Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy [journal]
- "It is not just about the alcohol": service users' views about individualised and standardised clinical assessment in a therapeutic community for alcohol dependence. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):25.
The involvement of service users in health care provision in general, and specifically in substance use disorder treatment, is of growing importance. This paper explores the views of patients in a therapeutic community for alcohol dependence about clinical assessment, including general aspects about the evaluation process, and the specific characteristics of four measures: two individualised and two standardised.A focus group was conducted and data were analysed using a framework synthesis approach.Service users welcomed the experience of clinical assessment, particularly when conducted by therapists. The duration of the evaluation process was seen as satisfactory and most of its contents were regarded as relevant for their population. Regarding the evaluation measures, patients diverged in their preferences for delivery formats (self-report vs. interview). Service users enjoyed the freedom given by individualised measures to discuss topics of their own choosing. However, they felt that part of the standardised questions were difficult to answer, inadequate (e.g. quantification of health status in 0-20 points) and sensitive (e.g. suicide-related issues), particularly for pre-treatment assessments.Patients perceived clinical assessment as helpful for their therapeutic journey, including the opportunity to reflect about their problems, either related or unrelated to alcohol use. Our study suggests that patients prefer to have evaluation protocols administered by therapists, and that measures should ideally be flexible in their formats to accommodate for patient preferences and needs during the evaluation.
- Type of opioid dependence among patients seeking opioid substitution treatment: are there differences in background and severity of problems? [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):23.
The study explores differences and similarities in background and problem severity among those seeking Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST), comparing those who primarily had misused "opiates", e.g. heroin, morphine and opium, with those who primarily had misused other opioids.Patients (n = 127) assessed for possible admittance in OST are compared based on the Addiction Severity Index. Two groups based on primary type of opioid misused are compared (opiates vs. other opioids).In the global severity ratings there were no significant differences between the groups other than tautological artefacts concerning heroin. There were few specific differences between the groups. The opiate group more often had Hepatitis C and more often had legal problems related to financing their misuse. Injection of drugs was the main method of administration in both groups, i.e. 90 % for mostly opiates vs. 75 % for mostly other opioids. A great majority in both groups, 96 % vs. 91 %, had misused most other types of drugs. Both groups were found to have severe problems in all areas investigated.The study demonstrates great similarities in problem severity among those seeking OST, both those who primarily had misused opiates and those who primarily had misused other opioids.
- Dextromethorphan: a case study on addressing abuse of a safe and effective drug. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):22.
Dextromethorphan is a safe, effective cough suppressant, available without a prescription in the United States since 1958. Due to a perceived prevalence of abuse of dextromethorphan by teens, in 2007 the Drug Enforcement Administration requested the Food and Drug Administration evaluate whether dextromethorphan should be recommended for scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act. The Food and Drug Administration held an Advisory Committee meeting in 2010 to provide a scientific and medical evaluation of dextromethorphan and its abuse potential.To address reports of abuse, particularly by teens in the United States, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association initiated an abuse mitigation plan in 2010 with specific goals related to awareness of the behavior, perception of risk, social disapproval, and access to the products. In identifying abuse interventions, experts acknowledge that substance abuse among teens is a highly complex behavior and indicate that the best course of action is to address prevention by focusing on the factors that impact teen behavior.It is noteworthy that the annual prevalence of over-the-counter cough medicine abuse has sharply decreased since 2010. While a true cause-and-effect relationship cannot be assured, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and its member companies believe that the increased awareness of the issue since the 2010 Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee meeting, and the subsequent implementation of a well-delivered and targeted abuse mitigation plan that addressed the levers influencing teen decisions is contributing to the observed reduction in abuse. During the period of 2010-2015, reported abuse of dextromethorphan by 8(th), 10(th), and 12(th) graders decreased 35 %. The authors believe this reduction supports the view of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association at the outset of the abuse mitigation plan effort and today: Controlled substance scheduling or prescription requirements would result in a reduction in the legitimate use of this medicine that has benefits that far outweigh its risks. Instead, there are more targeted, more effective, and less disruptive interventions to address dextromethorphan abuse.
- Drug preparation, injection, and sharing practices in Tajikistan: a qualitative study in Kulob and Khorog. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):21.
Sharing injection equipment remains an important rout of transmission of HIV and HCV infections in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Tajikistan is one of the most affected countries with high rates of injection drug use and related epidemics.The aim of this qualitative study was to describe drug use practices and related behaviors in two Tajik cities - Kulob and Khorog.Twelve focus group discussions (6 per city) with 100 people who inject drugs recruited through needle and syringe program (NSP) outreach in May 2014. Topics covered included specific drugs injected, drug prices and purity, access to sterile equipment, safe injection practices and types of syringes and needles used. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed using NVivo 10 software.All participants were male and ranged in age from 20 to 78 years. Thematic analysis showed that cheap Afghan heroin, often adulterated by dealers with other admixtures, was the only drug injected. Drug injectors often added Dimedrol (Diphenhydramine) to increase the potency of "low quality" heroin. NSPs were a major source of sterile equipment. Very few participants report direct sharing of needles and syringes. Conversely, many participants reported preparing drugs jointly and sharing injection paraphernalia. Using drugs in an outdoor setting and experiencing withdrawal were major contributors to sharing equipment, using non-sterile water, not boiling and not filtering the drug solution.Qualitative research can provide insights into risk behaviors that may be missed in quantitative studies. These finding have important implications for planning risk reduction interventions in Tajikistan. Prevention should specifically focus on indirect sharing practices.
- The relationship between housing subsidies and supportive housing on neighborhood distress and housing satisfaction: does drug use make a difference? [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):20.
Since the 1970s, the dominant model for U.S. federal housing policy has shifted from unit-based programs to tenant-based vouchers and certificates. Because housing vouchers allow recipients to move to apartments and neighborhoods of their choice, such programs were designed to improve the ability of poor families to move into neighborhoods with less concentrated poverty. However, little research has examined whether housing voucher recipients live in less distressed neighborhoods than those without housing vouchers. There is much reason to believe that drug users may not be able to access or keep federal housing subsidies due to difficulties drug users, many of whom may have criminal histories and poor credit records, may have in obtaining free market rental housing. In response to these difficulties, permanent supportive housing was designed for those who are chronically homeless with one or more disabling condition, including substance use disorders. Little research has examined whether residents of permanent supportive housing units live in more or less economically distressed neighborhoods compared to low-income renters.This paper uses survey data from 337 low-income residents of Hartford, CT and geospatial analysis to determine whether low-income residents who receive housing subsidies and supportive housing live in neighborhoods with less concentrated poverty than those who do not. We also examine the relationships between receiving housing subsidies or supportive housing and housing satisfaction. Finally, we look at the moderating effects of drug use and race on level of neighborhood distress and housing satisfaction.Results show that low-income residents who receive housing subsidies or supportive housing were not more or less likely to live in neighborhoods with high levels of distress, although Black residents with housing subsidies lived in more distressed neighborhoods. Regarding housing satisfaction, those with housing subsidies perceived significantly more choice in where they were living while those in supportive housing perceived less choice. In addition, those with rental subsidies or supportive housing reported living closer to needed services, unless they also reported heavy drug use.Housing subsidies and supportive housing have little impact on the level of neighborhood distress in which recipients live, but some effects on housing satisfaction.
- The pattern of substance use disorder in the United Arab Emirates in 2015: results of a National Rehabilitation Centre cohort study. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):19.
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a global problem with no boundaries, which also afflicts individuals from countries of the Arabian Peninsula. Data from this region is limited. In an effort to develop targeted prevention and intervention initiatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it was necessary to identify the nature of substance use by describing the characteristics of those using different substances. Consequently, this study in the UAE was conceived to describe the pattern of SUD in a first-ever cohort that was systematically recruited from the country's National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) in Abu Dhabi.Two hundred and fifty male patients were recruited from the NRC. Information on substance use was collected using a questionnaire that was completed at an interview with patients who consented to participate. The questionnaire was based on information that the study was designed to capture. It was reviewed by members of institutional ethics committees and approved prior to use. Two hundred and fifty male subjects from the Emirates Family Registry (EFR) were used as a comparison group.In the cohort studied, SUD correlated with smoking and marital status. Poly-substance users formed the majority of the cohort (84.4 %) with various combinations of substances identified across different age groups. Opioid and alcohol were the most common substances used. The use of pharmaceutical opioids, primarily Tramadol (67.2 % of opioid users), was higher among the youngest age group studied (<30 years old), while older opioid users (≥30 years old) commonly used illicit opioids (Heroin). The use of prescribed medication for non-medical use also included Pregabalin (mean of 8.3 capsules ± 0.5 per day), Procyclidin (6.1 tablets + 0.6 per day) and Carisoprodol (4.2 tablets ± 0.4 per day) and was again highest in the age group below 30 years.This 2015 study highlights the importance of examining the pattern of poly-substance use in a population in order to develop targeted prevention programs to arrest the prevailing trends. It has drawn attention to the rise in use of prescription medication in the UAE, in particular among younger patients (<30 years), and continuing use of illicit opioid amongst males above 30 years. Specific prevention and intervention strategies, targeting differences between these distinct demographic profiles will capture a large subset of sufferers.
- The physiological and perceptual effects of plant extracts (Catha Edulis Forsk) during sustained exercise. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):18.
Khat (Catha Edulis Forsk) is a natural psychoactive substance that contains addictive substances such as Cathine and Cathinone which have similar structure and action to amphetamine. This substance has been suggested that it can decrease perceived exertion and thus improve performance. There is no study in the literature regarding the effect of khat on exercise performance. Therefore, the aim of this study is to find out whether khat leaves can decrease perceived exertion in humans.This study is an experimental crossover study conducted at the Substance Abuse Research Centre in Jazan University, Saudi Arabia. Twenty one healthy volunteers were randomly assigned into two experiment trials. Each volunteer visited the lab three times. The first visit was a familiarization session about the nature of the study and the equipment. On the second visit, 45 min before the experiment volunteers ingested either 33 ml of fruit juice (placebo) or the juice mixed with 45 g of ground khat leaves. Then the participants were instructed to perform a 10 Km cycling on an ergometer and recorded the following physiological variables repeatedly on every 5 min of cycling: heart rate, time to complete 10 km cycling, tympanic temperature, and perceived exertion rate. On the third visit a crossover trial was conducted one week after the second visit; then the same cycling test was performed and the same variables were recorded as the second visit. The experimental protocol was reviewed and approved by Research Ethical Committee of the Medical Research Centre, Jazan University.According to study results, khat dramatically decreased time taken to complete a 10 km cycling time trail (p < 0.05), and significantly increased heart rate (p < 0.05) and tympanic temperature (p < 0.01). However, khat did not reduce participant's perceived exertion during the physical trial. The Bonferrini simultaneous confidence intervals using multivariate Hotelling's T(2) was performed to test the significance of the mean vectors for the placebo group and the Khat group and found that groups are statistically significant.Khat showed a clear enhancing effect on physical performance. The most parsimonious explanation for this effect is that, like the related amphetamines, cathine/cathinone act as stimulants to increase the capacity to perform exercise. Thus, khat produces the same effects which lead to the banning of amphetamine. These findings conform & endorse the recent prohibition of cathinone by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, 2014).
- Sociodemographic characteristics associated with alcohol use among low-income Mexican older adults. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):16.
Despite increasing concern about the quality of life of older adults, little is known about characteristics associated with health risk behaviors among older adults in middle-income countries. This study relied on unique longitudinal data to examine the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and alcohol use among low-income older adults, one of the fastest-growing populations worldwide.This multilevel longitudinal analysis involved three waves of data (2008-2010) from 2,351 adults aged 70 or older in Yucatán, Mexico. Multilevel regressions models were used to test interactions among gender, speaking Mayan (indigenous language), and socioeconomic status to understand conditions associated with the odds of current alcohol use and the frequency and amount of alcohol use.Half of the participants in this study report consuming alcohol in their lifetime, 21.58 % of whom were current alcohol users. Older adults reported consuming alcohol 1.15 days a week and 1.60 drinks per day. Speaking Mayan was associated with lower odds of current alcohol use. However, men who spoke Mayan reported higher odds of drinking alcohol compared to women and non-Mayan (Spanish) speakers. The positive relationship between socioeconomic status and alcohol use was also moderated by gender (male).Findings show that older and Mayan populations had lower odds of drinking in Yucatán, Mexico, whereas men were at highest risk of drinking alcohol, after adjusting for ethnic culture and socioeconomic status. Implications for health policy and epidemiological studies on substance use among older adults residing in low-income settings are discussed.
- Students' drinking behavior and perceptions towards introducing alcohol policies on university campus in Denmark: a focus group study. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):17.
High alcohol consumption among university students is a well-researched health concern in many countries. At universities in Denmark, policies of alcohol consumption are a new phenomenon if existing at all. However, little is known of how students perceive campus alcohol policies. The aim of this study is to explore students' perceptions of alcohol policies on campus in relation to attitudes and practices of alcohol consumption.We conducted six focus group interviews with students from the University of Southern Denmark at two different campuses. The interviews discussed topics such as experiences and attitudes towards alcohol consumption among students, regulations, and norms of alcohol use on campus. The analysis followed a pre-determined codebook.Alcohol consumption is an integrated practice on campus. Most of the participants found it unnecessary to make major restrictions. Instead, regulations were socially controlled by students themselves and related to what was considered to be appropriate behavior. However students were open minded towards smaller limitations of alcohol availability. These included banning the sale of alcohol in vending machines and limiting consumption during the introduction week primarily due to avoiding social exclusion of students who do not drink. Some international students perceived the level of consumption as too high and distinguished between situations where they perceived drinking as unusual.The study showed that alcohol is a central part of students' lives. When developing and implementing alcohol policies on campus, seeking student input in the process and addressing alcohol policies in the larger community will likely improve the success of the policies.
- Feasibility and patient satisfaction with smoking cessation interventions for prevention of healthcare-associated infections in inpatients. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016.:15.
Smoking increases hospitalization and healthcare-associated infection. Our primary aim of this pilot, randomized-controlled trial was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a tobacco cessation intervention compared with usual care in inpatients. S. aureus carriage, healthcare-associated infections and infections post discharge were exploratory outcomes.Current inpatient smokers from a university hospital facility were randomized to usual care or a face to face tobacco cessation counseling session where patients' tobacco use and strategies for quitting were discussed. Patient engagement, satisfaction and withdrawal symptoms were measured at 1 week and 12 weeks post discharge. Nasal swabs were collected at enrollment and discharge and assessed for S. aureus colonization. P-values were calculated using Fisher's exact and t-tests were used to compare groups.For the study's primary outcome, participants reported the intervention as being generally acceptable and reported high overall levels of satisfaction, with a Likert scale score of at least 4/5 for all measures of satisfaction. No subjects utilized free tobacco cessation services after discharge. 83 % of the intervention group and 93 % of the control group smoked at least one cigarette after discharge. Secondary outcomes with regard to infections showed that, at discharge, 12 % of the intervention group (n = 17) and 18 % of the control group (n = 22) tested positive for S. aureus. After 3 months, 9 % of the intervention group developed infection, 41 % visited an emergency room, and 24 % were readmitted within 3 months post-discharge, compared to 27, 32 and 36 % of the control group respectively.With regards to the primary aim of this study, there were overall high levels of satisfaction with the intervention, indicating good feasibility and acceptance among patients. However, more intensive interventions in hospitalized patients and impact on healthcare-associated infections and post-discharge infections should be explored.