An innovative online therapy to help people reduce or stop their use of cannabis was launched today in Auckland.
PotHelp.org.nz — produced by the New Zealand Drug Foundation and funded by the Ministry of Health — is an online resource for people looking to address the impact that their cannabis use has on them and the people around them.
Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said PotHelp features compelling stories from people about the highs and lows of their cannabis use and their journey through treatment.
“The stories are from gutsy New Zealanders who stepped forward to share their experience, insight and hope on how they have successfully tackled dependency on cannabis or are somewhere near beginning that journey,” Mr Bell said.
“People who are serious about cutting back or giving up cannabis will be able to work their way through the PotHelp online therapy with the support of these stories.”
Mr Bell said the PotHelp online therapy had been developed by addiction prevention and treatment professionals.
“PotHelp’s online therapy brings a proven approach for beating drug dependency to the web. A 14 part workplan will help people to change their relationship with cannabis for the better and gauge their progress,” Mr Bell said.
“It’s easy for people to look at part of the programme or sign-up to go through all the steps.
“PotHelp adds to the number of ways people can access help. People are increasingly looking for help online, so this resource, the first online addiction therapy tool in New Zealand, helps people access support in the way they want it.
“The service is totally private and confidential. There is no need to disclose personal information to use PotHelp and any information people do provide when registering is to ensure that they are real life humans. The Drug Foundation will never access records in a way that could reveal the identity of people who have registered, nor will we share or transfer personal information.
“The Drug Foundation has a track record of providing strong responses to help reduce use and lower drug demand with our other online resources DrugHelp.org.nz and MethHelp.org.nz.”
Mr Bell said that as this was an innovative approach the Drug Foundation will be responsive to feedback from people using the website and would look to continually improve PotHelp.
Some thoughts about cannabis use and the PotHelp site shared by the people interviewed for PotHelp:
“Those momentous cravings disappear, and you’re free and there’s nothing in the world that feels as good as that.”
“They talk about marijuana being the softer drug. That’s what makes it so dangerous, because people have a disregard for it.”
“Something clicked in us and it just said: That’s it; it’s time. And I celebrate every day for that.”
What is PotHelp?
PotHelp is an online resource which will help people reduce or stop their use of cannabis. People who have experienced the downsides of using cannabis share their experience, insight, and hope as people who access the site work through a programme which will help them through their process.
What is the online therapy tool and how does it work?
The PotHelp online therapy tool is a set of 14 exercises which help people gain insight into their own cannabis use and provide a pathway to reduce or stop using cannabis. The exercises are supported by a journal and mood diary soPotHelp users can keep track of their progress and see improvement.
For more details about the specific steps visit https://pothelp.org.nz/the-programme
The online therapy tool was designed by addiction treatment specialists.
Is PotHelp confidential?
Yes. There is no need to disclose personal information to use the site. Any information that people do provide when registering is to ensure that they are real life humans. The Drug Foundation will never access records in a way that could reveal the identity of people who have registered, nor will we share or transfer personal information.
Who is PotHelp for?
PotHelp is for anyone who thinks that getting high is no longer working for them, and who want you want help to cut back or quit.
Are the stories real?
Yes. The stories are raw authentic accounts by people who have experienced the downsides of using cannabis. They are gutsy New Zealanders who want to break the taboo around talking about pot and share their experience, insight and hope.
What’s the evidence for this approach?
Using the web to offer self-help tools for drug addiction is a new field. The available evidence shows that online support tools can provide valuable support for many people with different sorts of addictions.
Like similar online tools for smoking cessation and positive mental health, PotHelp is based on established treatment methods that work in the 'real' world.
Does this encourage or normalise cannabis use?
No. People are already using cannabis in New Zealand and this tool is designed to support people to decrease their use or stop completely.
What about people who aren’t on the internet?
PotHelp is another option for people who are seeking help to reduce or stop their use of cannabis. As people are using the internet more to seek help for addiction, PotHelp fills this space to ensure that no matter where people look they will be able to find help.
In the future PotHelp will also be offered as a workbook and DVD for those people who cannot access the online programme or prefer a different approach.
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