About Youth in Europe

Youth in Europe is an international 5 year drug prevention project, initiated by the Pan-European Cities against drugs organisation, ECAD in 2005, in cooperation with European Cities. The project was then extended for a further 5 years in 2011. The goal of the project is to compare strategies and seek best practices in drug prevention in order to provide a valuable source of information for all those who are involved in the ongoing task of protecting young people from the injurious effects of drugs.

Key facts

  • 5 year programme in at least 10 European cities.
  • 3 surveys of 15-16 year old students.
  • Surveys will be carried out in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
  • At least 2800 students in each participating city included in each study.
  • Research used to evaluate the most effective prevention measures.
  • Young people and their families, schools, youth clubs and authorities mobilised in cooperation against drugs.
  • All ECAD member cities can be partners and benefit from this joint effort.


Our vision is to fight drugs with facts.


Our mission is to protect young people from the serious injuries of drugs by facilitating comparison of prevention strategies and critical success factors from across Europe, thus providing valuable information to good practices to the participants and to ECAC while making use of key learning points for from prevention research.

Research provides the basis for action

The programme is research oriented. One of its main goals is to enable comparison of preventive strategies and the critical success factors identified.

The programme will:

  • Emphasize coordinated research that allows drawing conclusions for the benefit of local and global preventive work against the use and the distribution of drugs, identifying both risk and protective factors and evaluation the results of the programme.
  • Emphasize the systematic use of knowledge and information in areas relevant to preventive work.
  • Carry out three comparative studies; at the beginning of the programme in the autumn of 2012, an interim study in the autumn of 2014 and at the programme close in the autumn of 2016.

The studies will be carried out by administering questionnaires simultaneously in all the participating cities. A population sample, fully representative of the age group 15-16 years old, will be drawn in each city and a survey conducted. A participating city will not be obliged to include more than 2800 students in each study. A participating city will have the right to add questions to the questionnaire as well as to exclude or transform a question I cooperation with the steering committee. The administration and coordination of the studies will be carried out by Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland in close cooperation with the participation cities. Each participating city shall be responsible for the collection of data and carrying out the study in their area. Privacy will be respected in each study by following recognised rules in that respect. The data and research material will be accumulated in Reykjavi and made accessible to al partners for research purposes.

Mobilizing society against drugs

A main objective of the programme is to raise the awareness and enhance preventive work, at both community and international level, by the collaboration of the participating cities. The focus of Youth in Europe - A Drug Prevention programme will be on:

  • Sending a clear message to societies in order to combat drugs, raise awareness and enhance the preventive work among the participating cities and by taking a strong stand with regards to goal setting, policy-making and its implementation as well as empowering parents and the co-operation of parents
  • Utilizing existing networks in each community in order to reduce use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal substance among adolescents by involving the stakeholders within municipal authorities and national NGOs, as well as emphasizing the important role of voluntary associations, open youth work such as sport clubs, parental associations and official parties such as school authorities and the police.
  • Regular evaluation of the field work and regular network meetings including researchers, policy-makers, field-workers and others in order to compare strategies.
  • Increasing the participation and involvement of young people in organized youth activities and sport clubs by encouraging local societies to offer a variety of such activities, as well as activating schools and other public institutions that work with and for young people.
  • Promoting a holistic approach by enhancing co-operation between local authorities and other stakeholders in adolescents' lives and raising public awareness and sense of responsibility among official bodies e.g. through the media.

Each participating city will be obliged to enter into agreement with ECAD. The main sponsor, Actavis group will support the comparative research, as well as actions to mobilize society in a number of cities based on a special agreement between the respective city and the sponsor.