The medicine use investigations presented in this manual are intended as a basis for developing an intervention project.
Such drug use studies should be:
Efficient: Do not collect more information than needed and do not measure more accurately than needed.
Flexible: Learn-as-you-go approach, whereby newly generated information helps to set the agenda for the later stages in the development of interventions.
Participatory: Methods which allow for stakeholder participation in data gathering and analysis are preferred.
Triangulated: Use more than one, and generally three, methods to cross-check the information.
In the community: Learning takes place in the community or population groups which experience the problem, in short, intensive periods of fieldwork.
As explained in Chapter 1, the planning and implementation of community drug use interventions is a step-by-step process (see figure 3). In this chapter we focus on step 1, Describe drug use practices and identify problems. The aim in step 1 is to get an overview of the drug use problems in a region or a country. We want to identify the many different kinds of problems that occur. In steps 2 and 3 (see Chapter 4) we prioritize the problem and analyse why it occurs, as a basis for developing an effective intervention. Evaluation studies (step 7) aim to measure whether the intervention has been effective (see Chapter 7).