Health Department of the Catalan Government (GENCAT)
Program on Substance Use Problems

Joan Colom i Farran

C.Roc Boronat 81 - 95
Barcelona 08005

 +34 935513597
+34 649940627

Profil of the Organisation

The Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia (GENCAT) is the main governmental institution of health in the Catalan region (Spain). The Program on Substance Use Problems is part of the Public Health Agency of Catalonia (ASPCAT) and was established in 1989, with the aim of promoting health and preventing ill health in relation to substance use problems and addiction. Since 2005, the Program has been co-director of the Master Plan on Mental Health and Addictions and has been responsible for regional level alcohol and drug use prevention, harm reduction and mental health promotion in Catalonia. The goals of the Program on Substance Abuse are to support the development of policies at regional level, including the Catalan Health Plan, the Master Plan on Mental Health and Addictions, and the National Strategy on Drug Prevention. The Program also aims to provide accurate and relevant information to the Catalan Government, municipalities and the public in general; to promote, design, manage, implement and evaluate prevention and promotion programs in addictions and mental health; to undertake relevant research on prevention; and to guarantee the coordinated implementation and monitoring of national policies concerning addiction and mental health in Spain.

GENCAT has the infrastructures (health and drugs observatory) and resources (staff and TIC equipment) needed in order to collect the information needed to fit the intelligent platform (collection and analysis of 1960 – 2015 country data related to alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm, contextual factors, and policy measures) and to put it into action innovative community prevention measures to be implemented in the country. In addition, GENCAT has already developed the necessary networks and alliances to gather together and form consensus among the relevant stakeholders in Catalonia (voluntary sector organizations, youth representative groups, nightlife establishments, etc.) and also has the means to disseminate the project objectives and results at the regional and national level (Canal Salut website).

Responsibility for what region


Main items of content, guidelines in the context of prevention

The Program on Substance Use has established expertise in implementing preventive projects on alcohol and other drugs, through a range of initiatives from educational programmes aimed to increasing risk perception among school children and university students, to training education and health agents in prevention skills. Informative and preventive tools for use in leisure settings, primary health centres, nightlife establishments, neighbourhood events and other community settings are offered to citizens and professional via web pages, blogs and apps developed by Program on Substance Abuse Use Problems.

Experiences in the field of prevention on European level

APN (Alcohol Policy Network is a European network interesting in promoting and supporting the implementation of alcohol policies which have proven effective , in the community, regional, national and international level. It is also key to provide opportunities for people in positions of leadership in public health through the exchange of information, staying up to date on the relevant developments in the global arena, community, the EU, the country and the individual, and establish cooperation activities. The advisory committee is composed of representatives from the field of research, government organizations, non-governmental organizations and representatives of youth and GENCAT holds the Secretariat.

ALICE-RAP (Addictions and lifestyles in contemporary Europe – Reframing addictions project is a European research project, which started in April 2011 and aims to simulate a broad and productive debate on science-based policy approaches to addictions. GENCAT participated in the Governance of Addictions Area (A5 WP13).

“Eyes on ages” Study: a comprehensive European overview of legislation, enforcement and research on legal age limits for alcohol in Europe, contracted by the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy (STAP) and commissioned by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC) of the European Commission. The aim of this tender was to facilitate the exchange of good practice in law enforcement and networking among public authorities and other experts in order to foster effective action to enhange compliance with minimum age limits for selling and serving alcoholic beverages within the Member States of the European Union (Switzerland and Norway).

Partyplus (Party+) is the European network for safer party labels, aimed at improving nightlife settings and promoting health among European cities and regions by awarding and promoting quality labels for nightlife venues. A safer nightlife label is developed to reward a club complying with official standards of quality and to indicate to consumers the quality of the service provided. For a club owner or a party organizer, a label gives due recognition for the high level of attention paid to the well-being and health of their public/clients. It promotes a positive image of the venue or event and can benefit them and reduce judicial risks in the case of a crisis situation. For a partygoer, it guarantees the quality and safety standards of a nightlife venue ( The network was created in 2011 by 4 safer nightlife labels & charters:
Spain: Q de Festa!
Belgium: Quality nights
France: Fêtes Claris
Switzerland: Safer Clubbing
Early 2013, the 4 founders created a legal entity for the network and opened it to new membership. In 2014, new members joined Party+: Associate and full members. GENCAT holds the current presidency of Party+ from June 2015 to June 2017..

Experiences in management and communication on European level

The organization has taken part of drivers commissions related to alcohol and drugs policies of the World Health Organization and is the Coordinator of the Program Drink Less of the WHO in Catalonia. It has been advisor to UN Drugs and collaborator of PAHO on training on EIBI programs. Ultimately responsible for the management of the financial and technical tasks derived from the participation of the Government of Catalonia in European Projects: main partner (PHEAP I, PHEPA II, IMHPA, DATAPREV and MENTAL HEALTH BID) associated partner (BUILING CAPACITY, CAMEEH, CORRELATION, SMART, FASE, AMPHORA, ALICE-RAP, ODHIN, BISTAIRS, EYES ON AGES), etc.