MUMIN - Maria Ungdom Motivational Interventions
Youths who take large quantities of drugs and who commit drug offences constitute a group at high risk of ending up in a state of permanent social exclusion and persistent criminality. Since 1993, the Swedish police can take blood and urine samples from youths suspected of minor drug offences, but if these youths are not given help to desist from drug use, they commonly become the objects of subsequent police interventions.
The MUMIN project attempts to “utilise" the crisis young people can experience following an arrest. The objective is to offer treatment and support to the youths and their families in connection with the arrest, when they are at their most receptive to offers of help and support. Another of the project’s objectives has been to reduce the time between the arrest of young people for minor drug offences and the point when they come into contact with social services and the drug abuse care sector.
The MUMIN project is a close collaboration between the police, the social services and healthcare. One important aspect of the project has been to establish a provisional police station on the Maria Ungdom premises in Stockholm, and to have field social workers riding alongside the police to reach out to youths. When an arrest is made, the youth is driven directly to the Maria Ungdom centre for drug testing and an interview. Discussions and a treatment contract are offered directly in connection with the arrest. The youth section of the CRIS organisation (Criminals Return Into Society) has also been involved and has attempted to motivate youths who have declined to participate in additional treatment. This fast-track, collaborative chain of investigative and responsive measures constitutes an important method for stopping drug abuse and preventing continued involvement in crime.
An evaluation of MUMIN shows that 650 individuals were arrested between August 2004 and December 2006 within the framework of the project. Of these, 595 were youths. The evaluation shows that 58 percent of the youths who became the object of MUMIN measures had not previously had any contact with the Maria Ungdom centre. Stated briefly, this means that the MUMIN project led to the identification of a “new” group of youths that had previously been relatively unknown to the dependency care sector. These youths often have serious drug problems, commit large numbers of offences and have a negative attitude towards voluntarily seeking drug abuse treatment. Immediately following their arrest, these youths were given the opportunity of a counselling interview to assess their situation at the provisional police station at the Maria Ungdom centre. 50 percent agreed to the initiation of a treatment contract.
The evaluation presents a detailed comparison of the MUMIN youths’ psychosocial health with that of the youths who have voluntarily contacted the Maria Ungdom centre. The MUMIN youths often present with more extensive drug abuse, more extensive sleep problems, problems with family relationships and psychological problems, and they have more often been the victims of bullying. Searches of the Prosecution Service’s case management system show that the proportion of youths issued with waivers of prosecution has increased, and that the number issued with fines has declined. In order to receive a waiver of prosecution, youths are first required to have acknowledged their guilt in relation to a suspected offence, to be in contact with the social services and to draw up a care plan/contract in consultation with the latter.
The project has also trained staff working in the project in a special counselling method, known as motivational interviewing, which aims to motivate drug abusing youths to gain an insight into their situation and to seek help voluntarily.
Mikael Jeppson, Mikael.firstname.lastname@example.org
The project started in 2009 and is now part of a permanent activity.
Last review: October 2017.