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MyUSE Study

My Understanding of Substance-use Experiences

MyUSE Project


The My Understanding of Substance-use Experiences (MyUSE) project is a multi-disciplinary research and development project based in UCC. A team of researchers, clinicians and academics from the School of Public Health, School of Applied Psychology, Student Health Department and Cork University Business School have lead the research and development of a novel web/app-based screening, brief intervention and behaviour change tool for drug use among higher education students.

The project has been ongoing since 2017; beginning with a comprehensive research phase to generate a deep understanding of the area of student drug use, digital intervention design and behaviour change. A number of systematic reviews, a large student survey, and exploratory student workshops were conducted.

Following this, a large synthesis of the available data took place, using the Behaviour Change Wheel methodology to identify clusters of behaviour to change, and specify behavioural change techniques to include in the intervention. Once the clinical behaviour change algorithm and intervention content had been developed, an extensive design and development phase took place, transforming the written content into an engaging, digital platform, while developing the technical infrastructure required to support the platform.

MyUSE is currently undergoing a pilot evaluation in UCC. Future work will include a comprehensive technical, clinical and economic evaluation of the MyUSE platform, and implementation into higher education institutions across Ireland.

Further information

For further information on this project, please contact Samantha Dick, School of Public Health UCC, at

MyUSE Publications

Vasiliou S.V, Dockray S, Dick S, Davoren M.P, Heavin, C, Linehan, C. & Byrne M. (accepted). Reducing Drug-Use Harms among Higher Education Students: MyUSE Contextual-behaviour Change Digital Intervention Development Using the Behaviour Change Wheel. Harm Reduction Journal. In Press.

Dick S, Vasiliou VS, Davoren MP, Dockray S, Heavin C, Linehan C, Byrne M. A digital substance-use harm reduction intervention for students in higher education (MyUSE): Protocol for project development. JMIR Research Protocols. 2020;9(8):e17829. Article.

Dick S, Heavin C, Vasiliou VS, Davoren MP, Dockray S, Linehan C, Byrne M. The Design of a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention for Third-Level Student Illicit Substance Use: A Persona Building Approach. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2020 Jan 7. Article.

Dick, S., Whelan, E., Davoren, M.P. et al. A systematic review of the effectiveness of digital interventions for illicit substance misuse harm reduction in third-level students. BMC Public Health 19, 1244 (2019). Article.

Organ, D; Dick, S; Hurley, C; Heavin, C; Linehan, C; Dockray, S; Davoren, M; and Byrne, M, "A Systematic Review of User-Centred Design Practices in Illicit Substance Use Interventions for Higher Education Students" (2018). Research Papers. 192. Article.


ESPRIT Research Group

UCC School of Public Health, Western Gateway Building, Western Road, Cork,