Solution Focused Workshop Engaging young people in contact with the criminal justice system in drug interventions www.eppic-project.eu @eppic_project
EPPIC – Exchanging Prevention practices on Polydrug use among Youth in Criminal justice systems Funded by: Third EU Health Programme (2014-2020): Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) Duration: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2019 Co-ordinator: Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Middlesex University (UK) • Change Grow Live (UK) • HOT (UK) • Aarhus University (Denmark) • European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (Austria) • Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Germany) • Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology (Poland) • Eclectica (Italy)
What we did What we asked about • Young People • 1 to 1 interviews = 38 • Focus Group x 1 = 6 participants • Professionals • 1 to 1 interviews = 19 • Focus Group x 1 = 6 participants • Experiences with drugs/alcohol • Experiences with YJS • Experiences and thoughts about interventions, support etc. • Types of interventions, support etc. • Prevention Vs Harm reduction • Views on support needs of YP in YJS
What we found out: Substance use • Reasons for trying drugs were varied; • Curiosity • Mental health difficulties • Peer pressure • Boredom Wide range of substances experimented with over time: attitudes to different drugs influence this – e.g. Cannabis not always seen as ‘real’ drug Average age of first use drugs/alcohol 12 – 13 years old Wide range of offences/referral conditions, not all related to drug use Cannabis – most common
Engaging with services – young people’s and professional’s views
Coming into services – initial engagement • Coercive or Voluntary engagement • Our sample – attending substance use services as part of court order – what impact does this potentially have on engagement? • Relationship building • Issues of trust, confidentiality, associations with justice system • Understanding • Having ‘lived experience’ – taking account of wider contexts and experiences of YP • Listening • Working ‘with’ not ‘on’ YP who have involvement with multiple services that may have been negative experiences.
What young people said What professionals said ‘You have to ask them why they do it [take drugs], that’s the first question that you have to ask them’ (male, 17) ‘Don’t treat young people like they’re idiots…all they’re going to do is shut you and resent you. You lecture them and they think ‘this person thinks I’m an idiot’. Approach them as a friend, approach as someone who cares and if you don’t care, don’t work in the field’ (male, 18) ‘[young people think] ‘I’m getting listened to for the first time in my life, somebody is listening to me’. That’s when a relationship happens and that’s when a connection happens and it’s all about relationships’ (Project manager) ‘So if a young person is just referred into me and it isn’t supported and isn’t informed. Firstly what are they being referred into, or even why? So they just all of a sudden are expected to see me that can have a big impact.’ (Youth worker)
Maintaining Engagement • Challenges and barriers • Finding the right language to communicate with each other • Access and availability • Knowing that support is available when it’s needed, having access throughout from prevention to problematic use • Controlling decisions • YP being allowed to have control over sessions, discussion and decisions made about their support and outcomes
What young people said What professionals said ‘…coming and sitting down and talking about it and knowing that you’re not here to criticise me. You’re here to kind of help me and talk about it sort of thing… So it has helped quite a lot to come talk about it, because it’s a lot more off my mind really, you know.’ (male, 16) ‘I can just click with [drugs worker]. He’s an ex-drug user himself so he’s easy to speak to and just tells you things…So if you start using drugs again, remember you can’t use as much as you were using because you’re not immune to them’ (male, 21) ‘So even though they are on a court order and they have to see me, you know within that session what they choose to talk to me about, what they choose to work on, what they show interest in etc., that’s really what I’m trying to respond to. So it is a lot about their choice and their engagement’ (Youth worker in YOS) ‘My young person who comes and sits with me and she’s told him that she wants out, she wants to do something. Then you’ve got to do it. You can’t just listen to her and build her hopes up and then totally dash her expectations. Oh I’m not following that through by delivering that service to her. I think that’s where sometimes it falls down’ (Substance use worker)
Challenges and solutions • Inappropriate referrals • When YP are referred to services they don’t want or need • Complexity of support needs • Increasing number of YP have multiple support needs of which substance use is just one • Having something to work towards • Having defined goals with ongoing support to achieve them, guidance on practical ways to change • Ways of communicating • Being flexible, understanding different communication needs of YP and responding appropriately
What young people say What professionals say ‘I was a young lad that didn’t want to speak to her [social worker] and her whole job was to be there to support me and all that stuff. But it was obvious that she didn’t care, do you know what I mean? So all that was, was two people that didn’t want to be speaking to each other, meeting every week and then we’d just say the same things’. (male, 17) ‘It’s about being with that person, being with them, not doing stuff to them, being with them. What do you want? Well actually I need this – right okay. Is it alright if I do that, help you out with that – yeah of course. I think there’s a lot of organisations that it’s again doing things to people’ (Youth worker in YOS)
Key Points from Scottish Interviews • Young people, particularly those with chaotic use, had experienced multiple traumas • Some young people described ‘turning points’ in their lives which lead to them increasing and decreasing substance use • Some young people discussed the high availability of drugs in their community or peer group • Some young people felt that interventions only became available for them when they started offending • Young people had a need for practical support around housing, education & employment
Working in four groups- you’ll each be given a poster, post-its and pens • You’ll have ten minutes to discuss the topic as a group, or with people near you, and write down your ideas on the post-its and attach to the poster • After ten minutes, you’ll pass on your poster to the next table and start on the next poster until you’ve seen all four • Round up: each group will feedback two important points from their current poster • The posters will be displayed at the break so you can see everyone’s ideas
Poster 1: Defining Engagement What does ‘engagement’ mean to you? Working on your own, please define this in a few phrases/ sentences on your sticky note and place on the poster. Discuss your definitions with each other. Poster 2: Beginning of the intervention Practitioners: How do you engage young people/hook them into the intervention? What methods/techniques do you use? Young people: What would put you off going to an intervention/service? What would make you attend/go to an intervention in the first place? Poster 3: During the Intervention Practitioners: How do you keep young people in your service? What methods work well? How do you deal with dis-engagement? How do you deal with re-engagement (young people who are referred or come back again)? Young people: What makes you decide to stop attending an intervention? What makes you want to continue attending an intervention? Poster 4: After the intervention Practitioners & young people: After the intervention, what would good practice look like? Follow-up? Aftercare? How do you engage other services?
What’s next? @eppic_project