Drug Idle

Contact name: 
David Wood (First and corresponding author), Paul I. Dargan (Last Author)
DW: Consultant Physician and Clinical Toxicologist
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH, UK



Recreational drug use is particularly common in those attending nightclubs. Their knowledge about the potential toxicity of drugs and how to manage this is variable.


To improve the knowledge about the potential toxicity associated with the use of recreational drugs / novel psychoactive substances (NPS), especially knowlegdge concerning management of drug toxicity.


A multidisciplinary local network of key stakeholders interested in the prevention and management of recreational drug toxicity was established. Through this network an outreach educational concept was designed, Drug Idle, for recreational drug users (MSM) and their friends. This was run within nightclub environments in a user-friendly, non-judgemental forum.


149 attended the three Drug Idle events as part of this study. All of those trialling the finalized concept (43 attendees) thought all three components of the concept were useful, 96% that it was of appropriate duration and 98,8% that they would recommend future events to a friend.


It is assumed, that wider use of this outreach educational concept will help to improve the knowledge of those using recreational drugs, especially concerning management of drug toxicity. Additionally, it will provide them with information that will enable them to make informed decisions about the risk of continuing use of recreational drugs.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Educational prevention, Outreach
Problem addressed
Illegal drugs, NPS
Intervention setting
Club/ disco/ afters
Target population

Local men who have sex with men (MSM) nightclub/late night attendees.

Substances adressed
Recreational drugs
Research Chemicals / NPS
Strategic target group (social agents acting as intermediaries between intervention and target group)

Local stakeholders (local club owners/promoters, clinical toxicologists, specialists in Poisons Information, Emergency Department personnel, ambulance staff, local police enforcement services, analytical toxicologist, local outreach services for the MSM community, journalist and DJ on the MSM club scene.

Intervention activities
Providing information
Drug awareness event
Drug awareness event, hosted by a well known DJ and journalist. Three activities were performed during the event:interactive quiz: randomly selected questions were asked by the host, prizes were provided by sponsors for answers;Breakout workshop: how to manage an unwell individual focusing on demonstrating and practicing the use of the "recovery" position;Ask the panel anything-session
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Not available.

Number of people needed
Not specified.
Specific training required?
It appears that experts and host need training for the event.
Time required to run
2-3 hours
Other resource requirements

Non-judgemental setting (i.e. a MSM nightclub) for the event.

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process evaluation based on quantitative data.
Activities evaluated

Whole Drug Idle event and development of the concept.

Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
Information not available.
Evaluation results (Process evaluation)

Evaluation of the finalized Drug Idle concept that was adjusted according to the comments of the participants:43 attendees, 79% answered the questionnaire. 100% felt that the information provided within the sessions was useful. No suggestions to change.75% rated the duration of the event as appropriate85% would recommend future events (1,2% not because they can be identified as recreational drug users by this)100% felt that questions of the interactive quiz were appropriate and 98% felt comfortable asking questions in scope of the ask the panel anything session.

Evaluation results (Outcome evaluation)

Not applicable.

Evaluation results (Cost effectiveness)

Not applicable.

Evaluation results (Other)

Not applicable.

Evaluation references

Wood DM, Who S, Alldus G, Huggett D, Nicolaou M, Chapman K, Oakley M, Bessim E, Julian K, Sturgeon K, Ramsey JD, Dargan PI (2010). The development of the recreational drug outreach educational concept Drug Idle. Journal of Substance Use, 15(4), 237-245.

An abstract for this journal article can be found in the HNT literature section here