This quality standard covers the prevention or delay of harmful use of drugs by children, young people and adults most likely to start using drugs, or already experimenting or using drugs occasionally. This includes illegal psychoactive substances, solvents, volatile substances, image- and performance-enhancing drugs, prescription-only medicines and over-the-counter medicines. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

It does not cover people who are already dependent on drugs, people who use drugs regularly and excessively, or people who are part of ongoing drug treatment and recovery.

It does not cover broader activities, both population-level (universal) and targeted, that aim to build people's skills, resilience and ability to make positive decisions about their health and which address the wider determinants of health. For more information, see the NICE guidance on lifestyle and wellbeing.

How to use NICE quality standards and how we develop them

Quality standards help you improve the quality of care you provide or commission. Find out how to use quality standards and how we develop them. We check our quality standards every August to make sure they are up to date.