Harm Reduction in Schools. Why Not?

In this article, Jose López-Guerrero and Claudio Vidal Giné from ABD – Energy Control (Spain) provide their opinions on harm reduction programmes within the school setting. 

It seems like a century ago, but the last Harm Reduction International Conference, held in Porto in April 2019, welcomed the words of Michelle Bachelet, the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile. In her speech [1], she listed in a convincing way the benefits of drug policies framed within a well-being and health-oriented harm reduction perspective regarding people who use drugs. Opioid substitution treatment, syringe exchange programmes or drug consumption rooms have shown their effectiveness and usefulness where they have been applied and well-funded. However, harm reduction adapted to educational contexts is far from the implementation and recognition shown by previous schemes. Continue reading

The public health impact of Covid-19 beyond infection

In this article, Professor Maria Rosaria Galanti from Karolinska Institute provides her opinion on the adverse consequences of Covid-19. 

Everyone knows what a pandemic is, but few of us have been witnessing one like that caused by the SARS -COV-2 virus.

Unprecedented because of the virus: elusive, devastating, a multifaceted killer when it kills. With many “perhaps” in its natural history: “perhaps” eliciting humoral immunity; “perhaps” transmitted only through airways emissions; “perhaps” infecting only during the early symptomatic stage… Continue reading

A European prevention registry? Xchange: the story of a fruitful EMCDDA & EUSPR collaboration

In this blog article, Charlotte De Kock, researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and member of the Xchange Prevention Registry is presenting the story of this unique European registry of evidence-based prevention interventions.

It’s been two years now since I’m involved in the development and maintenance of the Xchange prevention registry. This experience enabled me to work with a team of people who have decades of experience and expertise in drug prevention. But what is the Xchange prevention registry exactly, and what did we realise in these last couple of years?

What is Xchange?

The European Xchange Prevention Registry was officially established in 2017. Xchange is an online registry of European, evidence-based prevention interventions. It is updated approximately twice a year with new programmes and feedback from implementers (schools, public health institutes, etc.). Continue reading

Volunteer and healthy ageing: the case of mentoring disadvantaged youth

In this blog, Dr. Giovanni Aresi and Dr. Raven H. Weaver will discuss the societal benefits of volunteering among older adults, specifically reflecting on being a mentor for disadvantaged youth. Although mentoring has been considered as a positive youth development intervention, there has been much less attention on the effects on older volunteer mentors’ well-being.

Healthy ageing as a key priority for our society

Individuals are living longer than ever before, posing a challenge in respect of increased risk of developing physical and mental illness, but also creating new opportunities for older adults to remain socially engaged with and contribute to society. The WHO defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age”.1 Having the capacity to remain engaged allows for lifelong learning, growth, agency/decision-making, and development of relationships – all of which contribute to society. Continue reading

  1. World Health Organization. Ageing and life-course. Available from: https://www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/. []

COVID-19: the global pan(dem)ic and reflections on a prevention science response

Currently, the COVID-19 outbreak is having a firm grip on the global population. To restrict further spread and increase preventive measures across the population, prevention science is called upon to complement medical actions. Being an interdisciplinary research field, prevention science comprises multiple perspectives that are coming together to strengthen resilience in crisis. Three of them (health psychology, communication science, implementation science) will be highlighted to underscore their potential for responding to this global challenge. Continue reading

How do we become scientists? A tale on abduction

Maria Rosaria Galanti is Professor in Public Health Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. In this article, she provides an interesting opinion on the intellectual qualities of scientists. Are there good and bad scientists? Read on to find out Professor’s Galanti opinion.

When I was five years old, I declared the adult world (i.e. my mom, dad, and my grandmother) that I would become a medical doctor. Which I eventually did. But if anyone would have said at that stage (or even much, much later) that I would have become a respected researcher I would have twisted my mouth (“What is that”?). The thing is: I wasn’t born to be a scientist. I do not even know if anyone ever was. Ending in professional research is a process rarely starting at early age (thanks god!). Continue reading

Impressions of the EUSPR 2019 Conference by the Early Career Forum

This year, the 10th conference and Members’ Meeting of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) was held in Ghent, Belgium from September 16th to 18th. Overall, it was a wonderful conference in a timeless venue, with lovely weather, good food, and edifying sessions and presentations. The conversations with our colleagues from Europe and from several non-European countries were inspiring and united a variety of disciplines in the area of prevention.

The Early Careers Forum that consists of early career researchers interested in prevention science, was particularly well represented at this year’s conference. Continue reading

Responding to complex needs of young people who access substance use services in the criminal justice system

In this blog, Dr Helen Gleeson offers interesting insights on the needs of young people with a have a history of substance use who come into contact with the criminal justice system in the UK. Curious? Read on.

In the UK, many young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system have some history of substance use. Most of these young people will be ordered by the police or the courts to attend a mandatory substance use program as part of their sentence or caution. Unsurprisingly, it can be difficult to engage this group in a program that they are attending in order to avoid criminal sanctions (e.g. a custodial sentence). As part of the EPPIC (Exchanging Prevention practices on Polydrug use among youth In Criminal justice systems) project, research teams have been collecting qualitative interview data from young people and professionals in substance use intervention and criminal justice settings in six European countries (UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Austria). In the UK, I was part of a research team that interviewed 38 young people and 25 professionals from youth offending teams (YOTs), community services, children’s services and third sector organisations who offer substance use services to young people both in and outside of the criminal justice system. Continue reading

Policy reform towards implementing harm reduction in Nigeria

In this blog, Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo takes a critical look at the implementation of harm reduction measures to address the health risks related to injection drug use in Nigeria.

Despite the fact that there are numerous strong global proofs that support harm reduction strategies1,2, the coverage, adoption and implementation for people who inject drugs (PWID) is poor and Nigeria is not an exception to this. PWID constitute a considerable quota of people at-risk in Nigeria and 20% of people who use drugs are injecting drugs3. It has been reported that the most common drugs injected were pharmaceutical opioids, followed by cocaine and heroin. In Nigeria, the level of risky injecting practices and risky sexual behaviors among PWID is worrisome3. Particularly, women who inject drugs are more prone to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors compared to the male counterpart which further catalyze their risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV among other infections. This problem is doubly compounded by the criminalization of drug use and the non-adoption of evidence-based harm reduction strategies in the country. Continue reading

  1. Degenhardt, L., Mathers, B., Vickerman, P., Rhodes, T., Latkin, C., & Hickman, M. (2010). Prevention of HIV infection for people who inject drugs: Why individual, structural and combination approaches are needed. Lancet; 376:285–301. []
  2. MacArthur, G., Minozzi, S., Martin, N., Vickerman, P., Deren, S., Bruneau, J., et al. (2012). Opiate substitution treatment and HIV transmission in people who inject drugs: Systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal; 345:e5945. []
  3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018). Drug use in Nigeria 2018. Available from http://www.unodc.org/documents/nigeria//Drug_Use_Survey_Nigeria_2019_BOOK.pdf. Accessed: 10/08/2019 []

The first ever EUSPR-ECF webinar

In this blog post, Laura Castillo-Eito, PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield (UK)  shares with us the experience of the first webinar of the EUSPR Early Career Forum.

Technology! We are surrounded by it: computers, smartphones, tablets… We use technology every day in our private life and, if you are a researcher or a practitioner, you are likely to use it every day for your work. I know I do, and I could not imagine doing research without it. I don’t know how they did it before!

As prevention researchers and practitioners, we use technology and the Internet for a range of different things and technology could be used to deliver affordable training to everyone’s office and house. Some institutions have done it for years but others are still reluctant. I can proudly say that the European Society for Prevention Research Early Careers Forum (EUSPR-ECF) -host of this blog- has recently started to offer some online training. Continue reading