Stage 4. Selecting the theoretical approach

What has to be done?

Theoretical approaches try to determine which factors are related, according to scientific evidence, to the start, progression or maintenance of drug use, and how they relate to each other, so that we can decide which factors our programme should intervene in and how. Although at times it may seem like a very complex task, framing an intervention in a theoretical approach is actually accessible to anyone who is planning a drug demand reduction intervention. Theories and theoretical models (approaches) guide intervention design and help in decision making. In fact, a phrase from the renowned social psychologist Kurt Lewin has been popularised in the planning field: "there is nothing more practical than a good theory."

In this stage, One Step@a Time will accompany and guide you through a space for reflection to avoid automatic decisions, think about why it is important to do what you propose to do and incorporate shared evidence-based criteria into your intervention project. Interventions supported by theoretical approaches offer greater guarantees of quality as they have characteristics that have been demonstrated to be effective.

When this phase ends you will have:

  • More clues about how to achieve changes in the target population.
  • Solid arguments to justify how you want to approach your intervention.
  • More confidence in your intervention.

If this phase is not completed correctly there is a danger of:

  • Omitting aspects of working with the target population.
  • Failing to understand how to achieve intervention objectives.
  • Discrediting your intervention.