Clubs against Drugs

Contact name: 
Daniel Knudtzon
Position: 
Project leader / Coordinator
Organization: 
STAD (Stockholm prevents alcohol and drugproblems)
Telephone: 
+4672 553 91 70
Address: 
STAD Norra stationsgatan 69, 113 64 Stockholm, Sweden
Summary

The objectives of this intervention were to introduce measures that could reduce levels of drug use at clubs. Doormen were trained in recognizing signs of drug use impairment to be able to stop drug use and impaired patrons from entering the premises. The study included 28 trendy nightclubs in Stockholm, Sweden, that used doormen to screen patrons. Data were collected at pretest when 40 entry attempts were made (2003) and posttest (2004) when 48 attempts were made. At follow-up, the doormen intervened in 27% of the attempts, a significant improvement compared to the intervention rate of 7.5% at baseline.Conclusion: The results indicate that the intervention has had effect on doormen's behavior. However, in the majority of the attempted visits, the doormen still did not intervene.

Abstract

Objectives

To reduce club drug use and increase knowledge on prevalence and prevention of illicit club drug use at licensed premises in Stockholm.

Characteristics

Restaurant staff as a whole and doormen in particular are trained in recognizing signs of drug use and to recognize drug attributes in order to be able to stop drug-intoxicated patrons from entering the premises as well as reject them if they are already inside.

Evaluation

Drug use among staff and guests at licensed premises was found to be high. Evaluations of the long-term effects of the community-based intervention showed a significant increase in doormen intervention rates towards drug-intoxicated guests. Also, staff reported significantly lower levels of self-reported drug use as well as significantly lower levels of observed drug use among guests at the second measurement.

Conclusion

Increased doormen interventions, reduced rates of drug use among staff, and reduced observed drug use among guests suggest positive outcomes of the community-based intervention, as no other explanations for these improvements have been found. The findings demonstrate that the systems model for prevention of substance use was an appropriate model to guide club drug prevention efforts. We successfully used the model to select our intervention methods and implementation strategies.

Intervention details

Target population

Owners and employees and guests at licensed premises in Stockholm.

Substances adressed
All substances
Strategic target group (social agents acting as intermediaries between intervention and target group)

Owners and employees and guests at licensed premises in Stockholm.

Intervention activities
Providing information
Nightlife management
Actions
The intervention incorporates strategies for changing the availability of and opportunities to use drugs at nightclubs, including changes in the physical environment, policy work, staff training, enforcement, media advocacy and policy work. At the project start, STAD appointed a local coordinator to be in charge of the intervention. Important gatekeepers and authorities in the community were mobilized and representatives from a number of stakeholders formed an action group. The Licensing Board, the Police Authority, the County Council, the National Institute of Public Health, the County Administration, the organization for restaurant owners, the union for restaurant staff, leading nightclub owners and the local coordinator from STAD have met regularly six times a year.Owners of nightclubs included in this intervention have formally created the association Clubs against Drugs, through which they have become actively and publicly engaged in efforts to reduce drug use at nightclubs. The owners participate in different working groups and meet on a regular basis. All members have signed a declaration including a commitment to engaging in drug prevention work at nightclubs.The program involves targeted training: a one-day policy training for nightclub owners, a one-day drug training for serving staff, a two-hour policy training for management staff and a two-day drug training program for doormen. The drug training for doormen covers the medical effects of drug use, how to recognize drug- impaired guests, how to intervene appropriately, alcohol and drug laws, laws and regulations for licensed doormen and conflict management. The topics covered are discussed in groups and practiced through role-playing. In order to pass the course and receive a diploma, a doorman must score 70% or above on a written exam.Owners of participating nightclubs and authorities have jointly developed Clubs against Drugs policies. These written policy documents state, among other things, that drug-impaired guests should be stopped at the entrance to nightclubs, which is in accordance with existing Swedish laws. Guests taking drugs at nightclubs will be asked to leave the premises and the police will be contacted. The owners of the nightclubs have signed these policy documents. The implementation of guest and staff drug policies has begun. The staff should receive written drug policy information and training from management, after which the staff should sign the policy statement.During the planning phase of this intervention, the Police Authority created a specialized group, the Club Commission, to target drug-related crimes at nightclubs. As a result, monitoring and sanctioning of nightclubs have increased. The Club Commission has also taken an active role in the intervention, participating in meetings, lecturing at training sessions and inviting doormen to regular meetings.A number of media activities have been conducted in order to mobilize important target groups, increase peoples awareness of the problem and obtain community support for the intervention. The project was announced on both national and local TV news, radio and newspapers. PR campaigns have been conducted. The PR work consisted of press conferences, advertisements in news media, activities at clubs and the introduction of the association Clubs against Drugs web page.
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

This drug use prevention program is theoretically based on an environmental approach to prevention, originally developed in the alcohol field (Holder, 1998). The community environment is viewed as consisting of several subsystems: availability, social norms, the judicial system, enforcement and social and medical factors. In order to achieve long-lasting effects, it is necessary to change as many parts of this environment as possible. We assume that these same theoretical assumptions are also applicable to drug use prevention. The selection of intervention components has been guided by a systems approach for drug prevention.

Number of people needed
One person is currently tied to Clubs against drugs, and is organizationally located within the framework of the alcohol prevention project STAD. In an earlier stage two people were attached to the project.

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process and outcome evaluation
Evaluation results (Outcome evaluation)

To explore the possibilities of conducting community-based club drug prevention work such a program was developed and implemented based on a systems approach to prevention. The multi-component program included community mobilization, drug-training, policy work, increased enforcement, environmental changes, and media advocacy and public relations work.Also measuring the effects of this program on doormen intervention rates towards drug-intoxicated guests were evaluated using a pseudopatron methodology with a pretest-posttest (longitudinal repeated measures) design.Drug use among staff and guests at licensed premises was found to be high. Evaluations of the long-term effects of the community-based intervention showed a significant increase in doormen intervention rates towards drug-intoxicated guests. Also, staff reported significantly lower levels of self-reported drug use as well as significantly lower levels of observed drug use among guests at the second measurement.

Evaluation references

Gripenberg Abdon, Johanna. 2012. Drug use at licensed premises: Prevalence and prevention (Dissortation) Institutionen for folkhaelsovetenskap/Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet. See more: https://openarchive.ki.se/xmlui/handle/10616/40951

Last Updated April 29th 2016

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