3. Municipalities in the lead: an approach to tackle GHB-related problems in the Netherlands.

Thursday, 24 November, 2022 - 13:20 to 14:50


Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a highly addictive drug with high levels of relapse after treatment. GHB-substance use disorder (GHB-SUD) affects people in many ways, e.g. by losing their job or home, by accruing debts and risking serious physical and mental health problems. Problematic GHB use often has an impact on the (social) surroundings of users. GHB users also cause regular disturbances in the public space such as noise, aggression or abnormal behaviour.

While problematic GHB use may not be the most prevalent addiction in the Netherlands, it takes up a disproportionate amount of time and capacity from healthcare and public safety professionals. The nature of the addiction, together with the enormous impact on users and their environment, warrants an efficient and dedicated policy approach.

The Trimbos Institute has, in collaboration with the addiction care field and two municipalities, piloted and developed a blueprint for a policy-based approach. This approach is implemented through close collaboration of three core stakeholders: the municipality that acts as a chairman, the police, and the local addiction care facility. Individuals with GHB-SUD are discussed in frequent and case-focused meetings, in which the needs for support are identified and acted upon. The ultimate goal is to provide a customized trajectory for the person with problematic GHB use that supports the individual in working towards a stable life.

Several municipalities have adapted the approach. The project leaders meet on a regular basis to discuss and exchange experiences. In 2020, a short questionnaire was used to collect data on the implementation process. In this presentation, we will present the approach, and provide examples of successful implementation in the Netherlands.

Municipalities experience a number of challenges when dealing with people with GHB-SUD. Those working with the new policy-based approach report better outcomes including improved collaborations between stakeholders.


Presentation files

24 5A 1320 Anneke Van Wamel_v1.1.pdf1009.61 KBDownload



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