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practice guidelines
quality standards

Implementing quality standards for drug services and systems: a six-step guide to support quality assurance


This short document aims to provide a summary of the main issues that people engaged in the implementation of quality standards in the area of drug demand reduction need to consider. There are many sources of more detailed information and guidance on implementing standards. This guide seeks not to duplicate or replace them but instead to act as an introduction, providing links to the wider literature and presenting the key issues for those planning and managing these processes. Further reading and sources of more detailed information are provided at the end of this guide. There is also no single correct way to implement quality assurance processes, and the choice of approach depends on many factors, including timing, objectives and the availability of resources.

This publication is designed to assist people in choosing the best approach to suit
their circumstances and to maximise the value of any quality assurance initiative. More
concretely, it aims to provide a practical introduction to the area of quality standards and
quality assurance mechanisms and the key steps involved in their implementation in
drug services and systems. Starting with an introduction to quality standards and their
role in the broader area of quality assurance processes, the guide then presents in more
detail six important steps to be considered by those intending to use and implement
quality standards whether at the local, regional or national level. These reflection steps are
based on public health intervention models, building on diagnosis, intervention selection,
assessment and evaluation, and also draw on the model promoted in Health and social
responses to drug problems: a European guide (EMCDDA, 2017a) and Evaluating drug
policy: a seven-step guide to support the commissioning and managing of evaluations
(EMCDDA, 2017b).

While the primary audience for this guide is those responsible for commissioning, planning
or providing quality assurance processes at the national or local level, it may also be of
interest to recipients of interventions, service users or advocacy groups.

Download as PDF

Visit the document webpage on the EMCDDA website.


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