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Implications of Welfare Reform

HIT Seminar Archive

The process of welfare reform initiated by the coalition government on taking office in 2010 has had a number of implications for all people in receipt of social security, some of which are yet to be fully felt or understood. This seminar looked at recent developments from a policy perspective, and at likely future developments.

Welfare reform has been accompanied by a strong drive to reduce unemployment and move people, particularly the long-term unemployed, into work. This has led to a number of changes, both at Jobcentre Plus and in outsourced provision like the Work Programme and Work Choice. This seminar covered three subjects:

  • Social security policy and welfare reform – where we came from, where we’re going and what the implications might be for people working in drug and alcohol services;
  • Findings from the Voices from the Frontline project. This is led by the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition – DrugScope, Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind. The focus of the research has been into the consequences of all main elements of welfare reform for the most socially excluded people, particularly those with multiple and complex needs;
  • Developments in employment support. This included findings from DrugScope’s employment work in London and elsewhere, as well as its broader engagement with its members.

Speakers

Paul Anders

Senior Policy Officer DrugScope

Paul Anders is Senior Policy Officer at DrugScope, the national membership organisation for the drug and alcohol treatment sector, where he leads policy work including the annual State of the Sector survey, welfare reform, employment, housing and the broader social inclusion agenda.

Before joining DrugScope in 2012, he was first London Regional Manager and then Employment Manager at Homeless Link, the membership organisation for the homelessness sector. Before that, he worked in and managed services for rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness in London and Sheffield.

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Drugs and the Internet

HIT Seminar Archive

At this HIT Hot Topics Seminar, Kieran Hamilton discussed online drug user subcultures in relation to both illegal and novel psychoactive substances, the role of the Internet in the changing nature of drug use, and what this might mean for drug users, as well as drug policy, in the future.
  • What drugs are people buying on the internet? 
  • How are people using the drugs they buy online?
  • What does the internet mean for drug users?
  • How can policy best address the issue of drugs and the internet?

Speaker

Kieran Hamilton

PhD Researcher

Kieran

Kieran Hamilton is a PhD Researcher at the centre for Alcohol and Drug Studies within the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland. His research interests include novel psychoactive substances, the relationship between the Internet and drug use, and online and offline harm reduction networks.

His research to date has included investigating the impacts of mephedrone use and prohibition in the West of Scotland. He is currently researching perceptions of novel psychoactive substances in terms of harm, risk and legality, and the consequences this might have for drug using behaviour.

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Adam Winstock

HIT Seminar Archive

Prescription drug misuse kills more people in the USA than heroin. Driven by aggressive marketing by big pharma in the States and some lax prescribing supported by poor regulation, these ‘quality’ products are one of the biggest emerging drug threats in the UK.

Using data for the Global Drug Survey and clinical experience across various health care sectors, the first part of this talk focused on tramadol, gabapentin/pregabalin and the prescription opioids.

One prescription drug that regularly appears outside clinical environments is Viagra and this sexual enhancer leads us into the second part of the talk the sexual function and risks of drugs.

While sometimes drug filled experiences can be fun, often people wake up in a blur, uncertain of what has happened. These ‘mystery nights’ can be very distressing and lead to regret and unplanned ramifications, as can ‘mystery white powders’ which seem to have an attraction for so many in the UK. In the last part of the talk Adam covered harm reduction for ‘new drug virgins’ and skate over some of the novel psychoactive substances that GDS has recently written on – DMT, NMBOMe and the synthetic cannabis products.

So from pills and powders to prescriptions and pleasure we hope Adam covered something that tickles everyone’s fancy.

Speaker

Adam Winstock

Global Drug Survey Founder

Bengt Kayser

Adam is a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist based in London where is he looks after the care of people who use drugs in prison. He is also an Honorary Reader at University College London, he was previously Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. Adam has published over 100 research papers and has developed particular clinical and research expertise in the areas of cannabis, new drugs and chemsex. He is also founder and director of Global Drug Survey, the world’s biggest annual survey of drug use trends, the architect of online and smart phone apps drugs meter and Drinks Meter, and the ultra brief feedback and assessment tool for cannabis use www.saferuselimits.co

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Service Provision to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People

HIT Seminar Archive

In this Hot Topics seminar Monty and Lyn explored patterns of drug use in their respective areas and suggested tips for how drugs services can best serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Speakers

Lyn Matthews

Drugs worker & activist

Lyn has been a drugs worker for 25 years and is a harm reduction activist. She works at the Armistead Project, which provides support, information and sexual health promotion and drugs harm reduction advice to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

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Monty Moncrieff

Chief Executive London Friend

Monty is Chief Executive with London Friend and has over 15 years of experience working with LGB&T communities. Prior to London Friend he led on LGB&T equality for the Department Of Health managing a strategic national programme and working with a wide range of stakeholders, including contributions to the Government’s LGB&T action plans. He has provided training on a wide range of LGB&T issues as well as supported organisations to develop their service provision to LGB&T populations.

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Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs

HIT Seminar Archive

This Hot Topics seminar examined the emerging threat to public heath from the increasing use of enhancement drugs and the services for users of these drugs both from a worker point of view and that of someone who uses PIEDs.

Speakers

Jim McVeigh

Deputy Director/Reader in Substance Use Epidemiology

Jim’s main research area is human enhancement drug use, in particular, anabolic steroids & associated drugs, although he has an interest in all forms of drug use. Jim’s commitment to public health continues and he remain passionate about addressing health inequalities and social deprivation. Jim’s presentation, entitled Human enhancement and the pursuit of perfection, looked at the emerging threat to public health posed by the use of human enhancement drugs, which has remained largely unrecognised, in true ‘Jim’ style this included more than a few refrences to Doctor Who.

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Josie Smith

Research Scientist

Josie Smith is the Head of the Substance Misuse Programme for Public Health Wales. Josie outlined the emergence of steroids in the Welsh treatment system and the work undertaken as a result, including the creation of the SIEDinfo.co.uk (Steroids and Image Enhancing Drugs) website.

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Dave Crosland

Personal trainerl & UKBFF judge

Dave Crosland is a personal trainer, model and UKBFF judge, he also runs a private harm redcution subscription service for people in the body building community. Dave gave a perspective on why people choose to take steroids and how services might best meet their needs.

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Introduction to Ketamine

HIT Seminar Archive

Ketamine is a very unusual drug with unique properties that divide the conscious from the unconscious. In the 1970s it attracted enthusiast psychonaughters who explored the spiritual realms or unconscious states accessed through the use of ketamine. In the 1990s a new generation of ketamine takers emerged who used small doses of ketamine to enhance dancing to house music either as an adjunct to ecstasy (MDMA) or on its own. Most recently a new generation has engaged in ketamine with an intensity and frequency that plays up the dark sides of ketamine. Repeated use is also associated with the development of ketamine bladder syndrome and ketamine dependency syndrome, two phenomena not routinely experienced by the first two generations of ketamine users.

This seminar gave participants a grounding in ketamine use and covered the following areas:

  • Ketamine effects and users
  • Management of ketamine casualties
  • Ketamine and chronic health problems (bladders, cramps, dependency)
  • Harm reduction strategies

Speakers

Mat Southwell

Freelance Researcher and Trainer

Mat has sustained an interest in developing collaborative peer and professional responses to new drugs trends and stimulant drugs. He has a particular interest in ketamine and recently gave evidence to the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Working Group on Ketamine. Mat is also an experienced drug policy and drugs/HIV global advocate.

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