New drugs, new problems? Responding to club drugs in Leeds

First published: 30 March 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Dr John Roche

John trained in Medicine at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2000. He then completed initial training in Psychiatry in North London on the UCL rotation before a year in Argentina volunteering with the Argentinian Harm Reduction Association assisting with needle exchange projects and other interventions. He then completed Psychiatry training in the West Midlands before moving to his current post in April 2011. He is one of three Consultant Addiction Psychiatrists at Leeds Addiction Unit and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. He started the Leeds Club Drug Clinic in December 2011 in response to increasing referrals for ketamine, mephedrone and GHB/GBL. In addition to seeing patients in clinic the service is supported by a website ( with a focus on information, advice and self help. Publications include co-authoring a chapter “Women and Alcohol” in the Oxford Textbook of Women and Mental Health. Research interests include ketamine bladder, use of internet and smartphone apps in addiction treatment and social networks in addiction. He teaches extensively to medical students and other audiences on addiction. When not trying to stop young people from partying he enjoys chess, scrabble and tennis.

New drugs, new problems? Responding to club drugs in Leeds

The presentation will cover the newer drugs that are leading to referrals for addiction treatment together with an analysis of related cultural trends in Leeds and beyond, particularly in connection with electronic dance music. Then an overview of what steps have been taken in Leeds – the development of a clinic, reducing barriers to treatment, searching for funding, forming links with other organisations, approaching commissioners, and development of a website and self help resources.


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