ISSUP UK Concludes First INEP Plus Course

On 4 June 2024, ISSUP UK concluded its first Introduction to Evidence-Based Prevention (INEP) Plus course, a collaborative effort between the University of West London, ISSUP UK, ISSUP Global, and Charles University (CUNI) in Prague, who developed the course material. 

The course aimed to introduce the theory, practice, and evaluation of problematic substance use prevention. It emphasised the importance of adopting strategies tailored to different developmental stages (children, adolescents, adults) and various contexts (schools, families, communities, workplaces, media). Central to the course were the principles and science underpinning the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) and the UNODC/WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.

Effective prevention interventions must be delivered by professionals equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills. The 9 x 2 hour facilitated online sessions were facilitated by Assoc. Prof. Raffaella Margherita Milani (University of West London), Dr Luisa Perrino, Senior Lecturer at Roehampton University, and Isobel Hoppe, a Psychology Graduate from UWL.

Fifteen professionals from diverse backgrounds completed the course, including those from drug education and prevention, drug treatment services, mental health services, neurodiversity specialists, LGBTQ network representatives, academics, public health experts, and addiction consultants. This diversity fostered stimulating and thought-provoking discussions. Participants provided positive and encouraging feedback, highlighting the interactive nature of the course. Comments included: "I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting like-minded people" and "I learned different perspectives from people working in different sectors."

One participant remarked that the course made him aware that "prevention requires a multi-level approach (teachers, parents, community, etc.)." Another added that "the course encouraged us to broaden our provision for young people, exploring different places that they occupy." The group also recognised the importance of robust evaluation and the use of evidence-based approaches.

The evaluation of the course and lessons learned will be presented at the Thessaloniki ISSUP conference on 28 June 2024. We hope this is just the beginning of a broader initiative to enhance substance use prevention education and practice.