The Medical Director of Humankind has been invited to take part in an International conference to discuss the charity’s unique, community-based approach to the growing problem of Novel Psychoactive Substances which include Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor agonists, known on the UK streets as "Spice ".
Dr Roya Vaziri will lead a Humankind team at the sixth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) which will be held on the 8th and 9th April 2019 at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
The conference, which has delegates from all over the world, aims to share knowledge and strengthen collaboration on NPS among multi-disciplinary professionals.
Two key pieces of Humankind work will be presented – a collaborative approach to tackle the NPS problem led by Humankind’s Forward Leeds service and a new clinical reduction and detoxification pathway.
Forward Leeds harm reduction workers and service users raised the need for new pathways of treatment for “Spice” to reduce individuals’ use and for detoxification. Action was needed to address service users’ complex needs, especially of those rough sleeping, because of the impact of drug related harms and the effect on local and NHS resources.
A multi-disciplinary task and finish group evolved a flexible and rapid response treatment pathway using available service resources and psycho-social treatment interventions.
The new reduction and medically assisted detoxification programme is community based, avoiding admission to inpatient beds, with treatment and support received from the Forward Leeds hubs.
Among the Humankind team involved are Service Clinical Director Dr Mark Hallam, Operations Director for Leeds, Lee Wilson and Forward Leeds team manager, Eleanor Conway.
Dr Vaziri said: “We have listened to the voices of our service users who want effective help and through our workers in the community have identified those who need new ways to support their needs.
“The unique aspect of the approach we are taking has already supported those wishing to reduce and stop their “Spice” use. Different teams are working together and, there is growing evidence to suggest we are having a positive effect.”
Dr Vaziri said the support of Leeds City Council and their understanding of the population had been a driving force in the work undertaken and developed.
She said: “A growing number of individuals have successfully gone through the reduction and detoxification pathway. The council’s weekly count of rough sleepers in the city show their numbers are reducing, with more rough sleepers accessing services.”
The multi-disciplinary team approach comprises of complex case workers (these workers support service users into existing services and address barriers to entering services), specialist housing workers who can arrange quick access to housing, a mental health social worker who can assess people’s mental health on the city’s streets and police officers. “
Dr Vaziri added: “We hope to discuss our model at the conference, gain further knowledge and hear the views and experience of other professionals worldwide.”
The conference is jointly organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), University of Hertfordshire, University of Maastricht.