matsouthwellMat Southwell

Based in England, Mat has worked in the drugs and HIV fields as a practitioner, manager and activist for 25 years. Mat was an early harm reduction worker in the UK and in 1991 founded the pioneering Healthy Options Team (HOT), a harm reduction agency that employed peer workers and used community mobilisation strategies with people who use drugs (PWUD).

Mat went on to be Head of Service for the wider health-based drug services in East London until 1998. This included managing Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) programmes and reorganising drug treatment services to promote the involvement of General Practitioners and the effective management of PWUD with complex needs.

In 1999 Mat came out publicly as a drug user on a BBC TV documentary and has since been involved in developing drug user networks in the UK and globally. He has been involved in the grassroots drug user group Respect, and also specialist drug user groups on dance drugs, crack cocaine and cannabis.

Mat has sustained an interest in developing collaborative peer and professional responses to new drugs trends and stimulant drugs. Mat has a particular interest in ketamine and recently gave evidence to the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Working Group on Ketamine.

Mat is also an experienced drug policy and drugs/HIV global advocate.

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  • "Coact facilitated a drug user workshop for the Public Health Agency. The event went extremely well, with Coact doing an excellent job of ensuring the aims of the day were met."

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@RichardREngnath people who use drugs face a range of public health issues. Drugs and HIV are key themes in internatioinal development

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