Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and some Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), are commonly used drugs in Europe. There is limited evidence on what shapes the course of individual ATS use over the lifetime, although the theoretical literature suggests the influence of a range of factors, including individual differences, sociocultural dynamics, and environment. To support the development of tailored, evidence-based treatment services, there is a need for more empirical data to help us better understand potential risk and/or resilience factors that might contribute to individual ATS use trajectories. Practitioners, service providers and ATS users themselves have a vital role to play in shaping this discussion.
This session draws on the findings from the ongoing multinational ERANID/Department of Health ‘ATTUNE’ project and N8 policing partnership funded NPS work to explore different ATS use careers, with a particular focus on North East England. We will draw on a range of in-depth qualitative material to consider which factors appear to contribute to the development of risky drug use patterns in some individuals, and which factors appear to facilitate change toward less risky drug use patterns in others. We will explore the relationship that traditional ATS users have with licit substances (in particular alcohol) and with the rapidly changing NPS scene.
(1) results from a systematic review of qualitative literature on factors shaping ATS-use careers;
(2) key themes from in-depth interviews with ATS and NPS users in the North East exploring experiences of drug use over time;
(3) personal narrative on ATS-use from a local ex-user. The symposium will conclude with a panel Q&A session where participants will be asked to reflect on the presentations and encouraged to consider how policy makers and practitioners might improve ATS prevention programs in the future.