Upscaling drug use prevention efforts in South-Eastern Europe with the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme

25-26 October 2022, Zagreb, Croatia: As part of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) Programme implemented in South-Eastern Europe (SEE), UNODC in partnership with and co-funding from the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF), organized a regional meeting on upscaling efforts in drug use prevention in SEE and capitalizing on the results achieved through the programme to date.

The LQSFA programme provides professional development training for teachers using social and emotional learning research-based strategies. The package is adapted to local conditions and engages parents, schools and communities, resulting in positive outcomes such as bullying reduction, increased student connectedness to school, conflict resolution prioritization over aggression, and lower rates of substance use and truancy. It also showed its value during the COVID-19 pandemic when the challenges for prevention have increased unprecedentedly. Additionally, LQSFA is an effective prevention programme targeting young to help them develop various social and emotional skills, accept responsibility, communicate effectively, make healthy decisions and resist substance abuse. 

The LQSFA programme was introduced in SEE in 2014 as a result of collaboration between LCIF and UNODC. Serbia was the first country to be part of the programme, which gradually expanded to Montenegro and North Macedonia and later to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2017) and Croatia (2019). In Croatia, based on the positive experience in implementing the programme, the Education and Teacher Training Agency and the Public Health Institute from the Dubrovik-Neretva County requested further UNODC support in training more teachers and local trainers who will extend the training to all schools in Croatia ensuring thereby the sustainability of the programme in the country.

The LQSFA programme was expanded to Slovenia in 2022, and using this momentum, a regional event in Zagreb brought together facilitators who benefitted from the programme in the region to exchange experiences and knowledge. Representatives from the relevant ministries from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, together with the facilitators and Lions Clubs partners from the region were convened to this knowledge sharing platform which allowed to share experiences and best practices in implementing the programme and ways to upscale its implementation in each country.

This activity contributes to SDG 3 particularly Target 3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. 

For more information:

Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Program as a School Intervention to Prevent Substance Use—a Pilot Study Across Three South East European Countries (

LQSFA_during_COVID-19.pdf (