Mental health

Brief psychosocial interventions

Question 1: Are brief psychosocial interventions for people using cannabis or psychostimulants effective in reducing drug use, dependence and harm from drug use in non-specialist settings?

Management of substance abuse

  • Population: adults and young people
  • Interventions: brief interventions for drug use
  • Comparison: placebo or treatment as usual
  • Outcomes:
    • drug consumption
    • harm from drug use
    • abstinence.


Individuals using cannabis and psychostimulants should be offered brief intervention, when they are detected in non-specialized health care settings. Brief intervention should comprise a single session of 5-30 minutes duration, incorporating individualised feedback and advice on reducing or stopping cannabis / psychostimulant consumption, and the offer of follow-up.
Strength of recommendation: STRONG

People with ongoing problems related to their cannabis or psychostimulant drug use who does not respond to brief interventions should be considered for referral for specialist assessment.
Strength of recommendation: STANDARD

Evidence profile