01.09.2012 Online self-management course for cocaine users

Snow Control": the online Snow Control course helps cocaine users in their efforts to reduce their intake – or to achieve abstinence.

Pictures Online self-management course for cocaine users


Either abstinence or nothing: such all-or-nothing thinking has long since given way to more differentiated target-setting in many areas of addiction treatment. Therapies such as heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) or substitution programmes (e.g. with methadone) are cases in point. Their initial aims are harm reduction and stabilisation. The decision on whether abstinence should be the next goal is made on a case-by-case basis. Besides managed treatments, programmes are now available that are based entirely on self-management. The "Berner Gesundheit" (Bernese Health) Foundation, for instance, offers a programme on controlling alcohol consumption. Another programme, "Realize it", involves cannabis users managing their intake themselves. Now, with "Snow Control", an online course is available in which cocaine users themselves control their consumption of the drug.

Six-week online course
Snow Control essentially pursues the same goal as other self-management programmes in the field of substance abuse: achieving disciplined, planned and limited use of the substance. Those interested can sign up for a six-week, web-based course at www.snowcontrol.ch. They have to define their cocaine consumption targets on a week-by-week basis. With the help of a diary of cocaine use and graphic illustrations, one mouse click shows them whether or not they have met their target. This raises the participants' awareness of their drug use. To intensify their engagement with the drug and their own behaviour, they work their way through eight modules concerned with topics such as risk situations, setbacks, cravings or stress situations. This process enables them to strengthen their motivation to bring about change and helps them to develop the self-management skills they need in order to reduce their cocaine use or achieve abstinence.

Funded, free of charge and anonymous
Snow Control is a project run by ARUD Zurich (Centres for Addiction Medicine) and ISGF (Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction) in Zurich. It is a self-help programme based on scientifically sound approaches used in cognitive behavioural therapy and on self-management principles and the relapse-prevention model. The course is free of charge and anonymous: participants are not required to enter any personal data, all course data are stored on security servers and accounts are password-protected.

Managed substance use: links on the topic:
Cocaine: www.snowcontrol.ch
Cannabis: www.realize-it.ch
Illegal drugs in general:
Alcohol: www.kontrolliertes-trinken.de and http://www.bernergesundheit.ch/de/unsere_angebote/suchtberatung.17/themen.1875/alkohol.59.html


Astrid Wüthrich, Drugs Section, astrid.wuethrich@bag.admin.ch

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