Steroid use and the use of other performance & image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) have been on the rise in the UK for a number of years now. We even have services reporting that over 50% of new injectors visiting their needle programmes come from these groups.
But in most services workers are being given very little guidance on the types of advice they should give, and most paperwork used is the standard paperwork that is used for opiate injectors. This has resulted in both steroid users and workers having very little confidence in the quality of the harm reduction advice being given.
To help try and address this I've developed a PIED assessment tool.
This tool has already been trailed in a busy needle programme that has a high proportion of steroid use, and both workers and injectors have said how much of an improvement it is to have an assessment written specifically for PIED use. (Please note that as well as this tool I have also developed a PIED Outcomes Tool, have a look at both and see which one you think fits your service better).
What's in it
As with all downloads on Injecting Advice.com this assessment comes with extensive worker guidance notes that help you understand how it should be completed and what associated advice you should think of giving.
The main categories in the assessment are:
- Cycle details
- Goals of use
- Diet & exercise
- Injecting sites & physical health
- Disposal & storage
- Side effects
- Vaccination & testing
- Other substance use
As well as the assessment itself there is also a steroid specific casenote sheet for each time someone visits to allow you to work well with changing goals and use. I've also included links though to more resources that workers will find of help when working with this group.
This assessment has taken months of work and testing to develop so I'm really looking forward to hearing what people think of it. If you have comments or even if you are just thinking of using it in your service please let me know.
Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice.com. He's been working in harm reduction since the 1990's, although he's previously a frontline needle programme worker he now spends most of his time developing online resources for drugs workers and users.