Home > Health and social care workers' perceptions of NPS use in Northern Ireland.

Campbell, Anne and O Neill, Nina and Higgins, Kathryn (2017) Health and social care workers' perceptions of NPS use in Northern Ireland. International Journal of Drug Policy, 40, pp. 93-101.

BACKGROUND: The EU Early Warning System currently monitors more than 560 new psychoactive substances, far outweighing the total number of illicit drugs under international control. Due to the recent emergence of NPS and rapidly changing nature of the market, evidence about the way in which the emerging drugs are managed in health and social care settings is limited.

METHODS: The study adopted a mixed methods design, utilising a cross sectional survey and telephone interviews to capture data from staff working in drug and alcohol related services in statutory and voluntary sectors, across the five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust areas in Northern Ireland. 196 staff participated in the survey and 13 participated in follow up in telephone interviews between August and November 2015.

RESULTS: Study respondents reported that addressing NPS related issues with service users was a key aspect of their daily role and function. Levels of injecting behaviours were also viewed as relatively high by study participants. Almost all workers used harm reduction as their primary approach when working with service users and the majority of respondents called for additional practical training in relation to addressing drug interactions and intervening with NPS related issues.

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