Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy [journal]
- Psychosocial problems among individuals with substance use disorders in drug rehabilitation centers, Nepal. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):28.
Substance use is associated with numerous undesirable short and long term consequences. The individual not only suffer from physical and psychological problems but also loses the ability to interact with family, peers and society. The present study aims to identify the psychosocial problems and associated factors among individuals with substance use disorders.The study was conducted using descriptive cross sectional research design in different drug rehabilitation centers of Nepal. Probability proportional to size sampling technique was used to select the drug rehabilitation centers and individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder but free from any substance withdrawal features, admitted in rehabilitation centers within 3 months and clients above 15 years of age were included in the study (N = 204). A standard tool Drug Use Screening Inventory-Revised was used to assess the psychosocial problems and the scores ranged from 0 to 100. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Linear regression analysis was conducted to identify the predictors of psychosocial problems.The mean and standard deviation of overall psychosocial problems scores was 60.42 ± 19.44. Among different domains, more problems were found in substance use domain (75.00 ± 21.43) followed by school performance (64.60 ± 25.53), behavior pattern (64.53 ± 24.44), peer relationship (64.49 ± 24.91), social competence (61.30 ± 22.60), psychiatric disorder (56.83 ± 23.39), family system (48.28 ± 23.72) and work adjustment (45.90 ± 29.88) domains. Types of substance use, mode of substance use and age of initiation of substance use were the significant predictors of overall and most of the domains of psychosocial problems.Substance use poses significant impact on individual's psychological and social wellbeing. Individuals using injecting drugs, initiating substances early in life, using substances many times in a day and using both licit and illicit substances had more psychosocial problems. Hence, treatment centers should take this into account.
- The impact of prescription opioids on all-cause mortality in Canada. [Editorial]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):27.
An influential study from the United States generated considerable discussion and debate. This study documented rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century, with clear linkages of all-cause mortality to increasing rates of poisonings, suicides and chronic liver disease deaths. All of these causes of deaths are strongly related to the use of legal and illegal substances, but the study stressed the importance of prescription opioids. Given the similarities between the United States and Canada in prescription opioid use, the assessment of similar all-cause mortality trends is relevant for Canada. As this commentary highlights, the all-cause mortality shifts seen in the United States cannot be seen in Canada for either sex or age groups. The exact reasons for the differences between the two countries are not clear, but it is important for public health to further explore this question.
- Auricular acupuncture for substance use: a randomized controlled trial of effects on anxiety, sleep, drug use and use of addiction treatment services. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):24.
A common alternative treatment for substance abuse is auricular acupuncture. The aim of the study was to evaluate the short and long-term effect of auricular acupuncture on anxiety, sleep, drug use and addiction treatment utilization in adults with substance abuse.Of the patients included, 280 adults with substance abuse and psychiatric comorbidity, 80 were randomly assigned to auricular acupuncture according to the NADA protocol, 80 to auricular acupuncture according to a local protocol (LP), and 120 to relaxation (controls). The primary outcomes anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory; BAI) and insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index; ISI) were measured at baseline and at follow-ups 5 weeks and 3 months after the baseline assessment. Secondary outcomes were drug use and addiction service utilization. Complete datasets regarding BAI/ISI were obtained from 37/34 subjects in the NADA group, 28/28 in the LP group and 36/35 controls. Data were analyzed using Chi-square, Analysis of Variance, Kruskal Wallis, Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance, Eta square (η(2)), and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks tests.Participants in NADA, LP and control group improved significantly on the ISI and BAI. There was no significant difference in change over time between the three groups in any of the primary (effect size: BAI, η(2) = 0.03, ISI, η(2) = 0.05) or secondary outcomes. Neither of the two acupuncture treatments resulted in differences in sleep, anxiety or drug use from the control group at 5 weeks or 3 months.No evidence was found that acupuncture as delivered in this study is more effective than relaxation for problems with anxiety, sleep or substance use or in reducing the need for further addiction treatment in patients with substance use problems and comorbid psychiatric disorders. The substantial attrition at follow-up is a main limitation of the study.Clinical Trials NCT02604706 (retrospectively registered).
- Using the Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy v1 to conceptualize the clinical content of Breaking Free Online: a computer-assisted therapy program for substance use disorders. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2016; 11(1):26.
In recent years, research within the field of health psychology has made significant progress in terms of advancing and standardizing the science of developing, evaluating and reporting complex behavioral change interventions. A major part of this work has involved the development of an evidence-based Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy v1 (BCTTv1), as a means of describing the active components contained within such complex interventions. To date, however, this standardized approach derived from health psychology research has not been applied to the development of complex interventions for the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD). Therefore, this paper uses Breaking Free Online (BFO), a computer-assisted therapy program for SUD, as an example of how the clinical techniques contained within such an intervention might be mapped onto the BCTTv1.The developers of BFO were able to produce a full list of the clinical techniques contained within BFO. Exploratory mapping of the BCTTv1 onto the clinical content of the BFO program was conducted separately by the authors of the paper. This included the developers of the BFO program and psychology professionals working within the SUD field. These coded techniques were reviewed by the authors and any discrepancies in the coding were discussed between all authors until an agreement was reached.The BCTTv1 was mapped onto the clinical content of the BFO program. At least one behavioral change technique was found in 12 out of 16 grouping categories within the BCTTv1. A total of 26 out of 93 behavior change techniques were identified across the clinical content of the program.This exploratory mapping exercise has identified the specific behavior change techniques contained within BFO, and has provided a means of describing these techniques in a standardized way using the BCTTv1 terminology. It has also provided an opportunity for the BCTTv1 mapping process to be reported to the wider SUD treatment community, as it may have real utility in the development and evaluation of other psychosocial and behavioral change interventions within this field.
- "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.