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PREPARE Research Network

As part of the funding initiative on the mental health of refugees of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the five-year collaborative project PREPARE (Prevention and Treat-ment of Substance Use Disorders in Refugees) started at the beginning of February 2019. The project is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of addiction problems in people with a refugee background and is composed of four sub-projects around the topic of addiction & flight. In addition to the Center for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research (ZIS) at the University of Hamburg, which coordinates the research network, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences NRW, the Technical University of Berlin, the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences are involved, as well as practical partners in the metropolitan regions throughout Germany.


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Subproject 1: Assessment of substance use and principles of good practice in support services

To date, there is little reliable information on substance-related disorders among people with a history of flight. The subproject therefore aims to identify groups at risk and substances used, substance-related problems and factors leading to use in seven major cities and one associated rural region.

In addition, strategies of "good practice" in addiction care for refugees in Germany will be identified and the addiction care in Germany will be surveyed to what extent these strategies are already applied in practice.

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Subproject 2: Diagnosis of substance use among refugees

This project within the framework of the PREPARE research network is intended to help record substance use in refugees in a way that is adapted to the target group. This goal will be achieved in different steps. These include the creation of an overview of existing survey instruments, as well as the selection, cultural adaptation and validation of an instrument that is considered suitable by experts and refugees.

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Subproject 3: BePrepared - Culturally Sensitive Digital Brief Intervention to Reduce Problematic Alcohol and Cannabis Use

In the subproject BePrepared, a culturally sensitive digital brief intervention - in the form of a smartphone app - is being developed and evaluated for young refugees with problematic alcohol and cannabis use. The BePrepared app is free, anonymous and available in five languages: in Arabic, German, English, Farsi and Pashto. The intervention's digital and culturally sensitive approach contributes to addiction prevention among the hard-to-reach and underserved population of young refugees.

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Subproject 4: Effectiveness of a culturally sensitive treatment program for refugees with addiction problems and post-traumatic stress.

In subproject 4, the effectiveness of an integrative group therapy approach (STARK) is being investigated for refugees with stressful symptoms following traumatic experiences and risky substance use or an addiction disorder. This is a culturally sensitive, cross-disorder group therapy offer that aims to improve affect regulation.

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