checkit!

Contact name: 
Karl Kociper
Position: 
Head of checkit!
Organization: 
Suchthilfe Wien GmbH
Telephone: 
+43 4000 53650
Address: 
Gumpendorfer Strasse 8, 1060, Vienna, Austria
Fax: 
+43 4000 53669
Summary

The program aims to reach recreational drug users through the provision of an on-site service: The combination of outreach social work and chemical analysis of substances directly at rave parties as well as providing information on safer use and counseling.The general objective of the project is the prevention of problematic consumption patterns regarding psychoactive substances and prevention or reduction of short, middle and long term adverse health consequences (selective and indicated prevention, harm reduction). checkit! is a scientific project aimed at collecting scientific data. Through documentation of the chemical analysis and the distribution of user surveys - focusing on patterns and reasons of use - essential data for the early detection of new trends regarding substances and their use is obtained. Based on the data preventive methods and offers are developed continuously.The interest expressed by intense use of the services shows that information can be accepted as it is presented in an objective and target group specific way.People involved in drug testing have a higher knowledge and this knowledge increases with increasing number of pilltesting activities. But no change in behaviour was found.

Abstract

Objectives

The program aims to reach recreational drug users through the provision of an on-site service: the combination of outreach social work and chemical analysis of substances directly at rave parties as well as providing information on safer use and counselling

Characteristics

The general objective of the project is the prevention of problematic consumption patterns regarding psychoactive substances and prevention or reduction of short, middle and long term adverse health consequences (secondary prevention, harm reduction). ChEck iT! is a scientific project aimed at collecting scientific data. Through documentation of the chemical analysis and the distribution of user surveys - focusing on patterns and reasons of use - essential data for the early detection of new trends regarding substances and their use is obtained. Based on the data preventive methods and offers are developed continuously.

Evaluation

People involved in drug testing have a higher knowledge and this knowledge increases with increasing number of pilltesting activities. But no change in behaviour was found.

Conclusion

The interest expressed by intense use of the services shows that information and safer use messages can be accepted by the target group as it is presented in an objective and target group specific way.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Harm reduction
Problem addressed
Illegal drugs, Alcohol, Poly drug use, Dehydration / overheating, Overdosing, Unwanted sexual behaviour, Other, Legislation, Recreational drugs
Intervention setting
Club/disco/afters
Youth clubs
Street
Event
Mass media
TV
Internet
School
Secondary school
Higher education or university
Target population

Mainly persons consuming "party drugs"; also persons not consuming but interested in "party drugs".

Substances adressed
Alcohol
Cannabis
Powdered cocaine
Crack free-base cocaine
Inhalants/solvents
MDMA (XTC)
Amphetamines
Methamphetamines
GHB
Ketamine
Polydrug
Intervention activities
Providing information
Peer-group approach
Informative talk or lecture
Use of media
Use of Internet and other new technologies
Research
Counselling help and treatment
Pill-testing
Actions
Counselling via mail, phone and face to face;Information and counselling, and pill testing on-site at partys;Presenting results to the target group and making them publicly available;Making results found by other projects publicly available;Distribution of information material;Production of information material;Running a web page (www.checkyourdrugs.at);Crisis intervention;Scientific publications;Improvement of chemical procedures
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

The approach is based on motivational interviewing, a counseling method which has been evaluated several times. Furthermore standards (e.g. for online-counseling) and an overall concept of the Suchthilfe Wien (SHW) are existing.

Number of people needed
8 employees (full-time and part time) and a pool of freelancers
Specific training required?
psychosocial education (e.g. psychology, social work)
Time required to run
4.5 fulltime employees; 5 days/week based at home, and once a month at weekend CHEck iT! venues.
Other resource requirements

Chemical equipment and knowledge

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process evaluation
Activities evaluated

Data are collected from information and counseling talks, pill testing results, black market situation, consumption patterns and the target group.

Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
Internal evaluator
Evaluation results (Process evaluation)

At big events (ca. 4.000 visitors) up to 300 visitors are making use of the services of checkit!. Per event, besides 225 contacts (interactions up to 5 minutes without specific intervention), 75 counselling talks take place on average and about 75 psychoactive substances are brought in for testing. Besides this, checkit! also offers an "info tour" with 3 staff members providing information and counselling in clubs and on raves but without pill testing. The comparison of checkit! offers with and without testing shows that 75% less visitors make use of the info tour. This indicates that the chemical analysis is an adequate method to reach the target group. Each day about 300 persons visit the website and per week checkit! receives between 10 and 20 counselling requests via the internet. In addition, there is big demand for the info materials - the posters and the booklet are requested by drug services, pharmacies and other institutions. (Information from 2008-2010)

The increase of knowledge through the provision of objective information by checkit! staff as well as the aspired change of behavior of users cannot be evaluated due to methodological difficulties. Nevertheless, based on personal talks at raves as well as qualitative analysis of entries at the website it can be assumed that part of the existing knowledge was created through the efforts of checkit!. checkit! managed to achieve very high acceptance due to its pragmatic and innovative approach. The interest expressed by intense use of the services shows that information can be accepted if it is presented in an objective and target group specific way.

Evaluation references

Pill-Testing-Ecstasy and Prevention. Benschop, A., Rabes, M., Korf, D. (2002) PDF - German edition

Last updated April 2016

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