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Drug misuse prevention

About

What is covered

This interactive flowchart covers targeted interventions to prevent misuse of drugs, including illegal drugs, 'legal highs' and prescription-only medicines. It aims to prevent or delay harmful use of drugs in children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally.
This interactive flowchart does not cover broader activities, both population-level (universal) and targeted, that aim to build people's skills, resilience and ability to make positive decisions about their health and which address the wider determinants of health. For more information, see the NICE guidance on lifestyle and wellbeing.
For information on the treatment of drug misuse, see what NICE says on drug misuse management in over 16s.

Updates

Your responsibility

Guidelines

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is not mandatory and does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the interactive flowchart to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Technology appraisals

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the recommendations to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Medical technologies guidance, diagnostics guidance and interventional procedures guidance

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account. However, the interactive flowchart does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the recommendations, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Person-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Short Text

Everything NICE has said on drug misuse prevention for children, young people and adults in an interactive flowchart

What is covered

This interactive flowchart covers targeted interventions to prevent misuse of drugs, including illegal drugs, 'legal highs' and prescription-only medicines. It aims to prevent or delay harmful use of drugs in children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally.
This interactive flowchart does not cover broader activities, both population-level (universal) and targeted, that aim to build people's skills, resilience and ability to make positive decisions about their health and which address the wider determinants of health. For more information, see the NICE guidance on lifestyle and wellbeing.
For information on the treatment of drug misuse, see what NICE says on drug misuse management in over 16s.

Sources

NICE guidance and other sources used to create this interactive flowchart.

Quality standards

Quality statements

Effective interventions library

Effective interventions library

Successful effective interventions library details

Implementation

NICE has produced resources to help implement its guidance on:

Pathway information

Your responsibility

Guidelines

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is not mandatory and does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the interactive flowchart to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Technology appraisals

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this interactive flowchart is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the recommendations to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Medical technologies guidance, diagnostics guidance and interventional procedures guidance

The recommendations in this interactive flowchart represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account. However, the interactive flowchart does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the recommendations, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

Person-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Supporting information

Groups at risk of drug misuse, including:
  • people who have mental health problems
  • people who are being sexually exploited or sexually assaulted
  • people involved in commercial sex work
  • people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
  • people not in employment, education or training (including children and young people who are excluded from school or who truant regularly)
  • children and young people whose carers or families use drugs
  • children and young people who are looked after or care leavers
  • children and young people who are in contact with young offender teams but not in secure environments (prisons and young offender institutions)
  • people who are considered homeless
  • people who attend nightclubs and festivals
  • people who are known to use drugs occasionally or recreationally.

Glossary

people aged 25 or under who have been looked after by a local authority for at least 13 weeks since age 14, and who were looked after by the local authority at school leaving age or after that date
any drug that is described in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, as well as new psychoactive substances (often described as 'legal highs'), solvents, volatile substances, image- and performance-enhancing drugs, prescription-only medicines and over-the-counter medicines
any drugs that are described in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, as well as new psychoactive substances (often described as 'legal highs'), solvents, volatile substances, image- and performance-enhancing drugs, prescription-only medicines and over-the-counter medicines
dependence on, or regular excessive consumption of, psychoactive substances, leading to physical, mental or social problems; it does not refer to occasional or experimental drug use
dependence on, or regular excessive consumption of, psychoactive substances, leading to physical, mental or social problems; it does not refer to occasional or experimental drug use
being dependence on, or regularly making an excessive consumption of, psychoactive substances, leading to physical, mental or social problems; it does not refer to occasional or experimental drug use
being dependent on, or regularly making an excessive consumption of, psychoactive substances, leading to physical, mental or social problems; it does not refer to occasional or experimental drug use
people who care for children and young people who are looked-after; this includes long-term care, emergency overnight care, and short-term care
children and young people looked after by the state where the Children Act 1989 applies, including those who are subject to a care order or temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care; it includes residential care, foster care, or boarding school, or with birth parents other family or carers – children and young people who are in young offender or other secure institutions are not included in this definition, because this group is outside the scope of this guidance
prevent or delay drug use, prevent people who are already using some drugs from using other drugs, and prevent people who already experiment or use drugs occasionally from using drugs regularly and excessively
preventing or delaying drug use, preventing people who are already using some drugs from using other drugs, and preventing people who already experiment or use drugs occasionally from using drugs regularly and excessively
the teaching of specific verbal and nonverbal behaviours (including personal and social skills) and the practising of these behaviours by the person receiving the training
people who are vulnerable to drug use are those in multiple groups at risk, whose personal circumstances put them at increased risk, who may already be using drugs on an occasional basis or may already be regularly excessively consuming another substance, such as alcohol
people aged 10 to 18, as well as people aged up to 25 who have special educational needs or a disability (consistent with the Children and Families Act 2014)

Paths in this pathway

Pathway created: February 2017 Last updated: February 2017

© NICE 2017

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