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Home > Guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction in the European Union by civil society organisations (CSOs).

Institute for Research and Development 'Utrip', IREFREA, Ana Liffey Drug Project, Civil Society Forum on Drugs. (2020) Guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction in the European Union by civil society organisations (CSOs). Amsterdam: Civil Society Forum on Drugs.

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In September 2015, the Council of the European Union adopted Council conclusions on the implementation of minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction in the EU. This innovative initiative lists 16 standards that represent a minimum benchmark of quality for interventions in: prevention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, social integration and rehabilitation. Although non-binding for national governments, this document represents the political will of EU countries to address demand reduction interventions through an evidence-based perspective. These guidelines have been drawn up in the context of Action 9 of the EU action plan on drugs (2013–2016). 

In 2014, the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) prepared and published the thematic paper on the EU minimum quality standards for drug demand reduction. The paper presents the context in which the EU Member States as well as candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership are recommended to promote and enforce the minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction and provides a brief overview of associated issues and opportunities for consideration (including assessment and evaluation of the implementation of standards). Since then, the CSFD has operated a working group on minimum quality standards, and the work of this group is enhanced by the CSFD project, co-funded by the European Commission under the Justice Programme (Drug Policy Initiatives). Work under this aspect of the project is led by the Institute ‘Utrip’ from Slovenia and IREFREA Spain, and is carried out with the input of the members of the working group of the CSFD and with the broader CSFD membership. Objectives under the project in this area are as follows:

  1. to promote the implementation of minimum quality Standards in EU member states (advocacy), and,
  2. to improve knowledge and skills among CSOs on how to Implement minimum quality standards on the national level. 

To facilitate this, work under this work package has:

  1. Developed an assessment tool to allow CSOs to monitor and assess implementation of minimum quality standards in their own countries and organizations. The initial 16 drug demand reduction standards have been broken down into 52 sub-standards, 64 questions and 222 assessment indicators (excluding nondefined indicators, e.g. other). The online tool works as a self-assessment tool with automatic feedback of results (using traffic light system rating).
  2. Developed a method of examining the feasibility of implementation of minimum quality standards among CSOs. The feasibility tool was incorporated in assessment tool and includes additional 52 questions and 144 feasibility indicators. 

During the process of tool testing, we received more than 100 inputs from diverse CSOs across Europe representing different areas of work (prevention, risk and harm reduction, social integration, rehabilitation and recovery). However, following data review, only 46 of them were selected as eligible for further analysis and inclusion in the written feasibility study. 

The assessment tool is available at the following link: http://self-assessment.institut-utrip.si/index.php/71231?lang=en

The feasibility study is available on the CSFD website at: http://www.civilsocietyforumondrugs.eu/tf4-working-group-on-quality-standards-in-drug-policy/ 

Building on the insights gained from the assessment tool and feasibility study, the CSFD has now developed this guidelines and recommendations document. The aims of these guidelines and recommendations are to help and support CSOs working in the drug demand reduction field to:

  1. assess and implement their interventions according to these standards
  2. identify potential barriers for incorporation; and
  3. assess the potential need to provide training for practitioners and developers in the drug demand reduction field in line with these standards

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