Interactive workshop: Novel interventions for stimulant users

Trainer: Neil Hunt (Researcher at The Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and The European Institute for Social Services, University of Kent. Director of Research for the treatment agency KCA; United Kingdom)

Patterns of stimulant use vary extensively across Europe and take in scenes dominated by cocaine, crack, amphetamines, ecstasy and a growing number of further compounds sometimes marketed as ‘legal highs’. This session will highlight several areas for intervention which are specific to certain drugs, show some degree of promise and merit further attention and evaluation. Examples include: a) the distribution of gelatine capsules as a tool to promote transitions to oral consumption among injecting users of pervitin/amphetamine type stimulants (see below); b) crack pipe distribution as a tool for engaging and reducing risks among crack users; and, c) early interventions to new ‘legal’ stimulant epidemics such as mephedrone, MDPV and napthyrone that are distributed through Internet and other retailers; The workshop will then outline ‘node link mapping’: a technique that underpins evaluated programmes that have been extensively distributed and promoted across England by the National Treatment Agency – The International Treatment Effectiveness Project (ITEP) and Birmingham Treatment Effectiveness Initiative (BTEI). These support a psychosocial approach that has relevance to stimulant users irrespective of the specific drug used i.e. whether they use cocaine/amphetamines or other stimulants. Participants will gain some initial experience of using visual mapping tools to address stimulant-related problems and be guided towards resources that can support further learning; The workshop will aim to provide a ‘taster menu’ across a range of ideas rather than attempting to address any of these in great depth. It will conclude by encouraging reflection on ways that the ideas discussed in the session and, perhaps, other interventions identified by workshop participants can potentially contribute to effective responses to stimulant use in the settings in which we all work; Within the workshop, the distribution of gelatine capsules will be introduced. The peroral application of stimulants by the gelatine capsule is quite a new phenomenon. It is one of the least risky methods of use. In the Czech Republic gelatine capsules have been distributed to drug users in harm reduction programs since 2006. The aim of distribution is to reduce the frequency of injecting drugs by drug users.

CV: Neil Hunt (MSc Social Research) is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of Kent; Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and, Director of Research for the treatment agency KCA (UK). He also works as a freelance researcher and trainer. He developed the ‘Break the Cycle’ intervention to reduce injecting and is currently working as a consultant to UNICEF and advising on implementations of the programme in Canada and within Europe. Recent work has included: guidance on operating drug consumption rooms; an evaluation of the distribution of foil packs to promote transitions from injecting within needle and syringe programmes; work on the use of ultrasonography to reduce harms among femoral injectors; and, a review of user involvement and organising within harm reduction.