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Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy [journal]
- A cross-sectional study of public attitudes towards safer drug use practices in British Columbia, Canada. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013 Dec 1; 8(1):40.
Harm reduction programs are often vulnerable to political and vocal opposition despite documented evidence of their effectiveness and economic benefit. It is not well understood if opponents to harm reduction represent the general public's attitudes.To understand the attitudes of the people of British Columbia (BC) towards various harm reduction strategies and services, and factors associated with support for harm reduction.A random-digit dialing telephone survey assessing attitudes towards various harm reduction strategies was administered to British Columbians in August 2011 (n = 2000). We compared the level of support for general harm reduction by sex, age, education level, and area of residence (Health Authority region) (chi2). Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess odds of support for harm reduction.Overall support for general harm reduction among participants was 76%; needle distribution 72%; needle distribution in one's local community 65%; and safer inhalation equipment distribution 52%. In the multivariate analysis, those with significantly lower odds of supporting harm reduction were male, older, had equal or less than high school education or completed a certificate/diploma program, and resided in the Fraser Health Authority region. The Health Authority region with a municipality that has introduced a bylaw prohibiting the implementation of harm reduction services was found to have 69% support for harm reduction. Another Health Authority region with a municipality that closed a long-standing needle distribution site was found to have over 78% support.In contrast to some local policies, our results show the British Columbians surveyed in our study support harm reduction. It is unclear whether policy makers are swayed by a vocal minority or block harm reduction activities for other reasons. Tailoring messages towards segments of the public less likely to support harm reduction, as well civic policy-makers and the media, may help to reduce stigma and gain support for harm reduction services designed to protect and improve the health of the individual and the public.
- "Nonmedical" prescription opioid use in North America: a call for priority action. [EDITORIAL]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013 Dec 1; 8(1):39.
Nearly four years after the United States Congress heralded a "decade of pain control and research," chronic pain remains a mounting public health concern worldwide. The escalating prevalence of chronic pain in recent years has been paralleled by a rise in prescription opioid availability, misuse, and associated human and social costs. However, national monitoring surveys in the U.S. and Canada currently fail to differentiate between prescription opioid misuse for the purposes of euphoria versus pain or withdrawal management. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence-based guidelines for pain management among high-risk individuals, and a glaring lack of education for practitioners in the areas of pain and addiction medicine. Herein we propose multiple avenues for intervention and research in order to mitigate the individual, social and structural problems related to undertreated pain and prescription opioid misuse.
- Policy implementation of methadone maintenance treatment and HIV infection: evidence from Hubei province, China. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013 Nov 5; 8(1):38.
To view methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) globally, it is necessary to accumulate data on MMT policy implementation under different health service systems. The aim of the current study is to provide empirical evidence about policy implementation of MMT and HIV infection control, as well as recommendations for improvement of MMT in the future. Based on China's national policy framework of MMT, policy implementation of MMT in Hubei province has two objectives: 1) to create linkages between health and public security, and 2) to provide integrated services for management of drug abusers. From 2007 to 2011, following the establishment of MMT clinics that provide methadone as well as HIV prevention services, the proportion of HIV infection among drug abusers decreased relatively quickly (12.12% [rightwards arrow] 5.77% [rightwards arrow] 5.19% [rightwards arrow] 2.39% [rightwards arrow] 2.04%). However, high drop-out rate and poor information management have been identified as particular problems which now need to be addressed. Furthermore, client drop-out from MMT programs may reflect social issues the clients encounter, and consequently, sustainable MMT development requires incorporation of social measures that help MMT clients return to society without discrimination, especially through family cooperation and employment opportunities.
- Factors associated with smoking among adolescent males prior to incarceration and after release from jail: a longitudinal study. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013 Oct 31; 8(1):37.
The prevalence of cigarette smoking among incarcerated adult men and women is three-four times higher than in the general population, ranging from 70-80%. However, little is known about factors associated with smoking among incarcerated adolescents, especially upon their re-entry into communities after release from jail. The current study explores factors associated with smoking among adolescent males prior to incarceration and one year after their release from jail.We conducted a secondary data analysis of the Returning Educated African-American and Latino Men to Enrich Neighborhoods (REAL MEN) study, which was designed to reduce HIV risk, substance use, and recidivism among 16--18 year old males leaving jail. We examined differences between smokers and non-smokers at the time of their incarceration (N = 552) and one year after their release from jail (N = 397) using t-tests and chi-square tests. Using logistic and linear regression we examined factors associated with current smoking status, frequency of smoking, and quantity of cigarettes smoked per day both prior to the young men's incarceration and one year after their release from jail.Prior to incarceration, 62% of the young men reported smoking, and one-year after jail release, 69% reported smoking. Prior to incarceration, foster care history, not living with parents, not attending school, drug sales, number of sex partners, gang involvement, current drug charges, and number of prior arrests were positively associated with smoking indicators prior to incarceration. Having violent charges was inversely associated with smoking indicators prior to incarceration. One-year after release from jail, foster care history and number of prior arrests before the index incarceration were associated with smoking indicators.Several problem behaviors may be associated with adolescent males' smoking behaviors prior to incarceration. However, the young men's histories of difficult life circumstances and engagement in illegal activity may have long-term consequences on smoking for these young men during their transition between jail and community. Findings suggest a need for comprehensive risk reduction interventions in settings in which disadvantaged young men are institutionalized, starting in childhood.
- Back to the basics: identifying positive youth development as the theoretical framework for a youth drug prevention program in rural Saskatchewan, Canada amidst a program evaluation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013 Oct 22; 8(1):36.
Despite endorsement by the Saskatchewan government to apply empirically-based approaches to youth drug prevention services in the province, programs are sometimes delivered prior to the establishment of evidence-informed goals and objectives. This paper shares the 'preparatory' outcomes of our team's program evaluation of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region Mental Health and Addiction Services' Outreach Worker Service (OWS) in eight rural, community schools three years following its implementation. Before our independent evaluation team could assess whether expectations of the OWS were being met, we had to assist with establishing its overarching program goals and objectives and 'at-risk' student population, alongside its alliance with an empirically-informed theoretical framework.A mixed-methods approach was applied, beginning with in-depth focus groups with the OWS staff to identify the program's goals and objectives and targeted student population. These were supplemented with OWS and school administrator interviews and focus groups with school staff. Alignment with a theoretical focus was determined though a review of the OWS's work to date and explored in focus groups between our evaluation team and the OWS staff and validated with the school staff and OWS and school administration.With improved understanding of the OWS's goals and objectives, our evaluation team and the OWS staff aligned the program with the Positive Youth Development theoretical evidence-base, emphasizing the program's universality, systems focus, strength base, and promotion of assets. Together we also gained clarity about the OWS's definition of and engagement with its 'at-risk' student population.It is important to draw on expert knowledge to develop youth drug prevention programming, but attention must also be paid to aligning professional health care services with a theoretically informed evidence-base for evaluation purposes. If time does not permit for the establishment of evidence-informed goals and objectives at the start-up of a program, obtaining insight and expertise from program personnel and school staff and administrators can bring the program to a point where this can still be achieved and theoretical linkages made after a program has been implemented. This is a necessary foundation for measuring an intervention's success.
- Qualitative investigation of barriers to accessing care by people who inject drugs in Saskatoon, Canada: perspectives of service providers. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013.:35.
People who inject drugs (PWID) often encounter barriers when attempting to access health care and social services. In our previous study conducted to identify barriers to accessing care from the perspective of PWIDs in Saskatoon, Canada: poverty, lack of personal support, discrimination, and poor knowledge and coordination of service providers among other key barriers were identified. The purpose of the present investigation was to explore what service providers perceive to be the greatest barriers for PWIDs to receive optimal care. This study is an exploratory investigation with a purpose to enrich the literature and to guide community action.Data were collected through focus groups with service providers in Saskatoon. Four focus groups were held with a total of 27 service providers. Data were transcribed and qualitative analysis was performed. As a result, concepts were identified and combined into major themes.Four barriers to care were identified by service providers: inefficient use of resources, stigma and discrimination, inadequate education and the unique and demanding nature of PWIDs. Participants also identified many successful services.The results from this investigation suggest poor utilization of resources, lack of continuing education of health care providers on addictions and coping skills with such demanding population, and social stigma and disparity. We recommend improvements in resource utilization through, for example, case management. In addition, sensitivity training and more comprehensive service centers designed to meet PWID's complex needs may improve care. However, community-wide commitment to addressing injection drug issues will also be required for lasting solutions.
- Racial/ethnic minority and low-income hotspots and their geographic proximity to integrated care providers. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013.:34.
The high prevalence of mental health issues among clients attending substance abuse treatment (SAT) has pressured treatment providers to develop integrated substance abuse and mental health care. However, access to integrated care is limited to certain communities. Racial and ethnic minority and low-income communities may not have access to needed integrated care in large urban areas. Because the main principle of health care reform is to expand health insurance to low-income individuals to improve access to care and reduce health disparities among minorities, it is necessary to understand the extent to which integrated care is geographically accessible in minority and low-income communities.National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services data from 2010 were used to examine geographic availability of facilities offering integration of mental health services in SAT programs in Los Angeles County, California. Using geographic information systems (GIS), service areas were constructed for each facility (N = 402 facilities; 104 offering integrated services) representing the surrounding area within a 10-minute drive. Spatial autocorrelation analyses were used to derive hot spots (or clusters) of census tracts with high concentrations of African American, Asian, Latino, and low-income households. Access to integrated care was reflected by the hot spot coverage of each facility, i.e., the proportion of its service area that overlapped with each type of hot spot.GIS analysis suggested that ethnic and low-income communities have limited access to facilities offering integrated care; only one fourth of SAT providers offered integrated care. Regression analysis showed facilities whose service areas overlapped more with Latino hot spots were less likely to offer integrated care, as well as a potential interaction effect between Latino and high-poverty hot spots.Despite significant pressure to enhance access to integrated services, ethnic and racial minority communities are disadvantaged in terms of proximity to this type of care. These findings can inform health care policy to increase geographic access to integrated care for the increasing number of clients with public health insurance.
- Development of an integrative cessation program for co-smokers of cigarettes and cannabis: demand analysis, program description, and acceptability. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013.:33.
Tobacco and cannabis use are strongly interrelated, but current national and international cessation programs typically focus on one substance, and address the other substance either only marginally or not at all. This study aimed to identify the demand for, and describe the development and content of, the first integrative group cessation program for co-smokers of cigarettes and cannabis.First, a preliminary study using expert interviews, user focus groups with (ex-)smokers, and an online survey was conducted to investigate the demand for, and potential content of, an integrative smoking cessation program (ISCP) for tobacco and cannabis co-smokers. This study revealed that both experts and co-smokers considered an ISCP to be useful but expected only modest levels of readiness for participation.Based on the findings of the preliminary study, an interdisciplinary expert team developed a course concept and a recruitment strategy. The developed group cessation program is based on current treatment techniques (such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, and self-control training) and structured into six course sessions.The program was evaluated regarding its acceptability among participants and course instructors.Both the participants and course instructors evaluated the course positively. Participants and instructors especially appreciated the group discussions and the modules that were aimed at developing personal strategies that could be applied during simultaneous cessation of tobacco and cannabis, such as dealing with craving, withdrawal, and high-risk situations.There is a clear demand for a double cessation program for co-users of cigarettes and cannabis, and the first group cessation program tailored for these users has been developed and evaluated for acceptability. In the near future, the feasibility of the program will be evaluated.Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15248397.
- Assisted injection among people who inject drugs in Thailand. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013.:32.
Assisted injection is common among people who inject drugs (IDU), and has been associated with elevated risk for HIV infection and overdose. However, this practice has not been explored in the Asian context, including in Thailand, where HIV prevalence among IDU remains high.Using multivariate logistic regression, we examined the prevalence and correlates of assisted injecting among IDU participating in the Mitsampan Community Research Project in Bangkok. We also sought to identify reasons for engaging in assisted injecting and those who provide this form of assistance.In total, 430 IDU participated in this study, including 376 (87.5%) who reported having ever required assistance injecting, and 81 (18.8%) who reported assisted injecting in the previous six months. In multivariate analyses, assisted injecting in the previous six months was independently and positively associated with being female (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.42; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.40 - 4.18), being a weekly heroin injector (AOR = 1.78; 95% CI: 0.99 - 3.20), syringe sharing (AOR = 2.08; 95% CI: 1.18 - 3.68) and soft-tissue infection (AOR = 3.51; 95% CI: 1.43 - 2.53). Having a longer injecting career (AOR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.94 - 0.99) was negatively associated with assisted injecting. Primary reasons given for engaging in assisted injecting included being new to injecting and lacking knowledge on how to inject. The most common providers of assistance with injecting were close friends.We found a high prevalence of assisted injecting among IDU in Bangkok, with females, frequent heroin injectors, those with shorter injecting careers being more likely to engage in this practice. Those who require help with the injecting process are more likely to share syringes, and have skin infections. These findings indicate the need for interventions focused on promoting safer and self-administered injections.
- Brief intervention and decrease of alcohol consumption among women: a systematic review. [Journal Article]
- Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2013.:31.
Problems related to alcohol consumption are priority public health issues worldwide and may compromise women's health. The early detection of risky alcohol consumption combined with a brief intervention (BI) has shown promising results in prevention for different populations. The aim of this study was to examine data from recent scientific publications on the use of BI toward reducing alcohol consumption among women through a systematic review. Electronic searches were conducted using Web of Science, PubMed(Medline) and PsycInfo databases. In all databases, the term "brief intervention" was associated with the words "alcohol" and "women", and studies published between the years 2006 and 2011 were selected. Out of the 133 publications found, the 36 scientific articles whose central theme was performing and/or evaluating the effectiveness of BI were included. The full texts were reviewed by content analysis technique. This review identified promising results of BI for women, especially pregnant women and female college students, in different forms of application (face-to-face, by computer or telephone) despite a substantial heterogeneity in the clinical trials analyzed. In primary care, which is a setting involving quite different characteristics, the results among women were rather unclear. In general, the results indicated a decrease in alcohol consumption among women following BI, both in the number of days of consumption and the number of doses, suggesting that the impact on the woman's reproductive health and the lower social acceptance of female consumption can be aspects favorable for the effectiveness of BI in this population.