As of today, the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) will be hosting an online Healthy Nightlife Toolbox (HNT), which collects and provides information on good-practice interventions targeting drug and alcohol use and related problems among young people in nightlife settings. The European database is designed to support prevention workers and local, regional and national policymakers in identifying and implementing effective responses in nightlife settings.
Recreational settings can be locations for drug and alcohol use and are important venues for prevention measures. Estimates show last-year prevalence of drug use among regular nightclub goers to be between 4 and 25 times higher than in the same age group in the general population of the EU (1).
Substance use in recreational settings is linked to a range of health and social problems. These may include acute health problems (e.g. unconsciousness, injury, violence, unsafe/unwanted sex) as well as adverse social consequences (e.g. drug dealing, public nuisance, car accidents).
Presenting available evidence and best practice across Europe, the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox is a valuable resource in preventing alcohol and drug-related problems in nightlife settings. It is built around three databases focusing on: evaluated interventions (2); literature on these interventions (abstracts selected via searches of published academic literature); and other ‘good to know’ literature on the subject (reports, papers).
An ‘Info sheet’ can be downloaded summarising knowledge on how to create a healthy and safe nightlife and highlighting the need for a mix of prevention, harm reduction and law enforcement measures (e.g. legislative measures, environmental strategies, stakeholder involvement and educational interventions).
The first version of the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox, funded by the European Commission, was developed in the period 2008–10. With funding from the Dutch government under its Presidency of the EU in 2016, the toolbox was updated by the Trimbos Institute (the Dutch Reitox national focal point), in cooperation with Liverpool John Moores University (UK) and the EMCDDA. The new version has been redesigned to make information easier to find and to be mobile-friendly.
Tackling drug use in recreational settings is addressed in the EU Drugs Strategy 2013–20. The HNT expands on the model for partygoers in the EMCDDA Best practice portal, which demonstrates what works in the areas of drug prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social reintegration.