation of an own social and cultural identity and they are seen as important protectors against harmful and addictive behaviour. The situation in the partners’ countries shows that these basic skills are rarely part of the curricula of adult education and that there are no offers for adults to train these skills effectively in a protective learning environment. The project aims on filling this gap. The project partners brought in the expertise from different work fields: they combine experiences with the target group of socially unprivileged persons, experiences with adult education and experiences of promoting social and personal skills in the context of health promotion and drug prevention.

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There was a little knowledge of risk behaviours (relating to drug use, sexuality, aggression, driving), their interrelationship with weekend entertainment, and their determinants. It is essential to know how risk behaviours are influenced by the recreational setting (physical and cultural). Preventive actions to date are sporadic; are not based on evidence and not evaluated. The objective of the project was to progress towards a professional conception of prevention in these spheres through the creation of instruments to analyse, diagnose and evaluate risk behaviours, the recreational settings and their mutual influence. The project involved eight European countries with different geo-cultural realities. Intrapersonal, interpersonal, cultural and environmental determinants were being considered. Multidisciplinary teams reviewed, adapted and applied ethnographical and epidemiological research-action methods (social marketing and dynamic social impact theory) to ascertain, diagnose and intervene in risk behaviours and recreational settings, with particular emphasis on social networks. The work introduced youth and the recreation industry professionals, the targets of the study, in the design. Instruments and guidelines (manuals) were created for the study, analysis, diagnosis and evaluation of risk behaviours in recreational settings. A database was created, in addition to one with critical comments on existing practices. As knowledge was acquired, guidelines and other orientations were established on how to intervene in prevention taking into account the diversity of settings and cultural realities. Diffusion of results was continual during the project. Manuals, instruments, reports and data were published and posted on the web in language of each associated partner in addition to scientific publications and at professional meetings.  

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STEPS is an acronym of the European project, which was implemented under the 7th Framework Programme under the financial auspices of the European Commission with a longer name “Strengthening Engagement and Public Health Research”, strengthening the integration of public health research. Project was led by UCL (University College London), Crisis Centre Skalbes from Riga (Latvia) and EUPHA office (European Public Health Association) from Utrecht (Netherlands) which invited 12 national organizations from 12 new EU member states active in the field of public health. The project aimed to find answers to contemporary challenges in health, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness, accidents and dependency. To better understand the importance of research in public health in each country and to develop a single strategy of research for the whole of Europe, the project partners brought together representatives of civil society organizations, researchers and representatives of governmental institutions. The project invited also partners from Slovenia (Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia and UTRIP). Slovenian partners selected theme of risk and harmful alcohol consumption, which is a major public health problem in Slovenia.

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Trainings and seminars

In addition to these projects we have and we will carry out numerous trainings and seminars on the topic of youth risk behaviour, education for parenthood, self-harm, eating disorders, addictions, etc. UTRIP also organises study visits for different stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, local authorities).

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Help and advice on how to get European funds

In addition to all these activities, UTRIP also engages with the help and advice on how to get European funds. UTRIP mostly helps and advices NGOs and non-profit foundations.

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