Home > Different phases of ATS use call for different interventions: a large qualitative study in Europe.

Liebregts, Nienke and Rigoni, Rafaela and Petruželka, Benjamin and Barták, Miroslav and Rowicka, Magdalena and Zurhold, Heike and Schiffer, Katrin (2022) Different phases of ATS use call for different interventions: a large qualitative study in Europe. Harm Reduction Journal, 19, 36. doi: 10.1186/s12954-022-00617-5.

External website: https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/art...

BACKGROUND: Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are globally widely used. Scientific literature generally defines four phases of substance use (initiation, continuation, increase and decrease); however, there is limited understanding of what influences these different phases of ATS use. The ATTUNE study investigated which factors shape individual phases of use, or ATS use patterns. In this article, we report on these phases into and out of ATS use, and propose a set of recommendations for prevention, harm reduction and treatment of the different phases of ATS use.

METHODS: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews (n = 237) were conducted in five different European countries with participants who had used ATS, varying from a few times in a lifetime to daily.

RESULTS: Amphetamine and MDMA were the most commonly used ATS. Yet, types of ATS used differed between the countries. We found that people who use ATS have various motives for and dynamic patterns of ATS use with alternating phases of increase, continuation, decrease and sometimes dependence. Cessation was pursued in different ways and for diverse reasons, such as mental health problems and maturing out. Availability seemed not an issue, regardless of the type of ATS, phase or country.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that tailor-made interventions are needed for the diverse types of people who use ATS and different phases or patterns of ATS use, to reduce possible harms of use. We recommended a set of interventions for the different ATS phases. These include drug checking services, peer-led information, self-management of ATS use, mental health support to help people cope with stressful life events and prevent uncontrolled use, and follow-up support after treatment.

Repository Staff Only: item control page