STAGE 5. Defining the action plan
What steps should be completed?
Step 1: Specify intervention actions
When planning intervention strategies, a number of characteristics should be taken into account, whether they are unpublished (new) actions or actions adapted from other interventions:
The most appropriate type and intensity of intervention strategy must be determined. Strategies are derived from specific methodological approaches that suggest more appropriate ways to achieve change in the population. For example, modelling can lead to some common activities, such as role-playing or skills training workshops, as strategies to teach new behaviours. The intensity (or dose) is also related to an intervention’s ability to cause change so it is important understand and define the minimum time, duration and frequency of the actions required to have an effect on the population.
Strategies to prepare the intervention are also important. These include training administrators, choosing materials, disseminating activities, and recruiting and retaining the population.
It is becoming more and more common to adapt programmes that have already demonstrated their efficacy in other contexts. This task can raise some doubts, such as whether the intervention is equally feasible when applied to a different environment, or questions about the degree of fidelity to the original that would be necessary for the actions to modify the determinants of drug-related behaviours in the target population. However, adapting activities that have proven effective undoubtedly offers more guarantees than creating new actions whose effects are unknown. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction recently published a review of North American programmes in European countries and concluded that programmes that adapt satisfactorily and conform to other cultural contexts do work correctly.1 An appropriate adaptation ensures that the basic principles for the intervention to work are culturally adapted for transmission.
The following tasks can be considered good practice in programme adaptation:
During the process of adapting a programme, special attention should also be paid to the type, content (health), number, duration and sequence of sessions, as they are usually the key structural elements to achieve the desired results. Adapting an intervention that has previously been implemented with positive results in a population with characteristics as similar as possible to the one that will now be targeted is also extremely important.
When designing your intervention, it could be useful to consult information on different portals on drug demand reduction, such as:
1 Burkhart G. (2013). North American drug prevention programmes: are they feasible in European cultures and contexts? EMCDDA. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union.
2 Ferrer-Wreder l, Sundell K, Mansoory S. (2012). Tinkering with perfection: theory development in the intervention cultural adaptation field. Child youth care forum. 41: 149-171.
© COPOLAD. Cooperation Programme between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union on Drugs Policies.