Home > Evaluation of a cocaine training programme.

Long, Jean (2007) Evaluation of a cocaine training programme. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 23, Autumn 2007, p. 10.

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In 2004, the National Drug Strategy Team funded Merchants Quay Ireland to co-ordinate training programmes for two levels of service providers who come in contact with cocaine users – front-line staff and key or case workers supporting active cocaine users. The training programme outlined in the table below was implemented in May 2005.
Training type
Target group
Expected learning outcomes
Number of attendees
A one-day, level-one course, run for three separate groups
Providing basic knowledge of cocaine and related issues and skills to support cocaine users
Front line staff and agencies
Piper Projects:
same facilitator for each of the three groups
§ facts about cocaine, dopamine and adrenaline
§ methods of cocaine consumption
§ effects of polydrug use
§ trigger factors associated with cocaine use
§ signs and symptoms of cocaine use
§ role of and types of harm reduction and complementary therapy
Skills to support cocaine users
Expected: 60
Attended: 55
Completed: 53
A three-day, level- two course, run for two separate groups (Course 1 and Course 2)
Providing basic assessment and motivational counselling techniques to support cocaine users through treatment
Key or case workers
Piper Projects:
different facilitator for each of the two groups
Know :
§ facts about cocaine
§ about motivation and the wheel of change
§ appropriate treatment interventions
§ risks and benefits of interventions
§ how to prevent relapse
Ability to:
§ identify signs and symptoms of cocaine use
§ assess client needs
§ develop care plans
§ counsel using motivational interviewing
Expected: 40
Attended: 49
Course 1 – 24
Course 2 – 25
Completed: 38
Course 1 – 20
Course 2 - 18
Wendy Crampton1 evaluated the training, using:
  • participant self-assessment and evaluation
  • tutor evaluation
  • participant follow-up questionnaire
  • work supervisors’ feedback.
 The evaluation of the level-one course indicated that the participants’ level of knowledge had increased considerably, from an average of 50% per participant to 80%. While each individual’s knowledge about cocaine increased during the course, many wanted more knowledge and practical experience with clients. Participants rated the course content at 79%, the training style at 85% and the venue at 81%. The trainer rated two of the three groups of participants as having beginner-level knowledge and one group as having medium level. The trainer noted that the participants were open to learning, asked lots of questions and were willing to share their knowledge.
Because of issues that arose during Course 1 of the level-two course, some adjustments were made to the plans for Course 2, and the two courses were evaluated separately.
The evaluation of Course 1 indicated that the participants’ level of knowledge had increased by 33%, from an average of 58% per participant to 77%. Participants rated the course content at 64%, the training style at 67% and the venue at 57%. The trainer reported that some participants were inexperienced and this resulted in ‘lecture style’ training. Based on this and other feedback from Course 1, MQI requested that the tutor introduce interactive training methods in Course 2. They also changed the training venue and requested a list of participants in advance of the course.
The evaluation of the level-two Course 2 indicated that the participants’ level of knowledge increased by 43%, from an average of 59% per participant to 84%. Participants rated the course content at 78%, the training style at 86% and the venue at 78%. The feedback from Course 2 was positive and demonstrated that it is important to learn from participants’ evaluations. (Jean Long)
1. Crampton W (2005) An evaluation of a cocaine training programme. Dublin: Merchants Quay Ireland. Available on the National Drugs Strategy page at www.pobail.ie.

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