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Responding to problematic substance use

Knowledge, skills and confidence

In your day-to-day work in your organisation you may come across people and whānau impacted by problematic substance use. This may be behaviour related to intoxication, physical harm or substance withdrawal. Knowing how to respond and what you can do to support the person and whānau will mean the person can get the support they need safely and quickly.

Te Pou has developed two workshops to increase knowledge, skills and confidence in knowing how to recognise and respond to problematic substance use if you work in a community based organisation or work in a more clinical setting.

If you are new to understanding addiction and recovery, we recommend you attend Blueprint for Learning's workshop Addiction 101. Addiction 101 is a one-day workshop designed to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with addiction - both at work and in everyday life. Addiction 101 is delivered as a free one-day introductory workshop or series of online workshops.

How to help with substance use impacts

How to help with substance use impacts is a workshop for workers in community organisations who already have some basic understanding of problematic substance use. The workshop will help workers to:

  • recognise harmful and risky substance use
  • respond safely to substance use issues
  • understand harm reduction approaches
  • support safer withdrawal management.

The workshop will also explore:

  • practical strategies to support an intoxicated person with disturbed behaviour
  • how to support a person in withdrawal from alcohol, methamphetamine, and synthetic cannabinoids
  • how to provide harm reduction advice.

Substance use, intoxication and withdrawal management

Substance use, intoxication and withdrawal management is a workshop for workers in more clinical settings. The workshop will help workers to:

  • understand the function of substance use and the impact of stigma on help seeking
  • recognise harmful and risky substance use
  • develop practical strategies to assess and manage behavioural disturbance due to intoxication and withdrawal
  • recognise and respond to withdrawal.

The workshops will also explore:

  • how to engage with people who use substances
  • what is harm reduction
  • how to provide harm reduction advice for people who continue to use substances
  • how to refer to specialist addiction services
  • other community supports.

This workshop is currently undergoing review and its content will be updated in the near future. In the meantime, the workshop is still available.

Upcoming workshops

Workshop evaluations

Since 2021, Te Pou has been delivering the responding to substance intoxication and withdrawal management workshops for people working in community settings and people working in mental health and addiction services. The workshop aims to enhance people’s knowledge to respond safely to people involved in problematic substance use. People who completed the workshops provided evaluation feedback about their learning which has been summarised in an evaluation report from feedback received between December 2021 to December 2022. For further information please contact Jason Jones on

Find out more

The workshops can be delivered face to face as a one-day workshop in a region or as a series of three 2-hour webinars over the course of 3 weeks.

Please contact to find out more information and if your organisation and others in your community would like to attend either workshop in person or online.

Jason Jones (he/him)




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