Home > Registries for quality in prevention – Xchange and Healthy Nightlife Toolbox.

Dillon, Lucy (2021) Registries for quality in prevention – Xchange and Healthy Nightlife Toolbox. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 78, Summer 2021, pp. 32-33.

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As previously outlined in Drugnet Ireland, the Best Practice Portal of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is designed to help practitioners find practical and reliable information on what works (and what does not) in the areas of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and social reintegration.1 It aims to support these stakeholders to identify tried and tested interventions quickly, allocate resources to what is effective, and improve interventions applying tools, standards, and guidelines. As part of the portal, the EMCDDA hosts and maintains the Xchange prevention registry2 and the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox (HNT).3 Stakeholders can use these registries to make evidence-based decisions about effective interventions.


As discussed in the article on the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) on page 27 in this publication, the Council conclusions on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013–2016 regarding minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction in the European Union4 were adopted in 2015 by the Council of the European Union (EU). Among the standards adopted was that professionals have access to knowledge on effective drug demand reduction interventions. While there is a growing evidence base of what works, this often is not reflected in the interventions funded and delivered across Europe. The EMCDDA notes that ‘access to evidence-based prevention programmes is still limited and they remain under-utilised compared to prevention strategies with no empirical evidence for effectiveness’.5 The Xchange registry and the HNT aim to address
this problem. 

Xchange prevention registry

Xchange is an online registry of evidence-based prevention interventions that aims to provide stakeholders with access to the evidence needed to make better decisions about which interventions to fund and implement. It includes:

  • Manualised interventions for which European evaluation studies have shown beneficial outcomes relating to substance use as well as programmes for youth offending and bullying. 
  • Environmental prevention interventions, which are strategies that target the contexts for behaviour by changing the prompts and cues that guide behaviour. The purpose of environmental prevention policies and interventions is to limit the availability of unhealthy or risky behaviour opportunities or to promote the availability of healthy opportunities.

For each intervention on the registry there is:

  • Information on the effectiveness of the programme/intervention from their evaluation(s) 
  • Information on the experiences of professionals who have implemented the programmes/interventions in Europe. The aim of this second strand is to help decision-makers assess the ease with which the approach could be implemented in different social, cultural, and organisational contexts.

Examples of Irish-delivered manualised programmes registered on Xchange and rated as ‘likely to be beneficial’ are: Good Behaviour Game; Functional Family Therapy; and Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme.

Healthy Nightlife Toolbox

Much like Xchange, the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox (HNT) provides evidence to support local, regional, and national policymakers and prevention workers in their decision-making about which interventions to select to help reduce harm among young people from alcohol and drug use in nightlife settings. At its core are three databases: evaluated interventions, literature on these interventions, and other literature within the field of nightlife alcohol and drug prevention. No Irish projects have been logged on the database to date. Interventions covered include pill testing, training for staff and professionals, legislative measures, and education for nightlife users.

Getting your intervention included

If you are a stakeholder who thinks an intervention you are involved with should be included on either of these registries, you can access more information on doing so.

If they do not qualify, they can access an implementation toolbox which combines didactical elements with training tools and guidelines to help them make their interventions ready for inclusion in Xchange and fitter for real-life use: https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/best-practice/xchange/implementation-toolbox 

Alternatively, stakeholders can send an email to: HNT@emcdda.europa.eu

1   Dillon L (2021) EMCDDA Best Practice Portal. Drugnet Ireland, 76 (Winter): 13–14.

2   Further information on Xchange is available online at:

3   Further information on HNT is available online at: http://www.hntinfo.eu/

4   Council of the European Union (2015) Council conclusions on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013–2016 regarding minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction in the European Union. 11985/15. Brussels: Council of the European Union. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/24317/

5   European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) (2021) About the Xchange prevention registry. Lisbon: EMCDDA. Available online at:

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