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Universal Prevention Curriculum Substance Use (UPC)


This training series provides implementers with an in-depth knowledge and skills related to content, structure, effective delivery, and monitoring and evaluation of the short- and long-term impact of prevention interventions and policies. It consists of the CORE course and seven training tracks, that is, Monitoring and Evaluation, School, Family, Workplace, Environment, Media, and Prevention Delivery Systems. In addition to providing basic knowledge and skills in the various settings, the track training also includes extensive in-class exercises and a practicum upon completion of two courses for each track. The three practica provides an opportunity to apply theory learned into practice in the field.


CORE Course: Introduction to the Universal Prevention Curriculum Series for Implementers (58 hours)

The CORE Course is composed of 10 modules representing different aspects of prevention science and its application to practice. It is designed to give participants a foundation in the knowledge and skills needed to undertake evidence-based prevention programming at the community level. The course provides an overview of the basic processes that underlie addiction and the brain, basic pharmacology of psychoactive substances, and preventive mechanisms that have been found to be effective in more than 30 years of prevention science. It also provides skills-building in areas such as reviewing data needed to assess the substance use problem; working with a prevention implementation planning approach; and developing logic models to assist in that planning. It is required as a pre-requisite for participation in the specialty tracks. Each of the specialty tracks is self-contained but it is necessary to take the CORE first as an introduction to the training series.

Track 1: Monitoring and Evaluation of Prevention Interventions and Policies (60 hours)

This track presents primary evaluation methods with a focus on monitoring and process evaluation used to measure outcomes of evidence-based substance use prevention interventions and policies. It also provils experiential learning in planning and monitoring outcomes through exercises and a practicum completed at the end of the track. There are eight courses in this track as follows:

Course 1: Overview of Monitoring and Evaluation

This course reviews key concepts related to monitoring and evaluation, such as its definition and purposes. It also examines the monitoring and evaluation system, and discusses the role of monitoring and evaluation in the Implementation Cycle.

Course 2: Logic Models

This course explains the definition, purposes, structure and limitations of logic models and how Theky are linked to the monitoring and evaluation system. It also provides examples from two evidence-based substance use prevention interventions, namely, LifeSkills Training and Project Towards No Drug Abuse.

Course 3: Types of Data and Data Collection

This course describes two types of data, that is, quantitative and qualitative data. It also explains how to define and describe different data collection methods and how to apply them in an evaluation.

Course 4: Data Analysis and Reporting

This course examines different types of data analysis strategies for qualitative and quantitative data and effective ways to report the findings from monitoring and evaluation activities. It also focuses on how to collect, analyse and display data and report the results of implemented monitoring and evaluation activities.

Course 5: Process Evaluation and Program Monitoring

This course reviews the concepts and procedures for programme monitoring and process evaluation. It also explains how to develop a process evaluation and programme monitoring plan that is linked to Leeds assessments and the logic model process.

Course 6: Outcome Evaluation

This course discusses basic principles and practices of the outcome evaluation design and methods such as outcome measures, data collection, data analysis, and reporting.

Course 7: Ethics

This course addresses the ethics underlying monitoring and evaluation when involving the community, collecting and storing data, reporting and ownership of evaluation findings. It also emphasises the importance of maintaining confidentiality.

Course 8: Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

This course explains various methods for conducting monitoring and evaluation, components of the monitoring and evaluation system, and how to build logic models based on an understanding of the community or target population needs and intervention intent.


Track 2: Family-based Prevention Interventions (54 hours)

This track gives an overview of the science inherent in family-based prevention interventions and the methods used to intervene effectively in order to prevent substance use in children and adolescents. It also provils experiential learning in some of the skills used in effective family-based intervention methods to prepare prevention implementers to participate in such programmes. The seven courses in this track are as below:

Course 1: Understanding Families: Diversity and Context

This courses presents research about the diversity of families within and across countries, how family structures differ and how families may function differently. It also discusses how family practices influence youth substance use and related problems and some basic skills for working with families.

Course 2: Interventions with Families - Basic Models and Skills

This course discusses general models of interventions with families such as the Family Partnership and Family Development Models. It also presents some examples of evidence-based interventions that prevent substance use.

Course 3: Family-based Interventions: Skills & Evidence-Based Programs

This course presents some of the best family programmes with the best evidence that target families with children of different ages such as: Nurse Family Partnership Model as an example of Home Visiting models for helping families of infants and toddlers; The Incredible Years and Dare To Be You intervention models to intervene with families of young children; Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth 10-14; and Multisystemic Therapy intervention models which demonstrate skills used by professionals to intervene with families of adolescents.

Course 4: Interventions with Groups - Management and Processes

This course describes the concepts related to the management and processes of conducting multi-family group interventions that include identifying stages of group dynamics that occur in this type of intervention, characteristics of effective group leaders, skills of organising a group, some common problems that occur with the structure and process of running family-based interventions in groups and challenges that might happen in groups.

Course 5: Barriers and Challenges to Family Interventions

This course examines some of the common barriers and solutions to implementing effective familybased prevention programmes in the community, such as, local customs and practices that may limit family participation, and some of the possible solutions that help families participate, despite barriers. It also examines different reasons for adapting programmes and illustrates the best practices in adapting programmes to make them match with the local culture.

Course 6: Interventions with Families: Ethics, Supervision and Self- Care

This course explains the basic principles of and application to working with families based on a model of ethical decision-making. It also examines concepts related to basic child maltreatment, intimate partner violence definitions and reporting, elder abuse, suicide and homicide in youth and adults, and burnout as well as steps for creating a self-care plan.

Course 7: Monitoring and Evaluation of Family Programs

This course discusses the importance and application of monitoring and evaluation to family-based prevention interventions, the process for developing a monitoring system, and purposes of process and outcome evaluation for family-based prevention interventions.


Track 3: School-Based Prevention Interventions and Policies (72 hours)

This track introduces the science behind school-based prevention interventions and policies, and the methods used to improve school climate, strengthen policies, and intervene directly with classroom prevention interventions. It provides one track for administrators on effective planning and strategies for addressing school policy and climate; and a second track for teachers primarily on classroom interventions. The eight courses in the track are as follows:

Course 1: Role of Schools in Prevention

This course provides the background information and skills about evidence-based substance use prevention in the school setting. It also builds a knowledge and skills base for school staff to implement and sustain substance use prevention programming in schools.

Course 2: Building Teams for Comprehensive School- Based Prevention

This course describes how to develop and contribute to the Prevention Leadership Action Team (PLAT) that will be responsible for implementing Evidence-based Prevention Interventions (EBIs) in the school. The PLAT is the infrastructure that will support the selection, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive substance use prevention initiatives.

Course 3: Creating Substance Use Prevention Policies in Schools

This course focuses on the process for examining school policy and how to include stakeholders in the policy development and implementation process.

Course 4: Creating A School Prevention Climate

This course explores the concept of a school prevention climate and how that positively affects learning and helps prevent problem behaviour, including substance use.

Course 5: Selecting Evidence-Based School Prevention Curricula

This course describes how to match the needs and climate of the school and classroom to the specific focus of these evidence-based interventions.

Course 6: Action Planning to Create a Comprehensive Substance Use Prevention Initiative

This course outlines the cyclical implementation process that the Prevention Leadership Action Team can use to successfully implement programmes, as well as policies and practices to help children and youth make positive decisions about substances.

Course 7: Positive Classroom Climate

This course describes how to create a positive engaging, protective environment in the classroom regardless of what prevention programme is selected. Such an environment facilitates learning and helps students connect to the goals of the school. It also provides an opportunity to work in teams and practice skills during this course.

Course 8: Interactive Teaching Skills

This course focuses on interactive teaching skills, including modelling and practicing these skills during the training sessions.


Track 4: Workplace-Based Prevention Interventions and Policies (76 hours)

This track presents the science underlying workplace-based prevention interventions and policies, and the methods and strategies workplaces can use to improve their environment and culture. It also provils experiential learning in planning for workplace policy changes and other substance use prevention efforts thus empowering employees to avoid substance use. It consists of the following seven courses:

Course 1: The Role of the Workplace in Prevention

This course describes the role of the workplace in prevention that includes how workplaces in communities impact the local community, how workplace and workforce substance use can impact different types of workplaces, workplace cultures, structures, environments and activities that reduce the likelihood of substance use among workers and workplace characteristics that may increase the likelihood of worker substance use. It also articulates the ethical principles guiding workplace prevention.

Course 2: Why the Workplace is an Important Setting for Prevention

This course discusses the costs of substance use among adults and how it affects local workplace, association between substance use and a variety of workplace performance and interpersonal problems and the components of a “business case for prevention” draft.

Course 3: Key Components of Workplace Substance Use Prevention Policies

This course defines the concept of stakeholders and how to identify stakeholders in the individual organisation. It also describe how different strategies target the workplace environment, social norms and interactions, and individual behaviour, the importance of taking a health and safety approach as well as how drug testing is used as part of prevention in the workplace.

Course 4: Developing Effective Workplace Substance Use Prevention Policies

This course examines the application of 12 UNODC principles to policy development in the workplace, selection criteria for stakeholders in the development of policy and programme implementation, importace of substance use prevention and policies to stakeholders and others in the workplace and community, and utilisation of the Workplace Policy Template to develop a workplace prevention policy.

Course 5: Overview of UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention

This course discusses the characteristics of and criteria for evidence-based workplace interventions as well as reviews and selects evidence-based interventions for applicability to the individual workplace.

Course 6: Implementing and Adapting Workplace-Based Programs

This course explains the steps in the implementation process and strategies to address the barriers to implementing prevention interventions.

Course 7: Monitoring and Evaluation as Applied to the Workplace

This course describes the importance of evaluation in the workplace, and the concepts and steps of process evaluation and the collaborative model of evaluation. It also outlines how to select the most appropriate evaluation design for the individual workplace.


Track 5: Environment-Based Prevention Interventions and Policies (59 hours)

This track reviews the science behind effective environment-based prevention interventions and policies – which focus on community-wide strategies to prevent tobacco and alcohol misuse; and illegal drug trafficking and use in various settings and methods used to identify and successfully implement these interventions. It also provides experiential learning in planning for and implementing environmental policy changes and other community-wide substance use prevention efforts. The seven courses in this track are as follows:

Course 1: Description of the Environmental Approach

This course examines the components of the Environment-based Intervention (EI) track, planning framework, and Etiology Model. It also provides an opportunity to think strategically about how to plan interventions that will last, and reflect the specific culture(s) of an individual’s community.

Course 2: Assessment of Geographic Area and Need for Environmental Interventions

This course explains how to do an assessment of the local community including collection and use of the assessment data, define the geographic area or community and identify the specific environments within the community where alcohol, tobacco and other substances are sold, purchased and used. It also examines how to collect and use statistical data to describe the extent and nature of substance use and related consequences.

Course 3: Strategically Build Partnerships to Address Needs - Building a Prevention Team

The course describes the process of building partnerships with other organisations, agencies and individuals in the local community to address substance use prevention needs by building a prevention team representing organisations and groups such as businesses, law enforcement and other governmental agencies, the health care community, and educational institutions.

Course 4: Evidence-Based Environmental Interventions and Policies

This course examines some evidence-based environmental substance use prevention strategies to address substance use and related problems in the local community or country, and how they can affect substance use availability and norms through regulations and enforcement. It also explains how to identify and implement appropriate environmental interventions.

Course 5: Policy Advocacy

This courses explains the steps involved in policy advocacy that include understanding various macroenvironmental levels of policy change, developing a policy action statement for desired change, identifying implementation and enforcement partners, developing talking points, case statements, and media messages for advocacy, and doing follow up after a policy is adopted or not adopted.

Course 6: Development of a Community Strategic Environmental Prevention Plan

This course discusses the process for the development of a comprehensive community environmental prevention action plan that includes developing a logic model indicating environmental intervention strategies and how they will impact targeted outcomes, identifying and discussing steps involved in each environmental intervention strategy, and anticipating challenges and how to overcome them.

Course 7: Monitoring and Evaluation

This course examines the definitions and purposes of monitoring and evaluation, use of assessment data to establish baseline, target outcomes, and monitor intervention effects, steps for conducting a process evaluation to determine how well an intervention is implemented, and how to use data for ongoing surveillance and writing an evaluation report.


Track 6: Media-Based Prevention Interventions (81 hours)

This track discusses the science inherent in effective media-based substance use prevention interventions with a focus on developing successful persuasive communications. It also provides experiential learning in planning messages and media for reaching parents and youth in substance use prevention efforts. It comprises the following six courses:

Course 1: Introduction to Media and Their Use in Prevention

This course presents basic information relative to media campaigns including the steps for effective campaign planning. It also underscores the importance of understanding culture and the use of social media.

Course 2: The Nature of Media and Theories of How the Media Affect the Audience

This course describes how the Theory of Planned Behavior forms the foundation for persuasion and is applied in media messaging and media campaigns. It also explains the importance of Hovland’s Message Learning Theory of Persuasion and how to apply it to media messages and campaigns.

Course 3: Practical Application of Persuasion in Substance Use Prevention

This course discusses ways in which the media can be used to avoid substance use. It also explains how to develop a media campaign that target substance use problems.

Course 4: Improving the Impact of Media Campaigns

This course describes the media’s role in prevention and how they work in persuasive prevention. It also presents the advantages of mass media for communication, namely Reach, Return and Rapid Response.

Course 5: Monitoring and Evaluating Media Messages

This course focusses on various aspects related to monitoring and evaluating media messages such as developing measures of the media campaign’s audience’s knowledge, attitudes, and intentions to use psychoactive substances, using pre-and post-assessments of these measures to determine campaign effectiveness, and determining if persuasive effects found on immediate post-campaign measurement persist over time, at the individual and community levels. It also describes the data necessary to inform the development of effective substance use prevention campaigns in the home context.

Course 6: Application to Practice

This course provides an opportunity for the application of knowledge acquired and skills learned in the preceding courses to develop an effective media campaign.


Track 7: Community-Based Prevention Implementation Systems (87 hours)

This track explores the science underlying the systems approaches to prevention interventions and presents the primary methods for planning community-wide implementation systems. It also provides experiential learning in planning and working with stakeholders to develop prevention intervention services. It consists of seven courses as follows:

Course 1: Rationale and Conceptual Framework

This course underscores the importance of substance use prevention in the community, micro- and macrolevel environmental influences in communities, rationale for using teams to deliver EBIs to a community, need for multi-component prevention, and importance for planning interventions systemically and identifying environmental influences to inform the selection of EBIs. It also outlines a plan for teaching these concepts to a community team.

Course 2: Community-Based Implementation Systems

This course presents the benefits of using a community-based implementation system, identifies reasons why some community teams are successful, and phases of team development as well as how they influence team activities. It also discusses two evidence-based models of community implementation systems.

Course 3: Building a Community-Based Implementation System

This course provides an opportunity to identify and practice strategies that build capacity and foster teamwork, skills related to the roles and responsibilities of team members, and skills and abilities of effective team leaders and members in leadership roles. It also helps the team anticipate, adapt to and plan for change, identify common barriers and develop strategies to overcome challenges to effective teamwork as well as communication skills to teach others about the benefits of using EBIs.

Course 4: EBI Selection and Implementation

This course discusses needs assessment and data sources, strategies for building team capacity, matching community needs to the most appropriate EBIs, importance of implementation fidelity and need for adaptations when appropriate as well as the steps for developing a comprehensive implementation plan.

Course 5: Monitoring and Evaluation

This course underscores the importance of evaluation for implementers, evaluations that measure progress, intended outcomes and impact on the community, steps for monitoring team processes and EBI implementation as well as a data system to collect and use information. It also explains how data are used for continuous quality improvement.

Course 6: Sustainability

This course outlines the components of an implementation plan and its application to the community, use of logic models to support high quality implementation and sustainability of EBIs and the community team, sustainability inputs and characteristics of healthy teams, application of organisational and environmental strategies for the sustainability of EBIs and well-functioning teams and the implementation of sustainability concepts to a community team. It also outlines a sustainability plan and strategies to identify and secure resources using different approaches for different audiences.

Course 7: Prevention Systems Thinking and Networking to Build Capacity

This course explores how teams can link to multiple systems and influence multi-level interventions Gross community domains, basic concepts and benefits of “prevention systems thinking”, ways that communitybased teams can network with larger prevention systems within and outside the community and technical assistance assessment.


Adobe PDF UPC Flyer
Information flyer on the UPC.