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Brain Sci. 2018, 8(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8040058

Exploration of the Use of New Psychoactive Substances by Individuals in Treatment for Substance Misuse in the UK

1
Addaction, 67-69 Cowcross St., London EC1M 6PU, UK
2
Psychopharmacology, Drug Misuse and Novel Psychoactive Substances Research Unit, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
3
Pharmacy Department, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract

Substance misuse services need to meet the growing demand and needs of individuals using new psychoactive substances (NPS). A review of the literature identified a paucity of research regarding NPS use by these individuals and UK guidelines outline the need for locally tailored strategies. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and explore key themes in relation to the use of NPS by individuals receiving community treatment for their substance use. Electronic records identified demographics and semi-structured interviews were undertaken. A thematic analysis of transcripts identified a variety of substance use histories; 50% were prescribed opiate substitutes and 25% used NPS as a primary substance. All were males, age range 26–59 years (SD = 9), who predominantly smoked cannabinoids and snorted/injected stimulant NPS. The type of NPS used was determined by affordability, availability, side-effect profile and desired effects (physical and psychological: 25% reported weight loss as motivation for their use). Poly-pharmacy, supplementation and displacement of other drugs were prevalent. In conclusion, NPS use and associated experiences vary widely among people receiving substance use treatment. Development of effective recovery pathways should be tailored to individuals, and include harm reduction strategies, psychosocial interventions, and effective signposting. Services should be vigilant for NPS use, “on top” use and diversion of prescriptions. View Full-Text
Keywords: new psychoactive substances; substance use; cannabinoids; stimulants; substance misuse services; substance use treatment; psychosocial interventions; harm reduction new psychoactive substances; substance use; cannabinoids; stimulants; substance misuse services; substance use treatment; psychosocial interventions; harm reduction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gittins, R.; Guirguis, A.; Schifano, F.; Maidment, I. Exploration of the Use of New Psychoactive Substances by Individuals in Treatment for Substance Misuse in the UK. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 58.

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