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New psychoactive substances: new service provider challenges

Ralphs, R and Gray, PM (2017) New psychoactive substances: new service provider challenges. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy. ISSN 0968-7637

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Abstract

This paper presents findings from a 6-month study of New Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use in Manchester, UK. Drawing on interviews with 53 NPS users and 31 stakeholders, the paper documents a notable shift in the drug using landscape. It highlights how the homeless community – traditionally associated with alcohol dependency and problematic intravenous heroin and/or crack cocaine use – are now switching to smoking synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists, while men who have sex with men (MSM) and engage in chemsex – who have traditionally been strongly associated with the recreational use of ecstasy and other stimulants – are now developing problematic intravenous drug using habits. The paper goes on to discuss the implications of this shift for existing models of treatment service delivery. In particular, it outlines the necessity for treatment services to develop innovative engagement strategies, alongside clearer referral pathways and improved service integration.

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