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1.  Differential Outcomes of Court-Supervised Substance Abuse Treatment Among California Parolees and Probationers 
To explore the effectiveness of court-supervised drug treatment for California parolees, offender characteristics, treatment experiences, and outcomes were examined and contrasted to those of probationers. Analysis utilized statewide administrative data on 4,507 parolees and 22,701 probationers referred to treatment by Proposition 36 during fiscal year 2006-07. Compared to probationers, parolee problems were more severe at treatment entry, more were treated in residential settings, treatment retention was shorter, and fewer completed treatment. Regarding outcomes, fewer parolees were successful at treatment discharge and more recidivated over 12-months post admission. Both groups improved in many areas by treatment discharge but improvements were generally smaller among parolees. Significant interaction effects indicated parolees benefitted from residential care and more treatment days, even after controlling for covariates. Court-supervised drug treatment for parolees can “work,” parolees however have more frequent and diverse needs and their outcomes are enhanced by more intensive treatment. Findings suggest methods for optimizing the effectiveness of criminal-justice supervised programs for treating drug-dependent offenders.
doi:10.1177/0306624X11404827
PMCID: PMC3817935  PMID: 21518702
parolees; substance abuse treatment; recidivism; drug courts; Proposition 36
2.  COLLABORATIVE BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT AMONG PAROLEES: DRUG USE, CRIME & RE-ARREST IN THE STEP’N OUT RANDOMIZED TRIAL 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2012;107(6):1099-1108.
Aims
To determine whether collaborative behavioral management (CBM) reduces substance use, crime and re-arrest among drug-involved parolees.
Design
Step’n Out was a randomized behavioral trial of CBM versus standard parole (SP) during 2004-2008. CBM adapted evidence-based role induction, behavioral contracting, and contingent reinforcement to provide parole officer/treatment counselor dyads with positive tools in addition to sanctions to manage parolees’ behavior over 12 weeks.
Setting
Six parole offices in five states in the U.S.A.
Participants
Parolee volunteers with a mandate for addiction treatment and a minimum of three months of parole (N=476). Follow-up was 94% at 3- and 86% at 9-months.
Measurements
Drug use and crime in a given month from calendar interviews 3- and 9-months after parole initiation, and re-arrests from criminal justice administrative data.
Findings
The CBM group had fewer months in which they used their primary drug (adjusted risk ratio (ARR) 0.20, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.78, p = .02) and alcohol (ARR 0.38, 95% CI: 0.22, 0.66, p=.006) over follow-up. CBM had its greatest effects among parolees who reported marijuana or another “non-hard” drug as their primary drug; parolees who preferred stimulants or opiates did not benefit. No differences were seen in total crime, re-arrests or parole revocations.
Conclusions
Collaborative behavioral management may reduce substance use among primary marijuana or other “non-hard” drug-using parolees without increasing revocations. Since the majority of drug violation arrests in the U.S. are for marijuana, these findings have important implications for the management of a substantial proportion of the U.S. community correctional population.
doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03769.x
PMCID: PMC3321077  PMID: 22175445
3.  Collaborative behavioral management: integration and intensification of parole and outpatient addiction treatment services in the Step’n Out study 
Integration of community parole and addiction treatment holds promise for optimizing the participation of drug-involved parolees in re-entry services, but intensification of services might yield greater rates of technical violations. Collaborative behavioral management (CBM) integrates the roles of parole officers and treatment counselors to provide role induction counseling, contract for pro-social behavior, and to deliver contingent reinforcement of behaviors consistent with contracted objectives. Attendance at both parole and addiction treatment are specifically reinforced. The Step’n Out study of the Criminal Justice–Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) randomly allocated 486 drug-involved parolees to either collaborative behavioral management or traditional parole with 3-month and 9-month follow-up. Bivariate and multivariate regression models found that, in the first 3 months, the CBM group had more parole sessions, face-to-face parole sessions, days on which parole and treatment occurred on the same day, treatment utilization and individual counseling, without an increase in parole violations. We conclude that CBM integrated parole and treatment as planned, and intensified parolees’ utilization of these services, without increasing violations.
doi:10.1007/s11292-009-9079-3
PMCID: PMC2786218  PMID: 19960114
Addiction treatment; Behavioral management; Community reinforcement approach; Community supervision; Graduated sanctions; Parole; Probation; Role induction; Substance abuse
4.  Differential effectiveness of residential versus outpatient aftercare for parolees from prison-based therapeutic community treatment programs 
Background
Research has indicated that more intense treatment is associated with better outcomes among clients who are appropriately matched to treatment intensity level based on the severity of their drug/alcohol problem. This study examined the differential effectiveness of community-based residential and outpatient treatment attended by male and female drug-involved parolees from prison-based therapeutic community substance abuse treatment programs based on the severity of their drug/alcohol problem.
Methods
Subjects were 4,165 male and female parolees who received prison-based therapeutic community substance abuse treatment and who subsequently participated in only outpatient or only residential treatment following release from prison. The dependent variable of interest was return to prison within 12 months. The primary independent variables of interest were alcohol/drug problem severity (low, high) and type of aftercare (residential, outpatient). Chi-square analyses were conducted to examine the differences in 12-month RTP rates between and within the two groups of parolees (residential and outpatient parolees) based on alcohol/drug problem severity (low severity, high severity). Logistic regression analyses were performed to determine if aftercare modality (outpatient only vs. residential only) was a significant predictor of 12-month RTP rates for subjects who were classified as low severity versus those who were classified as high severity.
Results
Subjects benefited equally from outpatient and residential aftercare, regardless of the severity of their drug/alcohol problem.
Conclusion
As states and the federal prison system further expand prison-based treatment services, the demand and supply of aftercare treatment services will also increase. As this occurs, systems and policies governing the transitioning of individuals from prison- to community-based treatment should include a systematic and validated assessment of post-prison treatment needs and a valid and reliable means to assess the quality of community-based treatment services. They should also ensure that parolees experience a truly uninterrupted continuum of care through appropriate recognition of progress made in prison-based treatment.
doi:10.1186/1747-597X-2-16
PMCID: PMC1884138  PMID: 17504540
5.  Improving Parolees' Participation in Drug Treatment and Other Services through Strengths Case Management 
In an effort to increase participation in community aftercare treatment for substance-abusing parolees, an intervention based on a transitional case management (TCM) model that focuses mainly on offenders' strengths has been developed and is under testing. This model consists of completion, by the inmate, of a self-assessment of strengths that informs the development of the continuing care plan, a case conference call shortly before release, and strengths case management for three months post-release to promote retention in substance abuse treatment and support the participant's access to designated services in the community. The post-release component consists of a minimum of one weekly client/case manager meeting (in person or by telephone) for 12 weeks. The intervention is intended to improve the transition process from prison to community at both the individual and systems level. Specifically, the intervention is designed to improve outcomes in parolee admission to, and retention in, community-based substance-abuse treatment, parolee access to other needed services, and recidivism rates during the first year of parole. On the systems level, the intervention is intended to improve the communication and collaboration between criminal justice agencies, community-based treatment organizations, and other social and governmental service providers. The TCM model is being tested in a multisite study through the Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) research cooperative funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
PMCID: PMC3434452  PMID: 22962520
case management; strengths-based; parolees; substance abuse treatment
6.  A multi-site, randomized study of strengths-based case management with substance-abusing parolees 
Objectives
To test whether strengths-based case management provided during an inmate’s transition from incarceration to the community increases participation in community substance abuse treatment, enhances access to needed social services, and improves drug use, crime, and HIV risk outcomes.
Methods
In a multi-site trial, inmates (men and women) in four states (n = 812) were randomly assigned (within site) to receive either Transitional Case Management (TCM group), based on strengths-based principles, or standard parole services (SR group). Data were collected at baseline and at 3 and 9 months following release from prison. Analyses compared the two groups with respect to services received and to drug use, crime, and HIV risk behavior outcomes.
Results
There were no significant differences between parolees in the TCM group and the SR group on outcomes related to participation in drug abuse treatment, receipt of social services, or drug use, crime, and HIV risk behaviors. For specific services (e.g., residential treatment, mental health), although significant differences were found for length of participation or for number of visits, the number of participants in these services was small and the direction of effect was not consistent.
Conclusion
In contrast to positive findings in earlier studies of strengths-based case management with mental-health and drug-abuse clients, this study found that case management did not improve treatment participation or behavioral outcomes for parolees with drug problems. The discussion includes possible reasons for the findings and suggestions for modifications to the intervention that could be addressed in future research.
doi:10.1007/s11292-011-9123-y
PMCID: PMC3157195  PMID: 21949490
Case management; Drug-use offenders; Experimental design; Field experiments; Offender treatment
7.  Collaborative Behavioral Management for Drug-Involved Parolees: Rationale and Design of the Step'n Out Study 
This article describes the rationale, study design, and implementation for the Step'n Out study of the Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies. Step'n Out tests the relative effectiveness of collaborative behavioral management of drug-involved parolees. Collaborative behavioral management integrates the roles of parole officers and treatment counselors to provide role induction counseling, contract for pro-social behavior, and deliver contingent reinforcement of behaviors consistent with treatment objectives. The Step'n Out study will randomize 450 drug-involved parolees to collaborative behavioral management or usual parole. Follow-up at 3-and 9-months will assess primary outcomes of rearrest, crime and drug use. If collaborative behavioral management is effective, its wider adoption could improve the outcomes of community reentry of drug-involved ex-offenders.
doi:10.1080/10509670802134184
PMCID: PMC2756716  PMID: 19809591
Community corrections; community reinforcement; contingency management; drug abusear; graduated sanctions; parole
8.  Prison Experiences and the Reintegration of Male Parolees 
ANS. Advances in nursing science  2009;32(2):E17-E29.
Approximately 60% to 70% of all individuals on parole are reincarcerated within 3 years of release from prison. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of parolees’ correctional experiences on their reintegration efforts. Qualitative data were collected via individual interviews with 17 male parolees. Findings revealed 3 types of correctional system adaptations—acquiescence, inaction, and aggression—and 2 patterns of system dependency—reluctant acceptance and complete reliance. Effective health and reintegration policy for individuals on parole must integrate the problems and issues of long-term involvement in correctional and criminal life into programs and interventions for these individuals.
doi:10.1097/ANS.0b013e3181a3b36a
PMCID: PMC2886197  PMID: 19461219
adaptation; dependency; prison; prisoners
9.  Correlates of Serious Violent Crime for Recently Released Parolees With a History of Homelessness 
Violence and victims  2012;27(5):793-810.
This study used baseline data on recently-released homeless paroled men who are homeless (N = 157), residing in a residential drug treatment program, and enrolled in a longitudinal study to examine personal, developmental, and social correlates of parolees who are homeless and parolees who have committed serious violent offenses. Having experienced childhood sexual abuse, poor parental relationships, and early-onset incarceration (prior to 21 years of age) were important correlates of serious violent crimes. These findings highlight the need for interventions that address offenders’ prior adult and childhood victimization, and suggest that policies for reentering violent offenders should encompass an understanding of the broader family contexts in which these patterns of maltreatment often occur.
PMCID: PMC3629810  PMID: 23155727
violence; serious violent crimes; childhood history; paroled men
10.  Parole Officer–parolee Relationships and HIV Risk Behaviors during Community Supervision 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(8):2667-2675.
We tested if good parole officer (PO)–parolee relationships reduce HIV risk behaviors during parole, as they do for risk of rearrest. Analyses used data from 374 parolees enrolled in a randomized clinical trial. Past month HIV risk behaviors were assessed by interview at baseline, 3- and 9-months after parole initiation. The Working Alliance Inventory and the Dual-Role Relationships Inventory measured PO relationship. Gender-stratified multivariate regressions tested associations of PO–parolee relationship with sex with multiple partners, unprotected sex with risky partner(s), and drug injection. Women parolees (n = 65) who reported better PO relationship characteristics were less likely to report having multiple sex partners [adjusted odds ratio: 0.82 (0.69, 0.98) at 3-months, 0.89 (0.80, 0.99) at 9-months], and, among those reporting multiple sex partners, had fewer partners on average [adjusted relative risk 0.98 (0.96, 0.99)]. These effects were not found among men. PO–parolee relationship quality can influence sexual risk behaviors among women parolees.
doi:10.1007/s10461-011-0081-1
PMCID: PMC3758401  PMID: 22038082
Parole; Community supervision; Working alliance; HIV risk behaviors; Women
11.  Gender and treatment response in substance-use treatment mandated parolees 
Well-controlled, randomized studies of correctional interventions examining gender effects are rare. This study examined gender main effects and gender by treatment interactions in a multisite randomized trial (N = 431) comparing a new form of correctional supervision for drug-involved offenders (Collaborative Behavioral Management; CBM) to standard parole. Outcomes included repeated measures of yes/no use of primary drug, alcohol use, and recidivism during 9 months post-release. Generalized estimating equation analyses indicated that despite using harder drugs at baseline, women were less likely than men to use their primary drug and to use alcohol during the follow-up period. No gender-related differences in recidivism were found. Treatment interacted with gender to predict alcohol use, with women in CBM reporting the best alcohol outcomes (only 5% used alcohol during the follow-up period). The clear expectations, positive reinforcement, recognition of successes, fairness, and support present in CBM may be particularly important for women parolees.
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2010.11.013
PMCID: PMC3056944  PMID: 21266302
12.  The Long-Term Health Consequences of Child Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(11):e1001349.
Rosana Norman and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, and subsequent mental and physical health outcomes.
Background
Child sexual abuse is considered a modifiable risk factor for mental disorders across the life course. However the long-term consequences of other forms of child maltreatment have not yet been systematically examined. The aim of this study was to summarise the evidence relating to the possible relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, and subsequent mental and physical health outcomes.
Methods and Findings
A systematic review was conducted using the Medline, EMBASE, and PsycINFO electronic databases up to 26 June 2012. Published cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies that examined non-sexual child maltreatment as a risk factor for loss of health were included. All meta-analyses were based on quality-effects models. Out of 285 articles assessed for eligibility, 124 studies satisfied the pre-determined inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Statistically significant associations were observed between physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect and depressive disorders (physical abuse [odds ratio (OR) = 1.54; 95% CI 1.16–2.04], emotional abuse [OR = 3.06; 95% CI 2.43–3.85], and neglect [OR = 2.11; 95% CI 1.61–2.77]); drug use (physical abuse [OR = 1.92; 95% CI 1.67–2.20], emotional abuse [OR = 1.41; 95% CI 1.11–1.79], and neglect [OR = 1.36; 95% CI 1.21–1.54]); suicide attempts (physical abuse [OR = 3.40; 95% CI 2.17–5.32], emotional abuse [OR = 3.37; 95% CI 2.44–4.67], and neglect [OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.13–3.37]); and sexually transmitted infections and risky sexual behaviour (physical abuse [OR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.50–2.10], emotional abuse [OR = 1.75; 95% CI 1.49–2.04], and neglect [OR = 1.57; 95% CI 1.39–1.78]). Evidence for causality was assessed using Bradford Hill criteria. While suggestive evidence exists for a relationship between maltreatment and chronic diseases and lifestyle risk factors, more research is required to confirm these relationships.
Conclusions
This overview of the evidence suggests a causal relationship between non-sexual child maltreatment and a range of mental disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, sexually transmitted infections, and risky sexual behaviour. All forms of child maltreatment should be considered important risks to health with a sizeable impact on major contributors to the burden of disease in all parts of the world. The awareness of the serious long-term consequences of child maltreatment should encourage better identification of those at risk and the development of effective interventions to protect children from violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Child maltreatment—the abuse and neglect of children—is a global problem. There are four types of child maltreatment—sexual abuse (the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not understand, is unable to give consent to, or is not developmentally prepared for), physical abuse (the use of physical force that harms the child's health, survival, development, or dignity), emotional abuse (the failure to provide a supportive environment by, for example, verbally threatening the child), and neglect (the failure to provide for all aspects of the child's well-being). Most child maltreatment is perpetrated by parents or parental guardians, many of whom were maltreated themselves as children. Other risk factors for parents abusing their children include poverty, mental health problems, and alcohol and drug misuse. Although there is considerable uncertainty about the frequency and severity of child maltreatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 20% of women and 5%–10% of men report being sexually abused as children, and the prevalence of physical abuse in childhood may be 25%–50%.
Why Was This Study Done?
Child maltreatment has a large public health impact. Sometimes this impact is immediate and direct (injuries and deaths), but, more often, it is long-term, affecting emotional development and overall health. For child sexual abuse, the relationship between abuse and mental disorders in adult life is well-established. Exposure to other forms of child maltreatment has also been associated with a wide range of psychological and behavioral problems, but the health consequences of physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect have not been systematically examined. A better understanding of the long-term health effects of child maltreatment is needed to inform maltreatment prevention strategies and to improve treatment for children who have been abused or neglected. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers quantify the association between exposure to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect in childhood and mental health and physical health outcomes in later life. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; a meta-analysis is a statistical approach that combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 124 studies that investigated the relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect and various health outcomes. Their meta-analysis of data from these studies provides suggestive evidence that child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect are causally linked to mental and physical health outcomes. For example, emotionally abused individuals had a three-fold higher risk of developing a depressive disorder than non-abused individuals (an odds ratio [OR] of 3.06). Physically abused and neglected individuals also had a higher risk of developing a depressive disorder than non-abused individuals (ORs of 1.54 and 2.11, respectively). Other mental health disorders associated with child physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect included anxiety disorders, drug abuse, and suicidal behavior. Individuals who had been non-sexually maltreated as children also had a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases and/or risky sexual behavior than non-maltreated individuals. Finally, there was weak and inconsistent evidence that child maltreatment increased the risk of chronic diseases and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking.
What Do These Findings Mean?
By providing suggestive evidence of a causal link between non-sexual child maltreatment and mental health disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, and sexually transmitted diseases and risky sexual behavior, these findings contribute to our understanding of the non-injury health impacts of child maltreatment. Although most of the studies included in the meta-analysis were undertaken in high-income countries, the findings suggest that this link occurs in both high- and low-to-middle-income countries. They also suggest that neglect may be as harmful as physical and emotional abuse. However, they need to be interpreted carefully because of the limitations of this meta-analysis, which include the possibility that children who have been abused may share other, unrecognized factors that are actually the cause of their later mental health problems. Importantly, this confirmation that physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect in childhood are important risk factors for a range of health problems draws attention to the need to develop evidence-based strategies for preventing child maltreatment both to reduce childhood suffering and to alleviate an important risk factor for later health problems.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001349.
The World Health Organization provides information on child maltreatment and its prevention (in several languages); Preventing Child Maltreatment: A Guide to Taking Action and Generating Evidence is a 2006 report produced by WHO and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on child maltreatment and links to additional resources
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to end all cruelty to children in the UK; Childline is a resource provided by the NSPCC that provides help, information, and support to children who are being abused
The Hideout is a UK-based website that helps children and young people understand domestic abuse
Childhelp is a US not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect; its website includes a selection of personal stories about child maltreatment
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001349
PMCID: PMC3507962  PMID: 23209385
13.  Correlates of Risky Alcohol and Methamphetamine Use among Currently Homeless Male Parolees 
Journal of addictive diseases  2013;32(4):365-376.
Homeless men on parole are a hard-to-reach population with significant community reintegration challenges. This cross-sectional study describes socio-demographic, cognitive, psychosocial and drug-related correlates of alcohol and methamphetamine use in 157 homeless male parolees (age range 18–60) enrolled in a substance abuse treatment center in Los Angeles. Logistic regression results revealed that being African American and older were negatively related to methamphetamine use, while being older and more hostile were related to riskier alcohol abuse. Findings from this study provide a greater understanding of correlates of methamphetamine and alcohol- two of the most detrimental forms of substances abused among currently homeless parolees.
doi:10.1080/10550887.2013.849973
PMCID: PMC3908772  PMID: 24325770
Substance use; alcohol use; methamphetamine use; parolees; homeless
14.  Changes in HIV Incidence among People Who Inject Drugs in Taiwan following Introduction of a Harm Reduction Program: A Study of Two Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(4):e1001625.
Kenrad Nelson and colleagues report on the association between HIV incidence and exposure to a national harm-reduction program among people who inject drugs in Taiwan.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Harm reduction strategies for combating HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs (PWID) have been implemented in several countries. However, large-scale studies using sensitive measurements of HIV incidence and intervention exposures in defined cohorts are rare. The aim of this study was to determine the association between harm reduction programs and HIV incidence among PWID.
Methods and Findings
The study included two populations. For 3,851 PWID who entered prison between 2004 and 2010 and tested HIV positive upon incarceration, we tested their sera using a BED HIV-1 capture enzyme immunoassay to estimate HIV incidence. Also, we enrolled in a prospective study a cohort of 4,357 individuals who were released from prison via an amnesty on July 16, 2007. We followed them with interviews at intervals of 6–12 mo and by linking several databases. A total of 2,473 participants who were HIV negative in January 2006 had interviews between then and 2010 to evaluate the association between use of harm reduction programs and HIV incidence. We used survival methods with attendance at methadone clinics as a time-varying covariate to measure the association with HIV incidence. We used a Poisson regression model and calculated the HIV incidence rate to evaluate the association between needle/syringe program use and HIV incidence. Among the population of PWID who were imprisoned, the implementation of comprehensive harm reduction programs and a lower mean community HIV viral load were associated with a reduced HIV incidence among PWID. The HIV incidence in this population of PWID decreased from 18.2% in 2005 to 0.3% in 2010. In an individual-level analysis of the amnesty cohort, attendance at methadone clinics was associated with a significantly lower HIV incidence (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.20, 95% CI: 0.06–0.67), and frequent users of needle/syringe program services had lower HIV incidence (0% in high NSP users, 0.5% in non NSP users). In addition, no HIV seroconversions were detected among prison inmates.
Conclusions
Although our data are affected by participation bias, they strongly suggest that comprehensive harm- reduction services and free treatment were associated with reversal of a rapidly emerging epidemic of HIV among PWID.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 35 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and about 2.3 million people become newly infected every year. HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner. However, people who inject drugs (PWID) have a particularly high risk of HIV infection because blood transfer through needle and syringe sharing can transmit the virus. It is estimated that 5%–10% of all people living with HIV are PWID. Indeed, in some regions of the world the primary route of HIV transmission is through shared drug injection equipment and the prevalence (the proportion of a population that has a specific disease) of HIV infection among PWID is very high. In Asia, for example, more than a quarter of PWID are HIV positive. Because the high prevalence of HIV among PWID poses a global health challenge, bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS endorse harm reduction strategies to prevent risky injection behaviors among PWID. These strategies include the provision of clean needles and syringes, opioid substitution therapy such as methadone maintenance treatment, and antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive PWID.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although harm reduction strategies for combating HIV epidemics among PWID have been implemented in several countries, few large-scale studies have examined the association between HIV incidence (the proportion of new cases of HIV in a population per year) and exposure to harm reduction programs among PWID. In this cohort study (an investigation that determines the characteristics of a group of people and then follows them over time), the researchers determine the association between harm reduction programs and HIV incidence among PWID in Taiwan. HIV infections used to be rare among the 60,000 PWID living in Taiwan, but after the introduction of a new HIV strain into the country in 2003, an HIV epidemic spread rapidly. In response, the Taiwanese government introduced a pilot program of harm reduction that included the provision of clean needles and syringes and health education in July 2005. The program was expanded to include methadone maintenance treatment in early 2006 and implemented nationwide in June 2006.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled two study populations. The first cohort comprised 3,851 PWID who were incarcerated for illicit drug use between 2004 and 2010 and who tested positive for HIV upon admission into prison. By using the BED assay, which indicates whether an HIV infection is recent, the researchers were able to determine the HIV incidence among the prisoners. In 2004, the estimated HIV incidence among prisoners with a history of drug injection was 6.44%. The incidence peaked in 2005 at 18.2%, but fell to 0.3% in 2010.
The second study population comprised 2,473 individuals who were HIV negative on January 1, 2006, and who had been incarcerated for drug use crimes but were released on July 16, 2007, during an amnesty. The researchers regularly interviewed these participants between their release and 2010 about their use of harm reduction interventions, and obtained other data about them (for example, diagnosis of HIV infection) from official databases. Analysis of all these data indicated that, in this cohort, attendance at methadone maintenance treatment clinics and frequent use of needle and syringe services were both associated with a significantly lower HIV incidence.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the introduction of a comprehensive harm reduction program in Taiwan was associated with a significant reduction in the HIV incidence rate among PWID. These findings must be interpreted with caution, however. First, because the participants in the study were selected from PWID with histories of incarceration, the findings may not be representative of all PWID in Taiwan or of PWID in other countries. Second, PWID who chose to use needle and syringe services or methadone maintenance treatment clinics might have shared other unknown characteristics that affected their risk of HIV infection. Finally, some of the reduction in HIV incidence seen during the study is likely to be associated with the availability of free treatment, which has been offered to all HIV-positive individuals in Taiwan since 1997. Despite these limitations, these findings suggest that countries with a high prevalence and incidence of HIV among PWID should provide comprehensive harm reduction services to their populations to reduce risky drug injection behaviors.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001625.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on injecting drug users and HIV/AIDS and on harm reduction and HIV prevention (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse also provides information about drug abuse and HIV/AIDS (in English and Spanish)
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, Nam/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001625
PMCID: PMC3979649  PMID: 24714449
15.  Improvements in Outcomes in Methadone Patients on Probation/Parole Regardless of Counseling Early in Treatment 
Journal of addiction medicine  2013;7(2):133-138.
Objective
This secondary data analysis examined the association between criminal justice (CJ) status and outcomes over 12 months of methadone maintenance treatment.
Methods
In the parent study, 230 newly-admitted patients were randomly assigned to methadone either with or without counseling for 4 months followed by standard methadone with counseling. Participants completed the ASI and urine drug testing at baseline and 4- and 12-month follow-up and the Treatment Readiness (TR) scale at baseline. The relationship between baseline CJ status (whether participants were on probation or parole), CJ status by study counseling condition, and CJ status by TR with heroin and cocaine use, illegal activity, days in treatment and treatment retention, arrests, and number of days incarcerated or hospitalized during follow-up was examined.
Results
Compared to participants not on probation/parole, probationers/parolees showed significant reductions in cocaine-positive tests from baseline to 12 months (p<.001). Probationers/parolees additionally reported significantly fewer days of illegal activity than non-probationers/parolees at 12 months (p=.02). There was no relationship between CJ status and counseling condition for any outcomes. The relationship between CJ status and TR was significant only for cocaine-positive tests assessed over time (p=.017).
Conclusions
Findings suggest that methadone patients on probation/parole showed improvements in outcomes comparable to patients not on probation/parole, regardless of whether they received counseling during the first 4 months of treatment.
doi:10.1097/ADM.0b013e318284a0c1
PMCID: PMC3618548  PMID: 23455877
Opioid addiction; methadone treatment; criminal justice
16.  Barriers and Facilitators: Parolees' Perceptions of Community Health Care 
Paroled individuals have physical and mental health problems and addiction disorders at rates greater than the general population. The aim of this study was to identify the perceived barriers and facilitators parolees encounter in their efforts to access and utilize health care services in the community. Qualitative data were collected via individual interviews with 17 chronically ill, middle-aged male parolees. Study results included financial and administrative barriers to care; structural facilitators to care; and the influence of clinicians' professional demeanor on health care access. Increased access to health care can provide opportunities to address both the health care and reintegration needs of individuals on parole.
doi:10.1177/1078345809348201
PMCID: PMC2882291  PMID: 19861321
parolees; health care access; barriers; facilitators
17.  Violent Offenses Associated with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Problems: Evidence from CJDATS† 
Behavioral sciences & the law  2009;27(1):51-69.
The present study examines the relationship between substance use, mental health problems, and violence in a sample of offenders released from prison and referred to substance abuse treatment programs. Data from 34 sites (n = 1,349) in a federally funded cooperative, the Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJDATS), were analyzed. Among parolees referred to substance abuse treatment, self-reports for the six-month period before the arrest resulting in their incarceration revealed frequent problems with both substance use and mental health. For most offenders with substance use problems, the quantity of alcohol consumed and the frequency of drug use were associated with a greater probability of self-reported violence. Mental health problems were not indicative of increases in violent behavior, with the exception of antisocial personality problems, which were associated with violence. The paper emphasizes the importance of providing substance abuse treatment in relation to violent behavior among offenders with mental health problems being discharged to the community.
doi:10.1002/bsl.850
PMCID: PMC2761624  PMID: 19156677
18.  Drug Abuse Treatment Beyond Prison Walls 
The period surrounding release from prison is a critical time for parolees, bearing the potential for a drug-free and crime-free life in the community but also high risks for recidivism and relapse to drugs. The authors describe two projects. The first illustrates the use of a formal Delphi process to elicit and combine the expertise of treatment providers, researchers, corrections personnel, and other stakeholders in a set of statewide guidelines for facilitating re-entry. The second project is a six-session intervention to enable women to protect themselves against acquiring or transmitting HIV in their intimate relationships.
PMCID: PMC2749213  PMID: 19369916
19.  Drug Abuse Treatment Beyond Prison Walls 
The period surrounding release from prison is a critical time for parolees, bearing the potential for a drug-free and crime-free life in the community but also high risks for recidivism and relapse to drugs. The authors describe two projects. The first illustrates the use of a formal Delphi process to elicit and combine the expertise of treatment providers, researchers, corrections personnel, and other stakeholders in a set of statewide guidelines for facilitating re-entry. The second project is a six-session intervention to enable women to protect themselves against acquiring or transmitting HIV in their intimate relationships.
PMCID: PMC2749213  PMID: 19369916
20.  Parole Revocation Among Prison Inmates With Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders 
Objective
This retrospective cohort study examined the association between co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders and parole revocation among inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the nation's largest state prison system.
Methods
The study population included all 8,149 inmates who were released under parole supervision between September 1, 2006, and November 31, 2006. An electronic database was used to identify inmates whose parole was revoked within 12 months of their release. The independent risk of parole revocation attributable to psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, and other covariates was assessed with logistic regression analysis.
Results
Parolees with a dual diagnosis of a major psychiatric disorder (major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorder) and a substance use disorder had a substantially increased risk of having their parole revoked because of either a technical violation (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.4–2.4) or commission of a new criminal offense (OR=2.8, 95% CI=1.7–4.5) in the 12 months after their release. However, parolees with a diagnosis of either a major psychiatric disorder alone or a substance use disorder alone demonstrated no such increased risk.
Conclusions
These findings highlight the need for future investigations of specific social, behavioral, and other factors that underlie higher rates of parole revocation among individuals with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders.
doi:10.1176/appi.ps.60.11.1516
PMCID: PMC2981345  PMID: 19880471
21.  Optimum Methadone Compliance Testing 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic utility of oral fluid testing collected with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Opioids (opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant that typically relieve pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependence and chronic pain. It prevents symptoms of opioid withdrawal, reduces opioid cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of short-acting opioids such as heroin and morphine. Opioid dependence is associated with harms including an increased risk of exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C as well as other health, social and psychological crises. The goal of methadone treatment is harm reduction. Treatment with methadone for opioid dependence is often a long-term therapy. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons estimates that there are currently 250 physicians qualified to prescribe methadone, and 15,500 people in methadone maintenance programs across Ontario.
Drug testing is a clinical tool whose purpose is to provide objective meaningful information, which will reinforce positive behavioral changes in patients and guide further treatment needs. Such information includes knowledge of whether the patient is taking their methadone as prescribed and reducing or abstaining from using opioid and other drugs of abuse use. The results of drug testing can be used with behavior modification techniques (contingency management techniques) where positive reinforcements such as increased methadone take-home privileges, sustained employment or parole are granted for drug screens negative for opioid use, and negative reinforcement including loss of these privileges for drug screens positive for opioid used.
Body fluids including blood, oral fluid, often referred to as saliva, and urine may contain metabolites and the parent drug of both methadone and drugs of abuse and provide a means for drug testing. Compared with blood which has a widow of detection of several hours, urine has a wider window of detection, approximately 1 to 3 days, and is therefore considered more useful than blood for drug testing. Because of this, and the fact that obtaining a urine specimen is relatively easy, urine drug screening is considered the criterion measure (gold standard) for methadone maintenance monitoring. However, 2 main concerns exist with urine specimens: the possibility of sample tampering by the patient and the necessity for observed urine collection. Urine specimens may be tampered with in 3 ways: dilution, adulteration (contamination) with chemicals, and substitution (patient submits another persons urine specimen). To circumvent sample tampering the supervised collection of urine specimens is a common and recommended practice. However, it has been suggested that this practice may have negative effects including humiliation experienced by patient and staff, and may discourage patients from staying in treatment. Supervised urine specimen collection may also present an operational problem as staff must be available to provide same-sex supervision. Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a replacement for urine because it can be collected easily under direct supervision without infringement of privacy and reduces the likelihood of sample tampering. Generally, the results of oral fluid drug testing are similar to urine drug testing but there are some differences, such as lower concentrations of substances in oral fluid than urine, and some drugs remain detectable for longer periods of time in urine than oral fluid.
The Technology Being Reviewed
The Intercept Oral Specimen Collection Device (Ora-Sure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) consists of an absorbent pad mounted on a plastic stick. The pad is coated with common salts. The absorbent pad is inserted into the mouth and placed between the cheek and gums for 3 minutes on average. The pad absorbs the oral fluid. After 3 minutes (range 2min-5 min) the collection device is removed from the mouth and the absorbent pad is placed in a small vial which contains 0.8mL of pH-balanced preservative, for transportation to a laboratory for analysis. It is recommended that the person undergoing oral fluid drug testing have nothing to eat or drink for a 10- minute period before the oral fluid specimen is collected. This will remove opportunity for adulteration. Likewise, it is recommended that the person be observed for the duration of the collection period to prevent adulteration of the specimen. An average of 0.4 mL of saliva can be collected. The specimen may be stored at 4C to 37C and tested within 21 days of collection (or within 6 weeks if frozen).
The oral fluid specimen must be analyzed in a laboratory setting. There is no point-of-care (POC) oral fluid test kit for drugs of abuse (other than for alcohol). In the laboratory the oral fluid is extracted from the vial after centrifugation and a screening test is completed to eliminate negative specimens. Similar to urinalysis, oral fluid specimens are analyzed first by enzyme immunoassay with positive specimens sent for confirmatory testing. Comparable cut-off values to urinalysis by enzyme immunoassay have been developed for oral fluids
Review Strategy
 
Research Question
What is the diagnostic utility of the Intercept oral specimen device?
Inclusion criteria:
Studies evaluating paired urine and oral fluid specimens from the same individual with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
The population studied includes drug users.
Exclusion criteria:
Studies testing for marijuana (THC) only.
Outcomes:
Sensitivity and Specificity of oral fluid testing compared to urinalysis for methadone (methadone metabolite), opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Quality of the Body of Evidence
The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A description of the GRADE system is reported in Appendix 1.
Summary of Findings
A total of 854 potential citations were retrieved. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 2 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two other relevant studies were found after corresponding with the author of the 2 studies retrieved from the literature search. Therefore a total of 4 published studies are included in this analysis. All 4 studies carried out by the same investigator meet the definition of Medical Advisory Secretariat level III (not a-randomized controlled trial with contemporaneous controls) study design. In each of the studies, paired urine and oral fluid specimens where obtained from drug users. Urine collection was not observed in the studies however, laboratory tests for pH and creatinine were used to determine the reliability of the specimen. Urine specimens thought to be diluted and unreliable were removed from the evaluation. Urinalysis was used as the criterion measurement for which to determine the sensitivity and specificity of oral fluid testing by the Intercept oral fluid device for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana. Alcohol was not tested in any of the 4 studies. From these 4 studies, the following conclusions were drawn:
The evidence indicates that oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device has better specificity than sensitivity for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana.
The sensitivity of oral fluids testing with the Intercept oral fluid device seems to be from best to worst: cocaine > benzodiazepines >opiates> marijuana.
The sensitivity and specificity for opiates of the Intercept oral fluid device ranges from 75 to 90% and 97- 100% respectively.
The consequences of opiate false-negatives by oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device need to be weighed against the disadvantages of urine testing, including invasion of privacy issues and adulteration and substitution of the urine specimen.
The window of detection is narrower for oral fluid drug testing than urinalysis and because of this oral fluid testing may best be applied in situations where there is suspected frequent drug use. When drug use is thought to be less frequent or remote, urinalysis may offer a wider (24-48 hours more than oral fluids) window of detection.
The narrow window of detection for oral fluid testing may mean more frequent testing is needed compared to urinalysis. This may increase the expense for drug testing in general.
POC oral fluid testing is not yet available and may limit the practical utility of this drug testing methodology. POC urinalysis by immunoassay is available.
The possible applications of oral fluid testing may include:
Because of its narrow window of detection compared to urinalysis oral fluid testing may best be used during periods of suspected frequent or recent drug use (within 24 hours of drug testing). This is not to say that oral fluid testing is superior to urinalysis during these time periods.
In situations where an observed urine specimen is difficult to obtain. This may include persons with “shy bladder syndrome” or with other urinary conditions limiting their ability to provide an observed urine specimen.
When the health of the patient would make urine testing unreliable (e,g., renal disease)
As an alternative drug testing method when urine specimen tampering practices are suspected to be affecting the reliability of the urinalysis test.
Possible limiting Factors to Diffusion of Oral Fluid Technology
No oral fluid POC test equivalent to onsite urine dips or POC analyzer reducing immediacy of results for patient care.
Currently, physicians get reimbursed directly for POC urinalysis. Oral fluid must be analyzed in a lab setting removing physician reimbursement, which is a source of program funding for many methadone clinics.
Small amount of oral fluid specimen obtained; repeat testing on same sample will be difficult.
Reliability of positive oral fluid methadone (parent drug) results may decrease because of possible contamination of oral cavity after ingestion of dose. Therefore high methadone levels may not be indicative of compliance with treatment. Oral fluid does not as yet test for methadone metabolite.
There currently is no licensed provincial laboratory that analyses oral fluid specimens.
Abbreviations
2-ethylidene- 1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
enzyme immunoassay
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA),
Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Test (EMIT)
Gas chromatography
gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
High-performance liquid chromatography
Limit of Detection
Mass spectrometry
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Oral fluid testing
Phencyclidine
Point of Care Testing
tetrahydrocannabinol
11-nor-delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
urine drug testing
PMCID: PMC3379523  PMID: 23074492
22.  Medication Assisted Treatment Research with Criminal Justice Populations: Challenges of Implementation 
Behavioral sciences & the law  2011;29(6):829-845.
Creating, implementing and evaluating substance abuse interventions, especially medication-assisted treatments, for prisoners, parolees, and probationers with histories of heroin addiction is an especially challenging endeavor because of the difficulty in coordinating and achieving cooperation among diverse criminal justice, substance abuse treatment, research, and social service agencies, each with its own priorities and agenda. In addition, there are special rules that must be followed when conducting research with criminal justice-involved populations, particularly prisoners. The following case studies will explore the authors’ experience of over 10 years conducting pharmacotherapy research using methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone with criminal justice populations. The major obstacles and how they were overcome are presented. Finally, recommendations are provided with regard to implementing and conducting research with criminal justice populations.
doi:10.1002/bsl.1015
PMCID: PMC3243915  PMID: 22086665
23.  Schizophrenia and Violence: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000120.
Seena Fazel and colleagues investigate the association between schizophrenia and other psychoses and violence and violent offending, and show that the increased risk appears to be partly mediated by substance abuse comorbidity.
Background
Although expert opinion has asserted that there is an increased risk of violence in individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses, there is substantial heterogeneity between studies reporting risk of violence, and uncertainty over the causes of this heterogeneity. We undertook a systematic review of studies that report on associations between violence and schizophrenia and other psychoses. In addition, we conducted a systematic review of investigations that reported on risk of homicide in individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses.
Methods and Findings
Bibliographic databases and reference lists were searched from 1970 to February 2009 for studies that reported on risks of interpersonal violence and/or violent criminality in individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses compared with general population samples. These data were meta-analysed and odds ratios (ORs) were pooled using random-effects models. Ten demographic and clinical variables were extracted from each study to test for any observed heterogeneity in the risk estimates. We identified 20 individual studies reporting data from 18,423 individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses. In men, ORs for the comparison of violence in those with schizophrenia and other psychoses with those without mental disorders varied from 1 to 7 with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 86%). In women, ORs ranged from 4 to 29 with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 85%). The effect of comorbid substance abuse was marked with the random-effects ORs of 2.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–2.7) without comorbidity, and an OR of 8.9 (95% CI 5.4–14.7) with comorbidity (p<0.001 on metaregression). Risk estimates of violence in individuals with substance abuse (but without psychosis) were similar to those in individuals with psychosis with substance abuse comorbidity, and higher than all studies with psychosis irrespective of comorbidity. Choice of outcome measure, whether the sample was diagnosed with schizophrenia or with nonschizophrenic psychoses, study location, or study period were not significantly associated with risk estimates on subgroup or metaregression analysis. Further research is necessary to establish whether longitudinal designs were associated with lower risk estimates. The risk for homicide was increased in individuals with psychosis (with and without comorbid substance abuse) compared with general population controls (random-effects OR = 19.5, 95% CI 14.7–25.8).
Conclusions
Schizophrenia and other psychoses are associated with violence and violent offending, particularly homicide. However, most of the excess risk appears to be mediated by substance abuse comorbidity. The risk in these patients with comorbidity is similar to that for substance abuse without psychosis. Public health strategies for violence reduction could consider focusing on the primary and secondary prevention of substance abuse.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Schizophrenia is a lifelong, severe psychotic condition. One in 100 people will have at least one episode of schizophrenia during their lifetime. Symptoms include delusions (for example, patients believe that someone is plotting against them) and hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not there). In men, schizophrenia usually starts in the late teens or early 20s; women tend to develop schizophrenia a little later. The causes of schizophrenia include genetic predisposition, obstetric complications, illegal drug use (substance abuse), and experiencing traumatic life events. The condition can be treated with a combination of antipsychotic drugs and supportive therapy; hospitalization may be necessary in very serious cases to prevent self harm. Many people with schizophrenia improve sufficiently after treatment to lead satisfying lives although some patients need lifelong support and supervision.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some people believe that schizophrenia and other psychoses are associated with violence, a perception that is often reinforced by news reports and that contributes to the stigma associated with mental illness. However, mental health advocacy groups and many mental health clinicians argue that it is a myth that people with mental health problems are violent. Several large, population-based studies have examined this disputed relationship. But, although some studies found no increased risk of violence among patients with schizophrenia compared with the general population, others found a marked increase in violent offending in patients with schizophrenia. Here, the researchers try to resolve this variation (“heterogeneity”) in the conclusions reached in different studies by doing a systematic review (a study that uses predefined search criteria to identify all the research on a specific topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies) of the literature on associations between violence and schizophrenia and other psychoses. They also explored the relationship between substance abuse and violence.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By systematically searching bibliographic databases and reference lists, the researchers identified 20 studies that compared the risk of violence in people with schizophrenia and other psychoses and the risk of violence in the general population. They then used a “random effects model” (a statistical technique that allows for heterogeneity between studies) to investigate the association between schizophrenia and violence. For men with schizophrenia or other psychoses, the pooled odds ratio (OR) from the relevant studies (which showed moderate heterogeneity) was 4.7, which was reduced to 3.8 once adjustment was made for socio-economic factors. That is, a man with schizophrenia was four to five times as likely to commit a violent act as a man in the general population. For women, the equivalent pooled OR was 8.2 but there was a much greater variation between the ORs in the individual studies than in the studies that involved men. The researchers then used “meta-regression” to investigate the heterogeneity between the studies. This analysis suggested that none of the study characteristics examined apart from co-occurring substance abuse could have caused the variation between the studies. Importantly the authors found that risk estimates of violence in people with substance abuse but no psychosis were similar to those in people with substance abuse and psychosis and higher than those in people with psychosis alone. Finally, although people with schizophrenia were nearly 20 times more likely to have committed murder than people in the general population, only one in 300 people with schizophrenia had killed someone, a similar risk to that seen in people with substance abuse.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that schizophrenia and other psychoses are associated with violence but that the association is strongest in people with substance abuse and most of the excess risk of violence associated with schizophrenia and other psychoses is mediated by substance abuse. However, the increased risk in patients with comorbidity was similar to that in substance abuse without psychosis. A potential implication of this finding is that violence reduction strategies that focus on preventing substance abuse among both the general population and among people with psychoses might be more successful than strategies that solely target people with mental illnesses. However, the quality of the individual studies included in this meta-analysis limits the strength of its conclusions and more research into the association between schizophrenia, substance abuse, and violence would assist in clarifying how and if strategies for violence reduction are changed.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000120.
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information about schizophrenia (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site has information for patients and carers about schizophrenia
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on schizophrenia; MedlinePlus provides links to other sources of information on schizophrenia and on psychotic disorders (in English and Spanish)
The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America provides information and support for people with schizophrenia and their families
The time to change Web site provides information about an English campaign to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
The Schizophrenia Research Forum provides updated research news and commentaries for the scientific community
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000120
PMCID: PMC2718581  PMID: 19668362
24.  A Randomized Experimental Study of Gender-Responsive Substance Abuse Treatment for Women in Prison 
This experimental pilot study compared post-release outcomes for 115 women who participated in prison-based substance abuse treatment. Women were randomized to a gender-responsive treatment (GRT) program using manualized curricula (Helping Women Recover and Beyond Trauma) or a standard prison-based therapeutic community (TC). Data were collected from the participants at prison program entry and 6 and 12 months after release. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted. Results indicate that both groups improved in psychological well-being; however, GRT participants had greater reductions in drug use, were more likely to remain in residential aftercare longer (2.6 months vs. 1.8 months, p < .05), and were less likely to have been reincarcerated within 12 months after parole (31% vs. 45%, respectively; a 67% reduction in odds for the experimental group, p < .05). Findings show the beneficial effects of treatment components oriented toward women's needs and support the integration of GRT in prison programs for women.
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2009.09.004
PMCID: PMC2815183  PMID: 20015605
Women offenders; gender-responsive treatment; corrections-based treatment outcomes; Helping Women Recover; Beyond Trauma
25.  The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001617.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, Anthony Shakeshaft and colleagues measure the effectiveness of a multi-component community-based intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm.
Background
The World Health Organization, governments, and communities agree that community action is likely to reduce risky alcohol consumption and harm. Despite this agreement, there is little rigorous evidence that community action is effective: of the six randomised trials of community action published to date, all were US-based and focused on young people (rather than the whole community), and their outcomes were limited to self-report or alcohol purchase attempts. The objective of this study was to conduct the first non-US randomised controlled trial (RCT) of community action to quantify the effectiveness of this approach in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms measured using both self-report and routinely collected data.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster RCT comprising 20 communities in Australia that had populations of 5,000–20,000, were at least 100 km from an urban centre (population ≥ 100,000), and were not involved in another community alcohol project. Communities were pair-matched, and one member of each pair was randomly allocated to the experimental group. Thirteen interventions were implemented in the experimental communities from 2005 to 2009: community engagement; general practitioner training in alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI); feedback to key stakeholders; media campaign; workplace policies/practices training; school-based intervention; general practitioner feedback on their prescribing of alcohol medications; community pharmacy-based SBI; web-based SBI; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services support for SBI; Good Sports program for sports clubs; identifying and targeting high-risk weekends; and hospital emergency department–based SBI. Primary outcomes based on routinely collected data were alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions. Routinely collected data for the entire study period (2001–2009) were obtained in 2010. Secondary outcomes based on pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 2,977 and 2,255, respectively) were the following: long-term risky drinking, short-term high-risk drinking, short-term risky drinking, weekly consumption, hazardous/harmful alcohol use, and experience of alcohol harm. At the 5% level of statistical significance, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the interventions were effective in the experimental, relative to control, communities for alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions, and for rates of risky alcohol consumption and hazardous/harmful alcohol use. Although respondents in the experimental communities reported statistically significantly lower average weekly consumption (1.90 fewer standard drinks per week, 95% CI = −3.37 to −0.43, p = 0.01) and less alcohol-related verbal abuse (odds ratio = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.96, p = 0.04) post-intervention, the low survey response rates (40% and 24% for the pre- and post-intervention surveys, respectively) require conservative interpretation. The main limitations of this study are as follows: (1) that the study may have been under-powered to detect differences in routinely collected data outcomes as statistically significant, and (2) the low survey response rates.
Conclusions
This RCT provides little evidence that community action significantly reduces risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, other than potential reductions in self-reported average weekly consumption and experience of alcohol-related verbal abuse. Complementary legislative action may be required to more effectively reduce alcohol harms.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000123448
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People have consumed alcoholic beverages throughout history, but alcohol use is now an increasing global public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor (after high blood pressure and smoking) for disease and is responsible for 3.9% of the global disease burden. Alcohol use contributes to heart disease, liver disease, depression, some cancers, and many other health conditions. Alcohol also affects the well-being and health of people around those who drink, through alcohol-related crimes and road traffic crashes. The impact of alcohol use on disease and injury depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. Most guidelines define long-term risky drinking as more than four drinks per day on average for men or more than two drinks per day for women (a “drink” is, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine), and short-term risky drinking (also called binge drinking) as seven or more drinks on a single occasion for men or five or more drinks on a single occasion for women. However, recent changes to the Australian guidelines acknowledge that a lower level of alcohol consumption is considered risky (with lifetime risky drinking defined as more than two drinks a day and binge drinking defined as more than four drinks on one occasion).
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This strategy emphasizes the importance of community action–a process in which a community defines its own needs and determines the actions that are required to meet these needs. Although community action is highly acceptable to community members, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Here, the researchers undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial (the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities [AARC] project) to quantify the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms in rural communities in Australia. A cluster randomized trial compares outcomes in clusters of people (here, communities) who receive alternative interventions assigned through the play of chance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pair-matched 20 rural Australian communities according to the proportion of their population that was Aboriginal (rates of alcohol-related harm are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal individuals than among non-Aboriginal individuals in Australia; they are also higher among young people and males, but the proportions of these two groups across communities was comparable). They randomly assigned one member of each pair to the experimental group and implemented 13 interventions in these communities by negotiating with key individuals in each community to define and implement each intervention. Examples of interventions included general practitioner training in screening for alcohol use disorders and in implementing a brief intervention, and a school-based interactive session designed to reduce alcohol harm among young people. The researchers quantified the effectiveness of the interventions using routinely collected data on alcohol-related crime and road traffic crashes, and on hospital inpatient admissions for alcohol dependence or abuse (which were expected to increase in the experimental group if the intervention was effective because of more people seeking or being referred for treatment). They also examined drinking habits and experiences of alcohol-related harm, such as verbal abuse, among community members using pre- and post-intervention surveys. After implementation of the interventions, the rates of alcohol-related crime, road traffic crashes, and hospital admissions, and of risky and hazardous/harmful alcohol consumption (measured using a validated tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were not statistically significantly different in the experimental and control communities (a difference in outcomes that is not statistically significantly different can occur by chance). However, the reported average weekly consumption of alcohol was 20% lower in the experimental communities after the intervention than in the control communities (equivalent to 1.9 fewer standard drinks per week per respondent) and there was less alcohol-related verbal abuse post-intervention in the experimental communities than in the control communities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide little evidence that community action reduced risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in rural Australian communities. Although there was some evidence of significant reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption and in experiences of alcohol-related verbal abuse, these findings must be interpreted cautiously because they are based on surveys with very low response rates. A larger or differently designed study might provide statistically significant evidence for the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption. However, given their findings, the researchers suggest that legislative approaches that are beyond the control of individual communities, such as alcohol taxation and restrictions on alcohol availability, may be required to effectively reduce alcohol harms. In other words, community action alone may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about alcohol; its fact sheet on alcohol includes information about the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health provides further information about alcohol, including information on control policies around the world
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about alcohol and its effects on health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health that includes information on the health risks of excessive drinking
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including information on the risks of drinking too much, tools for calculating alcohol consumption, and personal stories about alcohol use problems
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol
More information about the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities project is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617
PMCID: PMC3949675  PMID: 24618831

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