MDA Basecamp

Contact name: 
Manuel Hochenegger
Organization: 
Association Z6 - for the promotion of youth socialwork, culturework and youth recreation work
Telephone: 
0043 (0)699-11869676
Address: 
Dreiheiligen str. 9 A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Fax: 
0043 (0)512-580808
Summary

MDA basecamp targets young people aged between 13 and 20 who are in the party scene. The project informs and advises on the consumption of illegal drugs with the aim of preventing the deterioration of an individual's situation and the development of long term addictive behaviour. The evaluation results demonstrate different ways of making contact with a hard to reach target group.

Abstract

Background

The experiences of the youth centre z6 and its advisory services showed that a large number of young people try out illegal drugs and show partially risky and harmful patterns of consumption. Often they know only little about substances (especially about synthetic drugs), risks and support. They turn to advisory services only if they already have massive problems.

Objectives

Prevention or reduction of acute health hazards by party work at big youth-events. This should be achieved by offering information as well as refreshments, condoms and safer use give aways (for example safer sniffing sets). Furthermore we aim to develop and further improve risk- and consumption competence amongst young people who use recreational drugs. To improve the framework regarding safety, quality and health promotion towards the safer nightlife standards, we work together with the event organizers organizers and security staff. Also, we offer an Drug Checking service in cooperation with the forensics institute of Innsbruck. Consumers of synthetic psychoactive substances can give a little sample of their substance to have it tested in the laboratory. The results show the compound of the substance both qualitatively (what is in it?) and quantitatively (in what quantity is each substance contained) and gets tested with highest scientific measures. Drug checking is a scientific approach to prevent people from taking substances they don`t want to use, reduce harms of high dosages (as people know the dosage of their substance) and also allows monitoring the regional drug market. It leads to sensibilisation and awareness raising of the risks of using synthetic psychoactive substances.

Characteristics

Through outreach work (information stand at events) a foundation of trust can be built up, information about substances, safer use and safer sex can be distributed and the young people can be provided with water, vitamins and condoms. If desired by the young people further assistance like psychosocial advice and treatment, arrangements for therapy, legal advice and so on are offered at the advice centre. Further elements are the recreational and cultural activities to integrate the young people and the cooperation with organizers.

Evaluation

The information stand at events and the offered information are very well accepted. Throughout the year 2015 about 900 consultations have taken place. During consultations other themes were also addressed, which are relevant to the life of the target group. Changing focuses have been integrated into the work at events.

Conclusion

Different ways of making contact with a hard to reach target group exist.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Prevention, Harm reduction, Information, Consultation
Intervention setting
Bar
Club/disco/afters
Office
Target population

youth, young adults

Substances adressed
Cannabis
Alcohol
MDMA (XTC)
Amphetamines
Cocaine
LSD
Magic Mushrooms
Ketamine
Research Chemicals/NPS
Strategic target group (social agents acting as intermediaries between intervention and target group)

youth, young adults

Actions
Information, enlightenment, advice and support, advocacy, drug checking, alternatives to drug use (outdoor education), information flyers, counselling, crisis intervention, food/drink consumption, give-aways, lobbying, mobile information and advice at events, peer-group counselling, press advertising, safe-sex counselling, safe-use counselling, workshops in schools and youth centres.
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Generally, theoretical knowledge alone (like danger of substances, safer use, safer sex etc.) is not enough to change behaviour. However, if information is presented to young people on-site in a relevant attractive way, it is more likely to be accepted and able to build a good foundation for further work. This is also the case for other services like informal advice, water, discussions and condoms. It is known that young people seldom come to advisory services voluntarily. With the help of informal contacts at events it is possible to access this target group. This enables young people to use advice as well as long-term supports like crisis management, reduction of consumption, motivation for therapy etc. Drug checking and drug checking results/warnings sensibilize people for the risks that come along with drug consumption. They therefore are fond of getting more information on the substances, are more aware of health issues, reflect the behaviours more often, inform their peers. Drug checking is an intervention that shows people that they are responsible for their health. It is the aim to help people to develop a responsible and self- aware dealing with psychoactive substances.

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process evaluation
Activities evaluated
  • Frequency at the mobile advisory stand at events
  • Requests for advice and talking points (consumption behavior, psychological, physiscal, social, legal issues, substances, form of intervention): at events
  • Online consultation
  • Drug checking: clients fill out a questionnaire concerning their consumption behavior the first time they use the service, evaluation of tested substances (dosing, adulterations)
Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
Internal evaluator
Evaluation results (Process evaluation)

Evaluations of all activities of MDA basecamp and the whole Drogenarbeit Z6, of which MDA basecamp is a part of, can be seen in the annual reports of the Drogenarbeit Z6. The reports can be downloaded at our website: http://www.drogenarbeitz6.at/drogenarbeit-z6/downloads.html (see Taetigkeitsberichte, only in German)

Last update: March 2016

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