NCIDU 2010 – Day One am – Involving Drug Dealers and More Than Steroids

More from the NCIDU 2010…

Day One – October 7th 2010 am

These are purely the presentations I decided to go to listen to.

You can see the full programme of speakers from Day One here.


Jim McVeigh, Head of Substance Use, Centre for Public Health, Liverpool Moores University

Gettting drug dealers involved in harm reduction

Ross Coomber spoke about a Plymouth pilot study which  involved drug dealers in harm reduction. Makes a lot of sense really doesn’t it but can’t see the Daily Mail ‘getting’ it.

The pilot study  involved engaging drug dealers who provided space for users to inject their gear. Inevitably a lot of these spaces aren’t always going to be the most hygenic and so prove an additional risk to users such as Blood Borne Viruses and infections. The premise is that if the dealers can be given access to better information, needle exchanges and so forth then those they are selling to will also be influenced to use more safely and understand why.

Dealers’ houses can essentially be public injecting galleries. Our helpful drug laws of course prevent safe areas like these being officially set up but unofficially is the only way IV users can be helped to be at less risk in terms of safer spaces. Ross also put forward the fact that not all dealers are neccessarily the media stereotype predator, especially in the case of user-dealers. Amazingly dealers are humans too, fancy that! User-dealers may only deal to a close circle of friends and aquaintances and therefore can be instrumental in promoting safer practices.

My conclusion: Controversial it may be, ‘pushing the boundaries’ of harm reduction too but anything that can reduce the transmission of blood borne viruses is another way forward. How anyone can argue against something that can save lives is beyond me. It would be a shame if this Plymouth pilot ends up a one off.

I think what ‘some’  (let’s not prejudge them all) of the general drug ignorant public may hold the view that if people want to inject then let them just catch whatever comes, it’s their own fault blah blah blah. I’ve heard this opinion being voiced in training sessions before. My response to them will always be , ‘It’s not just injecting drug users that spread BBV’s is it?’ and ‘What if it was your son or daughter? Would you want them to be using safely if they have to use at all?’. Soon shuts them up : )

Just another thought too, where would these people prefer their loved ones to be injecting (again, if they were going to anyway). In an unlit stairwell, behind a skip (see Swansea Love Story), in a dirty squat or somewhere clean and safe?

More than Anabolic Steroids

Martin Chandler gave an eye opening talk on the phenomenal amount of growth hormones and products that Steroid users are now using in addition to the Anabolic Steroids they may be taking.

A lot of these substances are used to combat the side effects of others. For example Anti-Estrogen drugs are used to combat the likelihood of gynecomastia (AKA Bitch tits or my preferred word, Moobs). Some of the side effects of Steroids are irreversible and it was amazing to learn just how many of these other Performance Enhancers there are. Not all of them illegal, some OTC, some available on dodgy websites from across Europe with  little if any advice.

Martin then went on to explain Stacking and Cycles which are the regimes users will incorporate into their day to day lives in order to acheive their desirable muscular image. It seems you have to be very organised and motivated to be a successful Steroid user. To be honest a lot of this part went over my head. Very complicated. I have to take two separate pills every morning, that’s enough for me to get my head around!!

My Conclusion: There are just so many! Services need drug workers dedicated purely to this client group. It needs to be something drug services can respond to and they need to look at ways of  getting users of Performance & Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDS) to access needle exchanges and harm reduction advice just as they would for all drugs. They will only access services if they are confident in the worker’s knowledge. A big task!

Well that’s the morning done. I’ll try my best to do the rest as soon as I can.

Peace, love and ALWAYS empathy.

Stace x



Posted on October 10, 2010, in Drugs and Alcohol, Harm Reduction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. claire Mullaney

    I personally do not think this will work!!! going from past experiences having your house as a safe place to inject or use is not an appealing prospect. Dealers are only after one thing regardless or whether they are using or not , its about making that sale and not getting caught. Having drug users using your house as a safe place only attracts more attention from the police you have to remember that they are doing something illegal that results in a prison sentence.
    This is a great idea but in reality will not work and unfortunately stair wells, public toilets and crack houses will continue to be used.With regards to using in a crack house harm reduction will not be promoted, no information will be given or clean safe paraphernalia will be supplied by the owner of the property they also are gaining from the users being there.
    Why dont we try and follow Australia and have safer injecting rooms??

    • Hi Claire thanks for your comments. I’ll post the link to the full presentation and study when it goes up on the conference website. It does seem like a good idea in theory but as you say the reality could be different. Of course injecting rooms would be a better option all round but at the moment it’s not likely is it, especially with the cuts, harm reduction initiatives are going to get a walloping anyway. It’s a shame that the UK is behind other countries in this way.

      • claire Mullaney

        Thanks Stacey, at least we are more developed in the understanding of addiction than countries like Cambodia where they have just opened up their first Methadone clinic. Prior to that its pretty horrendous what they did and how they treated people with a drug habit.

    • Hi Claire,
      listen to the presentation when it’s online – when you say “Dealers are only after one thing regardless or whether they are using or not , its about making that sale and not getting caught.” you’re over simplifying the position. That is true for some, but certainly not all as much “dealing” is actually supply between friends, and using with friendship groups is very common. the term dealer is used losely – Ross was discussing working with people who allow drug use in the place where they live… which won’t solve all the problems, but has significant potential.

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