Netreach Work: Implementing Web-based Harm Reduction Interventions with Online Drug Users

The globalisation process and new technologies paved the way for the emergence of empowered and global online drug cultures and shaped the way people purchase and use drugs, search for drug information, and discuss and share drug use practices and knowledge with their peers. This growing reality is opening up a new field of intervention, and harm reduction professionals should equip themselves to respond to this reality.

This paper presents “netreach work” as an intervention framework that adapts the harm reduction and outreach philosophy and practices to the online environment. Two netreach interventions are presented and described: the harm reduction intervention of Fernando Caudevilla as Doctor X in the Deep Web marketplace forums and the planning and experience of the netreach intervention of Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento – APDES – under the European project “New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) among Problem Drug Users”. These interventions have the potential to reach online drug users. In this sense they can be a complementary methodology to enrich the outreach interventions and to respond to the challenges posed by both NPS and technological developments.

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