In a new guideline issued this week, NICE warned health professionals, youth workers and teachers, to boost early intervention for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people who are considered most at risk of legal and illegal substance misuse.
High-risk groups include truants, young offenders, those in care and young people from black and minority ethnic groups.
Recommended actions include up to two years of group-based behavioural therapy for unruly children aged 10-12 and monthly parenting classes to help set boundaries for children.
Young people with known drug problems should be offered motivational interviews to reflect on the effects of their drug taking, said the NICE guideline.
Policy officer at Substance Misuse Management in Primary Care, Jim Barnard, said: ‘The evidence base in this particular field is quite flimsy really. In the absence of robust evidence they’ve got to go with the consensus of experts.’