Meeting in Venice (Italy), 28th to 30th of March 2022

Topic: New psychoactive Substances and social environment

The LTTA on “New psychoactive Substances and social environment”, organized by Comunità di Venezia Società Cooperativa Sociale took place from March 28 to 30 in Venice.

This LTTA addressed the possibilities and strategies for incorporating the social environment (parents, partners, and coworkers, among others) in the treatment of NPS users.

Stefania Zennaro and Federica Ferraro from the Comunità di Venezia delivered their paper on the engagement of addicts’ families in counselling and treatment services on the first day of our meeting. They also discussed their own organizational experiences in this subject.

Following that, the participants worked in small groups to further their research on the topic of “How can the social environment be included in therapy and treatment programs?”

On the second day of our meeting, the collected results were presented. We next reviewed the opportunities and limitations of working with family of addiction patients, particularly NPS users, in the plenary.

The categories for these presentations were divided based on the countries that participated. This allowed us to directly compare which differences, similarities, or novel approaches to social environment inclusion prevail in various treatment or counselling concepts and contexts in the respective countries.

We were already working on the last procedures for the publishing and distribution of the staff questionnaire during the last LTTA in Madeira. The responses to the questionnaire should provide us with information regarding the experiences of addiction treatment center staff in dealing with NPS and their users. Handle it! participants distributed this questionnaire in their various countries.

We were able to examine the staff questionnaire and deliver the preliminary results to the participants at our project’s final meeting in Venice. The examination revealed how many institutions are dealing with novel psychoactive substances, as well as how current and significant the project’s topic is.

The Handle it! conference concluded with a closing round in which we collectively commented on the project’s collected findings and results and drew attention to the project’s distribution prospects.

We would like to thank all participants for their involvement in the Handle it! project, for their collaboration and dedication, as well as for the time and work they put in outside of the Learning Teaching Training Activities.

staff survey

Dr. Dirk Kratz, Leader of “Therapieverbund Ludwigsmühle” (Germany), provides a summary of the staff questionnaire evaluation so far in the project’s final LTTA. The questionnaire was developed in working groups and delivered in each country by Handle it! participants. This enabled us to learn more about employee inquiries and perspectives on NPS issues. The questionnaire provides insight into NPS best practices, existing staff knowledge, and how NPS work could be improved further.

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Outpatient therapy that incorporates the social environment

Luca Timar (social worker at “Megálló Csoport Alaptvány”) discusses the current state of offerings for drug users’ social environments (e.g. spouse, husband, parents, children) in her facility. She reports on clientele who are becoming younger by the day. As a result, it is becoming increasingly vital to integrate clients’ social environments and families in outpatient therapy and preventative programs.

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Families and co-dependency

Julian Kindermann and Laura Vatrova of “Therapiesalon im Wald” discuss the need of integrating family members in inpatient therapy programs to educate/inform them about NPS and co-dependency.

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