euPrevent Project– Adolescent high-risk behaviour

It was around 2000 when professionals in the field of preventive health had the impression that young people and adolescents in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine (EMR) were consuming more alcohol and drugs than in the past. In part, this was taking place in the neighbouring countries as young people increasingly crossed borders during their leisure time. 18 organisations in the EMR decided to jointly study and tackle this behaviour.

Project’s framework

  • Final target group: young people in the EMR
  • Duration: 1 October 2001 until 31 March 2006

Focus of the project

The aim of the collaboration was to prevent high-risk behaviour. Three pillars were erected in order to achieve this:

  • carry out a Euregional study;
  • carry out Euregional preventative activities;
  • create a sustainable network.

Activities

The studies showed that Euregional collaboration works best when several, small-scale Euregional activities are organised. The project partners therefore planned a Euregional prevention month in May 2005, including several activities:

  • a low-threshold information bus, the Rave Shuttle, at various locations frequented by many young people;
  • an anti-smoking disco for children and adolescents, within the programmes Antidote Activity (NL) and Be smart don’t start (DE);
  • a sport-week, under the name Klettern statt Kiffen [Don’t Smoke, Go Rock-Climbing];
  • film-days for young people, with films on the topic.

It was a success. A prevention month has been organised every year ever since.

Collaboration

The project paid a lot of attention to getting to know one another, and learning from one another’s culture and working methods. This proved very useful and the results benefited both the research and the Euregional prevention month were well received.

At the end of the project, the organisations wanted to carry on collaborating, so they have signed a contract for the next 6 years. They agreed to collaborate at both political and executive levels. Since 2010 the network of the High-Risk Behaviour of Adolescents Project is part of euPrevent’s Addiction programme line. Apart from the prevention month, this network also regularly organises training courses for knowledge-sharing.

Research

The collaborative partners carried out a quantitative study and a qualitative study into the high-risk behaviour of adolescents in the EMR. The results determined the further course of the project.

Quantitative study

In the autumn of 2001, 46,000 pupils in secondary education participated in the quantitative study, the Euregional Study of Adolescents 2001-2002. They were almost all 14-year-olds and 16-year-olds from the EMR. This study helped to improve regional and euregional preventative policy. The Euregional Study of Adolescents was repeated in 2006-2007 and in 2013.

Qualitative study

The qualitative study looked for similarities and differences between regions:

  • What legislation and structures exist?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • What do citizens think about alcohol and drugs? (social acceptance)
  • What words are used? What do they mean?
  • How do they work?

Research increases our insight into the differences in culture and working methods. This improved people’s mutual understanding, which had a positive effect on the collaboration.

Events

Retrospect

Euregional Prevention Month

May 1, 2005

Workshop 'Preventie in de Euregio'

June 30, 2004

News

January 11, 2013

Sharing Knowledge in Heinsberg

March 21, 2007

Euregio Award

May 12, 2005

Project RA in the newspapers