Morph are a group of ex and on-going drug users committed to improving things for anyone still using drugs or trying to stop.

We’re not abstinence-based, nor do we condemn or condone drug use, but seek to improve health outcomes through a “Harm Reduction” approach.

Morph was started by 4 addicts (on scripts or DTTOs) in January 2004. There was a 4 – 6 month wait for treatment at the time; The New Road Centre was the only prescribing service in the city, and GPs had been instructed not to treat people for drug problems, but refer them to New Road – adding to the problem. These addicts thought this situation was unacceptable and decided to form a group and try and do something to reduce the wait.

Support for individual members is really a by-product of the group, rather than it’s main function, which is to represent the best interests of those still using.

MEETINGS (1pm – 3pm Monday afternoon at the Voluntary Action Centre)

Meetings are held every Monday afternoon during our “Drop-in” sessions and are open to anyone. There is no formal agenda, we discuss whatever presents itself. No-one is expected to say anything if they don’t want to.

One thing we do ask of people is to bear in mind that we’re providing a ‘safe’ [drug free] environment for people wanting peer-support and an alternative activity to drug use. Please don’t turn up stoned or drunk. Take 5 minutes to self-assess whether you’re in the right frame of mind to attend – you can always come next week!

If these meetings get too rowdy or chaotic (a very unusual occurrence) we elect a temporary chairperson for the duration of that meeting. This then ‘dissolves’ at the end of that meeting, and we revert to our normal, more egalitarian position.

So far we’ve managed to operate a 100% consensus system of decision making. We don’t really want to do anything that the group members don’t support and we keep discussing something contentious until we all agree. We don’t see the need for any form of hierarchy at this level.

We believe everyone has a right to express themselves and be heard. This should be respected at all times. We can refund travel costs to and from meetings. Speak to a co-ordinator about this and keep any tickets or receipts.

By drug we mean any substance used to alter or affect the users mind, body or spirit – including alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, prescription meds etc.

morph represent Drug/Service Users at various meetings, forums and committees locally, regionally and nationally, including:

HUF (Hampshire User Forum) – monthly
SEUGF (South East User Group Forum) – 3 monthly
DAT (Drug Action Team) meetings – 2 monthlyDARG (Drug & Alcohol Reference Group) – 3 monthly
TCSG (Treatment & Care Sub Group) – 3 monthly
HARG (Hampshire Advocacy Regional Group) – 2 monthly

We also host and attend conferences, events etc, produce Morphin – our monthly-ish newsletter, have a resource library of drug/treatment related literature etc, and relay “Bad Gear E-mail Warnings” to local services and staff to alert users.