Introduction: Visits to settings such as emergency departments (EDs) may present a “teachable moment” in that a patient may be more open to feedback and suggestions regarding their risky alcohol and illicit drug-use behaviors. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an 'opportunistic' public health approach that targets low-risk users, in addition to those already dependent on alcohol and/or drugs. SBIRT programs provide patients with comprehensive screening and assessments, and deliver interventions of appropriate intensity to reduce risks related to alcohol and drug use.
Methods: This study used a single group pre-post test design to assess the effect of the California SBIRT service program (i.e., CASBIRT) on 6 substance-use outcomes (past-month prevalence and number of days of binge drinking, illegal drug use, and marijuana use). Trained bilingual/bicultural Health Educators attempted to screen all adult patients in 12 EDs/trauma centers (regardless of the reason for the patient's visit) using a short instrument, and then delivered a brief motivational intervention matched to the patient's risk level. A total of 2,436 randomly selected patients who screened positive for alcohol and/or drug use consented to be in a 6-month telephone follow-up interview. Because of the high loss to follow-up rate, we used an intention-to-treat approach for the data analysis.
Results: Results of generalized linear mixed models showed modest reductions in all 6 drug-and alcohol-use outcomes. Men (versus women), those at relatively higher risk status (versus lower risk), and those with only one substance of misuse (versus both alcohol and illicit drug misuse) tended to show more positive change.
Conclusion: These results suggest that SBIRT services provided in acute care settings are associated with modest changes in self-reported recent alcohol and illicit drug use.
Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs has increased rapidly in the United States during the last decade, yet little is known about its effects on prescribing decisions in primary care. We compared prescribing decisions in a US setting with legal DTCA and a Canadian setting where DTCA of prescription drugs is illegal, but some cross-border exposure occurs.
We recruited primary care physicians working in Sacramento, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and their group practice partners to participate in the study. On pre- selected days, patients aged 18 years or more completed a questionnaire before seeing their physician. We asked these patients' physicians to complete a brief questionnaire immediately following the selected patient visit. By pairing individual patient and physician responses, we determined how many patients had been exposed to some form of DTCA, the frequency of patients' requests for prescriptions for advertised medicines and the frequency of prescriptions that were stimulated by the patients' requests. We measured physicians' confidence in treatment choice for each new prescription by asking them whether they would prescribe this drug to a patient with the same condition.
Seventy-eight physicians (Sacramento n = 38, Vancouver n = 40) and 1431 adult patients (Sacramento n = 683, Vancouver n = 748), or 61% of patients who consulted participating physicians on pre-set days, participated in the survey. Exposure to DTCA was higher in Sacramento, although 87.4% of Vancouver patients had seen prescription drug advertisements. Of the Sacramento patients, 7.2% requested advertised drugs as opposed to 3.3% in Vancouver (odds ratio [OR] 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–4.1). Patients with higher self- reported exposure to advertising, conditions that were potentially treatable by advertised drugs, and/or greater reliance on advertising requested more advertised medicines. Physicians fulfilled most requests for DTCA drugs (for 72% of patients in Vancouver and 78% in Sacramento); this difference was not statistically significant. Patients who requested DTCA drugs were much more likely to receive 1 or more new prescriptions (for requested drugs or alternatives) than those who did not request DTCA drugs (OR 16.9, 95% CI 7.5–38.2). Physicians judged 50.0% of new prescriptions for requested DTCA drugs to be only “possible” or “unlikely” choices for other similar patients, as compared with 12.4% of new prescriptions not requested by patients (p < 0.001).
Our results suggest that more advertising leads to more requests for advertised medicines, and more prescriptions. If DTCA opens a conversation between patients and physicians, that conversation is highly likely to end with a prescription, often despite physician ambivalence about treatment choice.
Mid to late adolescence is characterised by a vulnerability to problematic substance use since the consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs is frequently initiated and increased in this life period. While the detrimental long- and short-term effects of problematic consumption patterns in adolescence pose a major public health concern, current prevention programs targeting alcohol- and other substance-using adolescents are scarce. The study described in this protocol will test the effectiveness of a web-based brief intervention aimed at reducing problematic alcohol use and promoting abstinence from illegal drugs in adolescents with risky substance use aged 16 to 18 years old in four EU-countries.
To determine the effectiveness of our web-BI, we apply a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) study design, with baseline assessment at study entry and a three month follow-up assessment. Adolescents aged 16 to 18 years from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Sweden will be randomly assigned to either the fully electronically delivered brief intervention group (N = 400) or an assessment only control group (N = 400) depending on their screening for risky substance use (using the CRAFFT). Recruitment, informed consent, randomization, intervention and follow-up will be implemented online. Primary outcomes are reductions in frequency and quantity of use of alcohol and drugs other than alcohol over a 30 day period, as well as consumption per typical occasion. Secondary outcomes concern changes in substance use related cognitions including the constructs of the Theory of Planned Behaviour, implementation intentions, and stages of change. Moreover the study addresses a number of moderator variables, including age of first use, general psychopathology and quality of parent–child relationship.
The trial is expected to contribute to the growing literature on theory- and web-based brief interventions for adolescents. We will explore the potential of using web-based technologies as means of delivering preventive interventions. In doing so we are among the first to target the relevant group of young poly-drug users in Europe.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95538913
Illegal drug use continues to be a major threat to community health and safety. We used international drug surveillance databases to assess the relationship between multiple long-term estimates of illegal drug price and purity.
We systematically searched for longitudinal measures of illegal drug supply indicators to assess the long-term impact of enforcement-based supply reduction interventions.
Data from identified illegal drug surveillance systems were analysed using an a priori defined protocol in which we sought to present annual estimates beginning in 1990. Data were then subjected to trend analyses.
Main outcome measures
Data were obtained from government surveillance systems assessing price, purity and/or seizure quantities of illegal drugs; systems with at least 10 years of longitudinal data assessing price, purity/potency or seizures were included.
We identified seven regional/international metasurveillance systems with longitudinal measures of price or purity/potency that met eligibility criteria. In the USA, the average inflation-adjusted and purity-adjusted prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis decreased by 81%, 80% and 86%, respectively, between 1990 and 2007, whereas average purity increased by 60%, 11% and 161%, respectively. Similar trends were observed in Europe, where during the same period the average inflation-adjusted price of opiates and cocaine decreased by 74% and 51%, respectively. In Australia, the average inflation-adjusted price of cocaine decreased 14%, while the inflation-adjusted price of heroin and cannabis both decreased 49% between 2000 and 2010. During this time, seizures of these drugs in major production regions and major domestic markets generally increased.
With few exceptions and despite increasing investments in enforcement-based supply reduction efforts aimed at disrupting global drug supply, illegal drug prices have generally decreased while drug purity has generally increased since 1990. These findings suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing.
AUDIT; PUBLIC HEALTH
A brief motivational interviewing (MI) intervention may be a viable adjunct to school-based substance abuse prevention programs. This article describes the development and implementation of a brief MI intervention with 573 adolescents (mean age 16.8; 40.3% female, 68% Latino) enrolled in eight continuation high schools in Southern California. Study participants were assigned to the MI condition in a randomized controlled trial of Project Toward No Drug Abuse. Data are provided on dosage, topics discussed, and quality of MI determined with the Motivational Interviewing Skill Code (MISC). Results suggest that the protocol was feasible and implemented with adequate fidelity. The study’s limitations are noted.
adolescent; motivational interviewing; substance use; prevention; intervention; telephone; school-based; booster
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
brief intervention; emergency departments
To examine existing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions that are designed to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco to young people. The review considers specific sub-questions related to the factors that might influence effectiveness, any differential effects for different sub-populations of youth, and barriers and facilitators to implementation.
A review of studies on the impact of interventions on young people under the age of 18 was conducted. It included interventions that were designed to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco to children and young people. The review was conducted in July 2007, and included 20 papers on access restriction studies. The quality of the papers was assessed and the relevant data was extracted.
The evidence obtained from the review indicates that access restriction interventions may produce significant reductions in the rate of illegal tobacco sales to youth. However, lack of enforcement and the ability of youth to acquire cigarettes from social sources may undermine the effectiveness of these interventions.
When access interventions are applied in a comprehensive manner, they can affect young people’s access to tobacco. However, further research is required to examine the effects of access restriction interventions on young people’s smoking behaviour.
Access restrictions; illegal sales; tobacco; youth; prevention
Asian American and Pacific Islander women represent a significant at-risk population for breast cancer, with their mortality rates rising while rates fall for all other racial groups.
This 3-year study employed a quasi-experimental design to test the influence of an intervention on screening rates among women age 50 years and older in Southern California compared to Northern California.
Despite significant exposure of women to the educational elements in Southern California, the intervention did not increase women’s knowledge, attitudes, or screening behaviors.
We discuss several study design and implementation limitations that could have influenced the study’s results.
Context: Athletes in the United States are at high risk for using spit (smokeless) tobacco (ST) and incurring its associated adverse health effects.
Objective: To examine whether an athletic trainer-directed ST intervention could decrease initiation and promote cessation of ST use among male collegiate baseball athletes.
Design: Stratified, cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Fifty-two California colleges.
Patients or Other Participant(s): A total of 883 subjects in 27 intervention colleges and 702 subjects in 25 control colleges participated, as did 48 certified athletic trainers.
Intervention(s): For college athletic trainers and associated dental professionals, a 3-hour video conference, and for collegiate athletes, an oral cancer screening with feedback and brief counseling during the preseason health screenings, athletic trainer support for cessation, and a peer-led educational baseball team meeting.
Main Outcome Measure(s): The subjects' ST use over 1 year was assessed by self-report. At the end of the study, the certified athletic trainers were mailed a survey assessing their tobacco use and perceptions and behavior related to tobacco control in the athletic environment. We used multivariable logistic regression models for clustered responses (generalized estimating equations) to test the difference between groups in ST-use initiation and cessation and to identify significant overall predictors of noninitiation and cessation of ST use.
Results: Of the 1585 athletes recruited, 1248 (78.7%) were followed up at 12 months. In addition, 48 of the 52 athletic trainers (92%) responded to the 1-year follow-up survey. The ST-use initiation (incidence) was 5.1% in intervention colleges and 8.4% in control colleges (generalized estimating equation odds ratio = 0.58, 95% confidence interval = 0.35–0.99). Predictors of ST noninitiation were low lifetime tobacco and monthly alcohol use (odds ratio = 1.98, 95% confidence interval = 1.40– 2.82) and athletic trainers' report that the baseball coach supported ST-use prevention activities (odds ratio = 1.43, 95% confidence interval = 1.11–1.83). Although at 1 year, cessation of ST use was relatively high in both groups (36%), we noted no significant difference between the groups (odd ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval = 0.70–1.27).
Conclusions: The intervention was significantly effective in preventing incident ST use but did not significantly increase cessation beyond that seen in the control group. The latter finding is inconsistent with previous studies and may be explained by spillover of the intervention to control colleges, other anti-tobacco activity in control colleges, and/or the small sample of dependent ST users enrolled in the study.
intervention studies; randomized controlled trials; sports; oral snuff; chewing tobacco; substance abuse
Historically, HIV, TB (tuberculosis) and illegal drug treatment services in Estonia have been developed as vertical structures. Related health care services are often provided by different health care institutions and in different locations. This may present obstacles for vulnerable groups, such as injecting drug users (IDU), to access the needed services. We conducted a small scale randomized controlled trial to evaluate a case management intervention aimed at increasing TB screening and treatment entry among IDUs referred from a methadone drug treatment program in Jõhvi, North-Eastern Estonia.
Of the 189 potential subjects, 112 (59%) participated. HIV prevalence was 86% (n = 96) and 7.4% (n = 8) of participants were interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) positive (6.5% were both HIV and IGRA-positive, n = 7). Overall, 44% of participants (n = 49) attended TB clinic, 17 (30%) from control group and 32 (57%) from case management group (p = 0.004). None of the participants were diagnosed with TB. In a multivariate model, those randomized to case management group were more likely to access TB screening services.
These findings demonstrate the urgent need for scaling up TB screening among IDUs and the value of more active approach in referring substitution treatment patients to TB services.
Objective To determine the effectiveness of programmes of screening in general practice for excessive alcohol use and providing brief interventions.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials that used screening as a precursor to brief intervention.
Setting General practice.
Main outcome measures Number needed to treat, proportion of patients positive on screening, proportion given brief interventions, and effect of screening.
Results The eight studies included for meta-analysis all used health questionnaires for screening, and the brief interventions included feedback, information, and advice. The studies contained several sources of bias that might lead to overestimates of the effects of intervention. External validity was compromised because typically three out of four people identified by screening as excessive users of alcohol did not qualify for the intervention after a secondary assessment. Overall, in 1000 screened patients, 90 screened positive and required further assessment, after which 25 qualified for brief intervention; after one year 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 3.4) reported they drank less than the maximum recommended level.
Conclusions Although even brief advice can reduce excessive drinking, screening in general practice does not seem to be an effective precursor to brief interventions targeting excessive alcohol use. This meta-analysis raises questions about the feasibility of screening in general practice for excessive use of alcohol.
Alcohol screening and brief interventions in medical settings can significantly reduce alcohol use. Corresponding data for illicit drug use is sparse. A Federally funded Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service program, the largest of its kind to date, was initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a wide variety of medical settings. We compared illicit drug use at intake and six months after drug screening and interventions were administered.
SBIRT services were implemented in a range of medical settings across six states. A diverse patient population (Alaska Natives, American Indians, African-Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics), was screened and offered score-based progressive levels of intervention (brief intervention, brief treatment, referral to specialty treatment). In this secondary analysis of the SBIRT service program, drug use data was compared at intake and at a six month follow-up, in a sample of a randomly selected population (10%) that screened positive at baseline.
Of 459,599 patients screened, 22.7% screened positive for a spectrum of use (risky/problematic, abuse/addiction). The majority were recommended for a brief intervention (15.9%), with a smaller percentage recommended for brief treatment (3.2%) or referral to specialty treatment (3.7%). Among those reporting baseline illicit drug use, rates of drug use at 6 month follow-up (4 of 6 sites), were 67.7% lower (p < 0.001) and heavy alcohol use was 38.6% lower (p < 0.001), with comparable findings across sites, gender, race/ethnic, age subgroups. Among persons recommended for brief treatment or referral to specialty treatment, self-reported improvements in general health (p < 0.001), mental health (p < 0.001), employment (p < 0.001), housing status (p < 0.001), and criminal behavior (p < 0.001) were found.
SBIRT was feasible to implement and the self-reported patient status at six months indicated significant improvements over baseline, for illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use, with functional domains improved, across a range of health care settings and a range of patients.
services; treatment; prescription drug abuse; preventive medicine; marijuana; cocaine; heroin; methamphetamine; CPT® codes; primary health care; trauma centers
Legislation passed in 2000 allowed syringe exchange programs (SEPs) in California to operate legally if local jurisdictions declare a local HIV public health emergency. Nonetheless, even in locales where SEPs are legal, the possession of drug paraphernalia, including syringes, remained illegal. The objective of this paper is to examine the association between the legal status of SEPs and individual arrest or citation for drug paraphernalia among injection drug users (IDUs) in California from 2001 to 2003. Using data from three annual cross-sections (2001-03) of IDUs attending 24 SEPs in 16 California counties (N = 1,578), we found that overall, 14% of IDUs in our sample reported arrest or citation for paraphernalia in the 6 months before the interview. Further analysis found that 17% of IDUs attending a legal SEP (defined at the county level) reported arrest or citation for drug paraphernalia compared to 10% of IDUs attending an illegal SEP (p = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, the adjusted odds ratio of arrest or citation for drug paraphernalia was 1.6 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2, 2.3] for IDUs attending legal SEPs compared to IDUs attending illegal SEPs, after controlling for race/ethnicity, age, homelessness, illegal income, injection of amphetamines, years of injection drug use, frequency of SEP use, and number of needles received at last visit. IDUs attending SEPs with legal status may be more visible to police, and hence, more subject to arrest or citation for paraphernalia. These findings suggest that legislative efforts to decriminalize the operation of SEPs without concurrent decriminalization of syringe possession may result in higher odds of arrest among SEP clients, with potentially deleterious implications for the health and well-being of IDUs. More comprehensive approaches to removing barriers to accessing sterile syringes are needed if our public health goals for reducing new HIV/HCV infections are to be obtained.
Law enforcement; HIV; Arrests; Injection drug use; Syringe exchange programs; Policy
Accuracy of the Violence Proneness Scale (VPS) of the Drug Use Screening Inventory (DUSI-R)1 was evaluated in 328 boys for predicting use of illegal drugs, DUI, selling drugs, sexually transmitted disease, car accident while under acute effects of drugs/alcohol, trading drugs for sex, injuries from a fight, and traumatic head injury. Boys were prospectively tracked from age 16 to 19 at which time these outcomes were documented in the interim period. The results demonstrated that the VPS score is a significant predictor of all outcomes. Prediction accuracy ranged between 62%-83%. These findings suggest that the VPS may be useful for identifying youths who are at high risk for using illicit drugs and commonly associated adverse outcomes.
HIV testing is an effective intervention for reducing HIV risk and providing information on HIV status. However, uptake of HIV testing is a major challenge within the drug-using population due to the stigma and discrimination associated with their illegal drug use behaviours. This study thus aimed to identify factors associated with HIV testing among injecting drug users (IDUs) and non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) in Lashio, Myanmar.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 2010 to February 2010.
This study was carried out in Lashio city, Northern Shan State, Myanmar.
In total, 158 male IDUs and 210 male NIDUs were recruited using a respondent-driven sampling method.
Primary outcome measures
Proportion of both drug users who were ever tested for HIV and factors associated with HIV testing.
Approximately 77% of IDUs and 46% of NIDUs were ever tested for HIV. The multivariate analysis revealed that having ever received drug treatment was positively associated with HIV testing among both IDUs (adjusted OR (AOR) 13.07; 95% CI 3.38 to 50.53) and NIDUs (AOR 3.58; 95% CI 1.38 to 9.24). IDUs who were married (AOR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.94) and who injected at least twice daily (AOR 0.30; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.97) were less likely to undergo HIV testing. Among NIDUs, those who belonged to Shan (AOR 0.30; 95% CI 0.11 to 0.84) or Kachin (AOR 0.30; 95% CI 0.10 to 0.87) ethnicities were less likely to test for HIV.
IDUs and NIDUs who have received drug treatment are more likely to test for HIV. Integrating HIV testing into drug treatment programmes alongside general expansion of HIV testing services may be effective in increasing HIV testing uptake among both IDUs and NIDUs in the Northern Shan State of Myanmar.
Health Services Administration & Management
Public health research involving social or kin groups (such as sexual partners or family members), rather than samples of unrelated individuals, has become more widespread in response to social ecological approaches to disease treatment and prevention. This approach requires the development of innovative sampling, recruitment and screening methodologies tailored to the study of related individuals.
In this paper, we describe a set of sampling, recruitment and screening protocols developed to enlist urban, drug-using, heterosexual couples into a public health research study. This population is especially hard to reach because they are engaged in illegal and/or stigmatized behaviors. The protocols were designed to integrate adaptive sampling, street- and referral-based recruitment, and screening procedures to verify study eligibility and relationship status.
Recruitment of heterosexual couples through one partner, preferably the female, can be an effective enlistment technique. Verification of relationship status is an important component of dyadic research. Comparison of parallel questionnaires administered to each member of a dyad can aid in the assessment of relationship status. However, multiple independent sources of information should be used to verify relationship status when available. Adaptive sampling techniques were effective in reaching drug-using heterosexual couples in an urban setting, and the application of these methods to other groups of related individuals in clinical and public health research may prove to be useful. However, care must be taken to consider potential sources of sampling bias when interpreting and generalizing study results.
Effective management of biological resources is contingent upon stakeholder compliance with rules. With respect to disease management, partial compliance can undermine attempts to control diseases within human and wildlife populations. Estimating non-compliance is notoriously problematic as rule-breakers may be disinclined to admit to transgressions. However, reliable estimates of rule-breaking are critical to policy design. The European badger (Meles meles) is considered an important vector in the transmission and maintenance of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle herds. Land managers in high bTB prevalence areas of the UK can cull badgers under license. However, badgers are also known to be killed illegally. The extent of illegal badger killing is currently unknown. Herein we report on the application of three innovative techniques (Randomized Response Technique (RRT); projective questioning (PQ); brief implicit association test (BIAT)) for investigating illegal badger killing by livestock farmers across Wales. RRT estimated that 10.4% of farmers killed badgers in the 12 months preceding the study. Projective questioning responses and implicit associations relate to farmers' badger killing behavior reported via RRT. Studies evaluating the efficacy of mammal vector culling and vaccination programs should incorporate estimates of non-compliance. Mitigating the conflict concerning badgers as a vector of bTB requires cross-disciplinary scientific research, departure from deep-rooted positions, and the political will to implement evidence-based management.
A substantial body of research has established the effectiveness of brief interventions for problem alcohol use. Following these studies, national dissemination projects of screening, brief intervention (BI), and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and drugs have been implemented on a widespread scale in multiple states despite little existing evidence for the impact of BI on drug use for non-treatment seekers. This article describes the design of a study testing the impact of SBIRT on individuals with drug problems, its contributions to the existing literature, and its potential to inform drug policy.
The study is a randomized controlled trial of an SBIRT intervention carried out in a primary care setting within a safety net system of care. Approximately 1,000 individuals presenting for scheduled medical care at one of seven designated primary care clinics who endorse problematic drug use when screened are randomized in a 1:1 ratio to BI versus enhanced care as usual (ECAU). Individuals in both groups are reassessed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after baseline. Self-reported drug use and other psychosocial measures collected at each data point are supplemented by urine analysis and public health-related data from administrative databases.
This study will contribute to the existing literature by providing evidence for the impact of BI on problem drug use based on a broad range of measures including self-reported drug use, urine analysis, admission to drug abuse treatment, and changes in utilization and costs of health care services, arrests, and death with the intent of informing policy and program planning for problem drug use at the local, state, and national levels.
Problem drug use; Screening; Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT); Motivational Interviewing (MI); Addiction Severity Index (ASI); Safety net; Public health benefit; Cost effectiveness
Evaluate the efficacy of a brief image-based prevention intervention and assess current drug use as a moderator of intervention effects.
A clinical trial with 416 high school-aged adolescents were randomized to either the brief intervention or usual care control with data collected at baseline and 3-month follow-up. The brief intervention consisted of a tailored in-person communication and a series of parent/guardian print materials based on the Behavior-Image Model.
Health behavior goal setting increased for participants receiving the brief intervention, with an effect size in the small range (d=.33). Overall effect sizes for cigarette smoking frequency and quantity, and alcohol use frequency and quantity were small (d's=.16-.21) and in favor of the brief intervention. However, adolescents reporting current substance use who received the brief intervention reduced their frequency and heavy use of alcohol, frequency and quantity of cigarette smoking, and alcohol/drug problems, with larger effects ranging from small to approaching medium in size (d's=.32-.43; p's <.01).
This study suggests that brief image-based messages may increase health behavior goal setting and reduce substance use, particularly among drug using older adolescents.
Self-image; prevention; brief intervention; substance use; adolescents
This study aims to identify the differences between Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and non-IDUs, with regard to some potential factors. This could be useful to design effective interventions for harm reduction, which is one of the priority areas in reducing the burden of addiction.
Sixty cases and 60 controls participated in this pair-matched case-control study, which was conducted in Tehran. The cases were IDUs who were asked to introduce two friends; one IDU and the other non-IDU as the paired control. In addition to demographic variables, onset age of cigarette smoking, dropping out of school, imprisonment, history of being sexually abused for money, and family history of using illegal drugs were obtained from the cases and controls via an interview. Pair Odds Ratio (OR) was estimated through McNemar and conditional multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Eighty-three % of the IDUs and 92% the controls were male. The mean for onset age of cigarette smoking was 16 in the cases and 20 in the controls, which was significantly different between cases and controls (P<0.001).
In the multivariate analysis, dropping out from school was significantly different between cases and controls (OR=4.22 95% CI: 2.23 – 14.0). Imprisonment was more frequent in IDUs compared to non-IDUs (OR=3.70 95% CI: 1.09 – 11.08). The cases had more sexual relationship for earning money compared to the controls (OR=3.14 95% CI: 1.24 – 13.70). Onset age of cigarette smoking was significantly (P<0.001) sooner in the IDUs compared to the non-IDUs (15.9 and 20.1 years, respectively). IDUs reported 5.5 times more that non-IDUs of having an addict in their family (P value=0.04).
The finding of this study can be useful in identifying the persons who are at risk of IDU. Therefore, people who involve with risk factors recognized in this study should be triggered for harm reduction prevention strategies.
Addiction; case control; injection drug use; snowball sampling
In light of overwhelming evidence that access to sterile injection equipment reduces incidence of injection-attributable bloodborne disease without encouraging drug use, many localities have authorized sterile syringe access programs (SAPs), including syringe exchange and pharmacy-based initiatives. Even where such interventions are clearly legal, many law enforcement officers are unaware of the public health benefits and legal status of these programs and may continue to treat the possession of injection equipment as illegal and program participation as a marker of illegal behavior. Law enforcement practice can impede SAP utilization and may increase the risk of needlestick injury (NSI) among law enforcement personnel. Many SAPs conduct little or no outreach to law enforcement, in part because they perceive law enforcement actors as unreceptive to health-promotion programs targeting drug users.
We report on a brief training intervention for law enforcement personnel designed to increase officer knowledge of and positive attitudes towards SAPs by bundling content that addresses officer concerns about infectious disease and occupational safety with information about the legality and public health benefits of these programs. Pilot trainings using this bundled curriculum were conducted with approximately 600 officers in three US cities.
Discussion and evaluation
Law enforcement officers were generally receptive to receiving information about SAPs through the bundled curriculum. The trainings led to better communication and collaboration between SAP and law enforcement personnel, providing a valuable platform for better harmonization of law enforcement and public health activities targeting injection drug users.
The experience in these three cities suggests that a harm reduction training curriculum that bundles strategies for increasing officer occupational safety with information about the legality and public health benefits of SAPs can be well received by law enforcement personnel and can lead to better communication and collaboration between law enforcement and harm reduction actors. Further study is indicated to assess whether such a bundled curriculum is effective in changing officer attitudes and beliefs and reducing health risks to officers and injection drug users, as well as broader benefits to the community at large.
Alcohol use is an important issue among problem drug users. Although screening and brief intervention (SBI) are effective in reducing problem alcohol use in primary care, no research has examined this issue among problem drug users.
The objective of this study is to determine if a complex intervention including SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users is feasible and acceptable in practice. This study also aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing the proportion of patients with problem alcohol use.
Psychosocial intervention for alcohol use among problem drug users (PINTA) is a pilot feasibility study of a complex intervention comprising SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users with cluster randomization at the level of general practice, integrated qualitative process evaluation, and involving general practices in two socioeconomically deprived regions.
Practices (N=16) will be eligible to participate if they are registered to prescribe methadone and/or at least 10 patients of the practice are currently receiving addiction treatment. Patient must meet the following inclusion criteria to participate in this study: 18 years of age or older, receiving addiction treatment/care (eg, methadone), or known to be a problem drug user. This study is based on a complex intervention supporting SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users (experimental group) compared to an “assessment-only” control group. Control practices will be provided with a delayed intervention after follow-up. Primary outcomes of the study are feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to patients and practitioners. Secondary outcome includes the effectiveness of the intervention on care process (documented rates of SBI) and outcome (proportion of patients with problem alcohol use at the follow-up). A stratified random sampling method will be used to select general practices based on the level of training for providing addiction-related care and geographical area. In this study, general practitioners and practice staff, researchers, and trainers will not be blinded to treatment, but patients and remote randomizers will be unaware of the treatment.
This study is ongoing and a protocol system is being developed for the study. This study may inform future research among the high-risk population of problem drug users by providing initial indications as to whether psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use are feasible, acceptable, and also effective among problem drug users attending primary care.
This is the first study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of complex intervention in primary care to enhance alcohol SBI among problem drug users. Results of this study will inform future research among this high-risk population and guide policy and service development locally and internationally.
complex intervention; screening; brief intervention; alcohol; methadone maintenance; primary health care; general practice; substance-related disorders
Marijuana is the most widely abused illegal drug and its spectrum of effects suggests that several receptors are responsible for the activity. Two cannabinoid receptor subtypes, CB1 and CB2, have been identified, but the complex pharmacological properties of exogenous cannabinoids and endocannabinoids are not fully explained by their signaling. The orphan receptor GPR55 binds a subset of CB1/CB2 ligands and has been proposed as a cannabinoid receptor. This designation, however, is controversial as a result of recent studies where lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) is identified as a GPR55 agonist. To define a biological role for GPR55 requires GPR55-selective ligands that have been unavailable. From a β-arrestin, high-throughput, high-content screen of 300,000 compounds run in collaboration with the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network initiative (PubChem AID1965), we identified potent GPR55 selective agonists. By modeling of the GPR55 activated state, we compared the GPR55 binding conformations of three of the novel agonists obtained from the screen CID1792197, CID1172084 and CID2440433 [PubChem Compound IDs] with that of LPI. Our modeling indicates the molecular shapes and electrostatic potential distributions of these agonists mimic that of LPI; the GPR55 binding site accommodates ligands that have inverted-L or T shapes with long, thin profiles that can fit vertically deep in the receptor binding pocket while their broad head regions occupy a horizontal binding pocket near the GPR55 extracellular loops. Our results will enable the optimization and design of second generation GPR55 ligands and provide a means for distinguishing GPR55 selective ligands from those interacting with cannabinoid receptors.
A growing body of evidence suggests that semantic access is obligatory. Several studies have demonstrated that brain activity associated with semantic processing, measured in the N400 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP), is elicited even by meaningless, orthographically illegal strings, suggesting that semantic access is not gated by lexicality. However, the downstream consequences of that activity vary by item type, exemplified by the typical finding that N400 activity is reduced by repetition for words and pronounceable nonwords but not for illegal strings. We propose that this lack of repetition effect for illegal strings is caused not by lack of contact with semantics, but by the unrefined nature of that contact under conditions in which illegal strings can be readily categorised as task-irrelevant. To test this, we collected ERPs from participants performing a modified Lexical Decision Task, in which the presence of orthographically illegal acronyms rendered meaningless illegal strings more difficult lures than normal. Confirming our hypothesis, under these conditions illegal strings elicited robust N400 repetition effects, quantitatively and qualitatively similar to those elicited by words, pseudowords, and acronyms.
N400; Semantic access; Lexical decision; ERPs
Individuals who abuse drugs show higher delay discounting (DD) rate and impulsiveness scores compared to controls; however, it is unclear if DD rate covaries with severity of the addiction, or if an individual’s discounting rate can be changed by effective substance abuse treatment. This study compared methadone maintenance patients (MMT; n=30), who had not used illegal drugs for two years, to drug-using MMT patients (n=30), and controls (n=25) in terms of addiction severity, DD rate and impulsiveness. Methadone patients abstinent from illegal drugs scored significantly lower on a number of addiction severity measures than the drug-using methadone patients. In addition, both groups of MMT patients showed significantly higher rates of DD and impulsiveness than the control group; however, no differences in DD rate or impulsiveness were found between the groups of patients. Results suggest that DD rate and impulsiveness may not covary with indicators of addiction severity in MMT patients.
delay-discounting; impulsiveness; addiction severity; opioids; methadone; maintenance