Implementation and evaluation of the Self-Control Information Programme

Research Period

1 January 2002 - 31 March 2004


European Union



Key Words

self-control, treatment, feasibility study


Self Control Information Program

In the past, drug abuse has been viewed as morally wrong or the result of a disease, and total abstinence from drug use was seen as the only reasonable solution. These views do not entertain the possibility that a drug addict can successfully reduce the amount or frequency of intake or reduce the harmful consequences of the drug-taking behaviour. Alternative models come to be viewed as a necessary approach, primarly due to the problems surrounding drug abuse, such as the spread of HIV/AIDS and the nuisance caused to the environment. In cooperation with the Jellinek in Amsterdam, a self-control-enhancing information programme (SCIP), adopting a non-moralistic view on drug abuse, has been developed by the University of Nijmegen and the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research (AIAR). This programme aims to help drug addicts accelerate natural recovery processes by

  1. Helping ad-dicts to realistically assess both the advantages and disadvantages of drug use and those of 'kicking the habit', rather than focusing exclusively on the disadvantages of continued use;
  2. Helping them to view 'kicking the habit' as a process that can be gradual, rather than all-or-none;
  3. Helping addicts to view controlled use that is integrated within the context of a conventional lifestyle as a success in the right direction,
  4. Helping them to assess the present quality of their life and compare it with the life that they are striving for; and
  5. Helping them to formulate a step-by-step strategy for attaining the quality of life for which they are striving.

The intervention, called Self-Control Information Programme (SCIP), uses a motivation-to-change enhancing booklet Kicking the habit: an upward spiral in four guided sessions with drug-abusing clients. It is suitable for low-threshold treatment, proven effective among others in penitentiaries. The SCIp is now translated into English, German, and recently Spanish.

Project Aims

The major aim of the study is to implement and scientifically evaluate the effectiveness of a promising self-control intervention for reducing the harmful effects of drug abuse in the European Community. Five Member States participate, including Belgium, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and Wales (United Kingdom).


In two EU member states (the Netherlands and Wales) a controlled study on the efficacy of SCIP is conducted. The methodology of this controlled study includes a 2 (Country) X 2 (Experimental or Control Group) design, with repeated measures at two points in time (baseline and post-intervention) with in total 166 drug abusers per site, given enough statistical power to show the moderate effects that can be expected. Groups of drug abusers will be randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group (no intervention).


In Belgium, Germany and Greece feasibility studies are performed in a pre- and post intervention design with around 25 subjects in each state. The design of these studies will be comparable with the design of the original Dutch study (Cramer & Schippers 1994; 1996)


In Belgium, the feasibility study is supervised by the Institute for Social drug Research (ISD). The SCIP-programme will be administered to approximately 25 clients attending a local low-threshold treatment centre for drug users in Antwerp (Free Clinic).

Research Questions

  • What changes in cognitions, attitude, behavior and quality of life do the SCIP- participants undergo from before the intervention to postintervention assessment?
  • What are similarities and differences between the outcome measures in the various countries?
  • What is the satisfaction of clients and service providers with the SCIP?
  • What (other) conditions help or inhibit SCIP-intervention effects?
  • Integrity of service provision in the various countries?

Inclusie Criteria

A history of DSM-IV or ICD-10 dependency of at least the past year

Written informed consent

Valorisation: publications and lectures

DECORTE, T., VANDER ELST, D., SLOCK,S. & VAN GOETHEM, F. (2003), Implementation and evaluation of the Self-Control Information Program. Country report for Belgium MSOC-Free Clinic. Gent: ISD.