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Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Jan 15, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Jan 15, 2020 - Mar 11, 2020
(currently open for review)

My Understanding of Drug Use Experiences (MiUSE): a protocol for the development of a digitally delivered harm reduction intervention for students in higher education.

  • Samantha Dick; 
  • Vasilis S Vasiliou; 
  • Martin P Davoren; 
  • Samantha Dockray; 
  • Ciara Heavin; 
  • Conor Linehan; 
  • Michael Byrne; 



Digital interventions have been identified as a possible tool in the reduction of harm from illicit drug use among students attending higher education (i.e. college students). However intervention success in this area to date has been hampered by a lack of user involvement and behavior change theory in their design. The MiUSE project will combine a rigorous user-centered design methodology, with robust behavioral change theories to develop a digital harm-reduction intervention for illicit drug use among students in higher education.


The objective of this project is to design and develop a digital intervention that targets drug use related harm in higher education students.


The MiUSE project will take place over three phases. The first phase, was exploratory in nature; involving the conduct of three systematic reviews, the administration of a large survey, and the conduct of student workshops to gather a comprehensive evidence base to guide the project. The second phase is the development stage of the project, involving the use of the Behavior Change Wheel theoretical model to determine the behavioral change components of the intervention, and the use of the User Centered Design methodology to guide the development of the digital intervention. The third phase is the evaluation stage, whereby the intervention will undergo a five-stage evaluation process to comprehensively evaluate its impacts.


The exploratory phase 1 of the MiUSE project was completed in December 2018. Phase 2 is currently underway, and Phase 3 is due to begin in June 2020.


Higher education institutions are ideally placed to intervene and support students in the area of illicit drug use, but are constrained by limited resources. Current digital interventions in this area are sparse, and have several weaknesses. The MiUSE project draws on learnings from previous work, utilizing robust methodologies in an attempt to develop a digital intervention that is economically viable, effective in changing behavior, usable and acceptable to students, and able to sustain long-term implementation in higher education institutions.


Please cite as:

Dick S, Vasiliou VS, Davoren MP, Dockray S, Heavin C, Linehan C, Byrne M

My Understanding of Drug Use Experiences (MiUSE): a protocol for the development of a digitally delivered harm reduction intervention for students in higher education.

JMIR Preprints. 15/01/2020:17829

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.17829


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