Tackling the phenomenon of new psychoactive substances: combined needs and perspectives from users and professionals


Background: : The fast evolving issue of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) use is reflected in the large number of novel substances being detected, in the observed substance diversity and in the speed by which new substances appear for sale worldwide. Due to the lack of knowledge on the diversified group of NPS, more research is needed to identify pathways for health-targeted interventions. The Belgian NPS-Care study is a largely qualitative research project that aims to identify possible tailored needs of both professionals and users related to the use of NPS.

Methods: One part of the study was focused on the users in order to gain a deeper understanding of specific cultural phenomena surrounding the use of NPS. In that regard, 45 in-depth interviews were conducted including various profiles of NPS users. Snowball sampling and partners in the drug demand reduction field were used as a gateway in order to recruit a heterogeneous study population. The personal experiences of NPS users as well as their corresponding needs for support along the continuum of care were explored during in-depth interviews, while subjects were simultaneously given the opportunity to deposit a NPS sample for subsequent forensic analysis in a toxicological laboratory. An interview guideline was used, which was established around 5 major themes: NPS terminology, motivation and context of use, mode of use and harm reduction strategies, attitude towards NPS, knowledge and health needs. A second part was devoted to the professional field. Identification of tailored needs was identified using a methodological technique called the nominal group technique (NGT), within 5 groups of experienced professionals. In a second step, an online survey was distributed among the Belgian health care field, with an emphasis on prioritizing the needs on NPS targeted interventions.

Results : The combined results of both study populations will lead to concrete outcomes in order to continue, develop or implement tailored prevention and care specific on NPS use.

Conclusion: At the time of abstract submission the final results were not yet available as the study is still ongoing. The final results will be presented and discussed at the conference.



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