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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction


Summary Development and effectiveness testing of a web-based self-help interface with chat consultation. 
Project manager(s) Michael Schaub
Duration 10.2014 – 05.2018
Client / Funding partner(s) Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
Cooperating partner(s) ARUD Zürich, Infodrog


Web-based self-help programs can reach groups of drug users, expecially in the illegal drug field, who otherwise fear stigmatization. Such programs are easily accessible, typically available 24 hours a day, comparatively inexpensive and can be offered completely anonymously. The threshold for seeking medical help from a family doctor, for example, when problems such as addiction etc. arise is comparatively high. Initial estimates suggest that only on firth of people in treatment have problems due to their cocaine use. It is precisely here that a web-based self-help program can be a suitable instrument to supplement the existing offers, especially for those users who are at the threshold of becoming dependent. 


The aim of the Snowcontrol study is to examine the effectiveness of a web-based self-help program, through a randomized control study. The program will also be supplemented by anonymous chat consulting offered by addiction therapists. Elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and the fundamental principles of self control are used. In addition, the chat consultations are intended to improve the often dimnished social skills and networks of cocain users. 


Three-arm, randomized controlled, web-based study (self-help plus chat vs. self-help without chat vs. control condition) 


The results of the Snwocontrol study will provide information on how effetive self-help programs with anonymous chat consulting for cocaine users are and what the must consist of. If the effectiveness of the self-help surface with or without chat is evident, then it may be possible to intergrate it into the first Swiss portal for addiction topics called "Safe Zone". There it will be implemented permanently in order for Swiss Cocaine users (who do not wish to claim direct help) to seek help. 


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