Patricia Ros

Patricia Ros

Regional Director for Spain and Latin America in Planet Youth ehf. 

Clinical Psychologist by the University of Barcelona and Master in Group Analytical Psychotherapy and Organizations by the University of Deusto 

Responsible for the Municipal Service of Prevention of Addictions from the year 2000 until June 2018. 

She is co-founder of the Perifèrics network, formed by entities and public administrations that work in the field of prevention throughout Catalonia. 



Environmental Prevention: A paradigm shift?

It is in the early 2000s that it becomes clear that a new element in prevention, complementary to the previous ones, based on accumulated experience, when it was discovered that an excellent way to prevent drug use is through normative changes. That is, through laws and regulations we can achieve very important changes in the health of citizens, thereby achieving a high level of prevention of problem behaviours, especially on the subject of legal and illegal drugs.

The article by Gregor Burkhart (2011) is well known. "environmental prevention strategies are aimed at altering the immediate cultural, social, physical and economic environments in which people do their choices about drug use ”(p. 89).

Reviews such as those by Steinberg (2008) have shown that adolescents have enough information about drugs. But still many consume them and do so in the presence of their peers in group contexts. Given that the weight of biological, emotional, psychological and social factors in adolescence guide their behaviour, it is necessary to implement actions of another type, environmental actions.

It is assumed in this case that the best way to change the behaviour is to change the context where it is carried out (Stern, 2005).

Thus, universal prevention for children and adolescents must change the paradigm. We must stop targeting minors and adolescents through persuasion strategies and focus on the contexts in which they develop and grow. If these contexts are safer and healthier, the chances for minors and adolescents to make healthier decisions will increase exponentially.


Universal Prevention, Day 3, Track 1, 13:30-15:00

Presented as part of the Uniting the global community to face the challenge of addiction event, in-person on 14th May, 2022 Presentations: Evolution of Community-based Peer Led Intervention for prevention of substance use among children...