Following a Mediterranean conference in Malta in 1999, the magnitude of the drug problem in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon was explored in the region as part of the Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD).
This project, which is a modified version of ESPAD in Europe, was launched in Rabat in 2003 and provides an overview of drug use among young people in schools in the Mediterranean region and their attitudes towards drugs.
MedSPAD school surveys have been carried out in the following countries:
- Algeria (2016)
- Egypt (2016, 2020)
- Lebanon (2008, 2022)
- Morocco (2009, 2013, 2017, 2021)
- Tunisia (2013, 2017, 2021 (French version))
The MedSPAD Committee was set up following the proposal made at a 2012 seminar in Rabat on the use of drug research in policies in the Mediterranean region.
The objective of the MedSPAD Committee is to share experiences among the countries that have conducted a MedSPAD survey, to gather information on the prevalence of substance use among adolescents and to use the findings to shape drug policy.
The first annual meeting of the MedSPAD Committee took place in 2014.
- Guidelines for the Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD):
P-PG/Med (2021) 8
- Validity and reliability of school surveys based on the European ESPAD methodology in Algeria, Libya and Morocco (MEDSPAD pilot school survey project):
P-PG/Med (2004) 2
ESPAD – MedSPAD
European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD)
ESPAD is an independent research project supported by EMCDDA and conducted by research teams in more than 40 European countries. ESPAD has the overall aim to collect comparable data on substance use and other forms of risk behaviour among 15- to 16-year-old students in order to monitor trends within, as well as between, countries. Between 1995 and 2019, seven waves of data collection were conducted across 49 European countries. ESPAD website : www.espad.org
Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (MedSPAD)
The MedSPAD project is set up designed and funded by the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe. This project, which is an adaptation of ESPAD in Europe, was launched in Rabat in 2003 and it is aimed at building capacity and develop effective tools for monitoring youth substance use and risk behaviours in countries of the Southern Mediterranean region. MedSPAD school surveys have been carried out in the following countries: Algeria (2016); Egypt (2016, 2020); Lebanon (2008); Morocco (2009, 2013, 2017, 2021); Tunisia (2013, 2017, 2021).
ESPAD-MedSPAD bridge project
The ESPAD-MedSPAD bridge project is an initiative aimed at assessing the use of school surveys in policy and prevention planning and evaluation across more than 40 countries in the European and Mediterranean regions.
The project was launched within the framework of MedNET in 2022. It is supported by the EMCDDA and carried out under the scientific lead of the Italian Research Council (CNR).
More than 250 experts among policymakers, policy experts in prevention and harm-reduction and scientists conducting or using school surveys gave their contribution.
The report on the use of school surveys in policy and prevention planning and evaluation: Results of the 2022 ESPAD-MedSPAD Bridge project shows that school surveys are frequently used not only for monitoring and research, but also for informing health decision making and public opinion. There is a strong demand for more, and more frequent data, as well as for increased investment in these studies, suggesting that school surveys represent an added value and yield benefits to the community, in particular in reaching the final objective of protecting and improving the health and well-being of adolescents.
The report is available here.
The first regional MedSPAD report (2015) on the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and drug use among adolescents covers data from nine countries: Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Malta, Portugal and Tunisia. It presents data from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in a single document.
The second report (2017), covering 12 countries, focuses on the prevalence of the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and medication with and without medical prescription.
The third report, published in 2019, follows up on the work featured in the 2017 report and provides an insight into the perceived availability, early onset and prevalence of substance use among adolescents, as well as its socio-economic and policy context in the Mediterranean region. For this report, thirteen countries provided raw data from their national surveys: Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia.
The fourth report (2022), This publication presents new data from 11 Mediterranean countries on school -age youths’ interactions with selected substances and behaviours. It examins early-onset behaviours, perceived substance availability and the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, high-risk cannabis and other drug use, along with – as a newly added highlight- gambling, gaming and social media. This is the first time such a data set has been compiled and analysed in this way.