Sustaining non-use of party drugs among Dutch young adults
Lifetime prevalence of ecstasy, amphetamine and cocaine use has been increasing in The Netherlands among young adults, providing risks to health and wellbeing among this group. The aim of this project was therefore to a find an evidence-based approach for developing an intervention with a new aim, namely supporting current non-using young adults who do coming into direct contact with party drug use through nightlife and/or friends who use. The intervention should support continued abstention from or delay the initiation of party drug use.
Methods used, based on the Intervention Mapping approach, were a review of the literature, interviews with the target group, expert consultation, and qualitative pre-tests with the target group. Several promising approaches to target for behaviour change were identified. The following ‘top 3’ were selected to (mainly) be targeted, based on expert feedback through an advisory committee:
1) Inducing or strengthening a positive attitude towards non-use of party drugs through encouraging exploration of various personally relevant reasons for non-use;
2) Increasing self-regulation and autonomy through providing ways to decline party drug offers, and stimulating and strengthening the ability to make an autonomous choice regarding party drug use;
3) Set or increase a social norm about peers’ acceptance of others’ choice for non-use to increase confidence in acceptance of non-use in the target group.
Subsequent development and qualitative pre-testing of six intervention concepts was based on these behavioural determinants. The concepts were presented to the target group in focus groups.
Two concept interventions were deemed most promising in terms of their combinations of behaviour change principles, on being complementary to each other, and on responses from the target group in the pre-testing focus groups. The findings from this project lead to new insights into promising evidence-based preventive approaches for the prevention of party drug use among young adults.