"Families, lifestyles and drugs- reaching families in prevention"

Conference, Porto 19-20 November 2007

Over 130 experts and professionals in drug prevention and social work from 22 countries have attended the CoE Pompidou Group conference on involving families in prevention hosted on 19-20 November 2007 by the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction of Portugal in Porto under the auspices of the Portuguese EU Presidency.

The conference titled "Families, lifestyles and drugs- reaching families in prevention" aimed at identifying barriers to successful involvement of families, providing insights into social and cultural context of involving families, developing new ways of prevention work, sharing practice and experience as well as proposing future actions. Conference participants were divided into 4 working groups: targeting vulnerable groups, universal prevention, working with migrant communities, and 21st century lifestyles.

Some conclusions of the groups are:

- effective prevention programmes cannot be implemented without involvement of school, family and community and clear definition of responsibilities of all stakeholders;
- dysfunctional families could be a victim of drug abuse as well as a cause of drug abuse and approaches to such families should vary accordingly;
- cultural differences must be taken into account when prevention programmes are developed, for example preventive interventions among migrant communities must be local and aim at specific target groups;
- new technologies provide with promising ways of reaching wide audiences but should be use in combination with other preventive methods.

Participants of the conference were given an overview of the current practices in involving families in prevention, examples of prevention projects targeting vulnerable groups, suggestions on use of new technology in prevention as well as advises on evaluation of prevention interventions and use of social marketing techniques health issues campaigns. The proceedings of the conference will be available in February 2008. As an outcome of the conference, the Prevention Platform of the Pompidou Group will consider two pilot projects: television format that communicates drug prevention messages; range of prevention activities that could be delivered to families in leisure theme parks.

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Life skills programme

The World Health Organisation defines the notion "lifeskills" as "abilities of adaptive and positive behaviour which allow a person to adequately communicate with every-day life".

The Worl Health Organisation suggests that the following lifeskills be included in the programme of training in lifeskills:

-making decisions and solving problems; -creative and critical thinking; -communicative and interpersonal relations; -self-determination and sympathy; restraining emotions and work with stress.
Presenters

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