Skip to content

outreach work

It is only possible to pick up signals and trends, inform, and refer, by being in direct contact with people who use drugs. Outreach work is therefore are the heart of all Mainline’s activities.

veldwerk expertise

what we do

Mainline’s outreach workers can be found on the streets, in low-threshold social shelters, near sex work and swing venues, in places of use, in correctional facilities, at people who use at home and online on relevant forums. We especially cater to vulnerable groups on the margins of society, such as people without homes, people with serious mental health problems, people without residence permits, sex workers and people with problematic drug use. We reach people who might otherwise not have access to care and information. Through direct contact, our outreach workers also have an important signalling function. They document new drug trends and social and legal issues among people who use drugs.

the importance of outreach work

Our outreach work makes it possible to bring harm reduction to people. We make education and support accessible to people who might otherwise never come into contact with healthcare or education on safe drug use. And that is vital for people who use drugs. By actively walking the streets and being present in places where drug use takes place, we lower the threshold for help and support. From an independent position, we hear what is going on and what people need.   

Thanks to the outreach workers’ knowledge of what is going on among people who use drugs, they have a signalling function, including on new drugs and trends in use. Shortcomings in policies for and support of people who use drugs are also quickly spotted through outreach work. We share these findings with local policymakers, politicians and health authorities and sound the alarm if we observe possible new health risks, or a gap in care provision. The outreach work also allows us to put our acquired knowledge to practical use, for instance in training courses.  

on-site services

Instead of taking a moralistic approach, our outreach workers have a practical and effective approach. We can make direct interventions to reduce the risks of drug use. For instance, field workers distribute clean needles, base pipes and other materials. We also distribute educational materials and our informative Mainline magazine. With our outreach work, we offer the following services on-site:  

  • A listening ear

Mainline has been a familiar face for years. By engaging in the conversation without an underlying agenda, Mainline outreach workers build trusting relationships with the people they meet. This trust is essential to having open and honest conversations about drug use and health. The outreach workers take their time and make sure everyone feels heard and valued.  

  • Health education

In our information we encourage safer use with the aim of preventing infectious diseases and health damage and improving quality of life. The information we provide is non-binding and unbiased.

  • Referral to adequate care

When people who use drugs have a request for help, we are present. Sometimes people want support but are not sure where to turn. This might include medical care, dental care, help in dealing with housing or legal problems, or help in reducing or stopping use. If asked, Mainline outreach workers can think along and refer people to the right agencies.  

  • Light (recovery) support

Outreach work goes beyond providing physical help. It is also about empowering individuals to take control of their own health and well-being. By providing people with knowledge and tools, we help them make more informed choices and take back control of their lives. Mainline outreach workers also offer individual consultations to people who use drugs or professionals working with them. We do this live, online or by phone. These consultations are conducted based on the presence method and motivational interviewing. They are always harm reduction and/or recovery supportive in nature.

Outreach target groups