Handbook on Quality Standards for Interventions Aimed at Drug Experienced Young People in Contact with Criminal Justice Systems

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Executive Summary

As one of the objectives of the European Health Programme project “Exchanging Prevention practices on Polydrug use among youth in Criminal justice systems” (EPPIC), the present handbook of quality standards was produced to help practitioners improve the quality of interventions targeting drug experienced young people in contact with Criminal Justice Systems (CJS).

The handbook presents a set of ten quality standards as follows:

  1. Interventions targeting drug use among young people in contact with CJS are evidence-informed and assessed for effectiveness.
  2. Governing structures and processes are in place to ensure the delivery of high-quality interventions.
  3. Screening and assessment for drug use among young people in contact with CJS are undertaken as part of a comprehensive assessment.
  4. Young people´s multiple vulnerabilities and complex needs are at the centre of interventions and are effectively addressed.
  5. An appropriate bundle of intervention options is provided.
  6. Continuity of care within and between services and community interventions is ensured.
  7. Young people´s participation in designing and implementing an intervention is promoted and ensured as far as possible at every stage of intervention.  
  8. Equity and non-discrimination are ensured within interventions targeting drug use among young people in contact with CJS. 
  9. Practitioners demonstrate professional competence. 
  10. Practitioners respect ethical principles and professional codes of practice.

Although this handbook is primarily directed towards practitioners, it is relevant to policymakers and planners as well. The problem of drug use by young people in contact with CJS cannot be tackled by single interventions alone; it must be managed by appropriate social, health, educational, and criminal justice policies that establish a supportive framework and ensure close cooperation of all relevant sectors, well-defined roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders and adequate provision of funding and resources.