This literature review provides background on what is meant by prevention and education and discusses the evidence base. The evidence of effectiveness for different approaches used in schools and other components necessary for effective drug prevention and education in schools is presented. The effectiveness of drug education and prevention beyond the school setting is then considered, alongside the evidence to support peer led interventions and specific programmes for vulnerable young people. Specific manualised and licensed prevention programmes are considered and some of the issues and challenges involved in implementing these programmes in different contexts is discussed. The evidence for ineffective approaches to drug prevention is highlighted and lastly recommendations from the literature for policy makers are set out, alongside some thoughts on the implications of this review for drug education and prevention in Scotland, in particular the need to map prevention activity for young people being delivered in Scotland.
Since the publication of this literature review, it has been brought to the author’s attention that the claim made on page 16, that the programme CLIMATE demonstrated adverse effects with regards to marijuana use - as stated in the Cochrane review of Universal school-based prevention for illicit drug use - has been contested. The accuracy of this claim is being followed up with the authors of the Cochrane review and will be removed if this is found to be an error.