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1.  Opioid substitution therapy as a strategy to reduce deaths in prison: retrospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(4):e004666.
To describe deaths in prison among opioid-dependent people, and examine associations between receipt of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and risk of death in prison.
Retrospective cohort study.
Adult prisons in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
16 715 opioid-dependent people who were received to prison between 2000 and 2012.
Opioid substitution therapy.
Primary outcome measures
Natural and unnatural (suicide, drug-induced, violent and other injury) deaths in prison.
Cohort members were in prison for 30 998 person-years (PY), during which time there were 51 deaths. The all-cause crude mortality rate (CMR) in prison was 1.6/1000 PY (95% CI 1.2 to 2.2/1000 PY), and the unnatural death CMR was 1.1/1000 PY (95% CI 0.8 to 1.6/1000 PY). Compared to time out of OST, the hazard of all-cause death was 74% lower while in OST (adjusted HR (AHR): 0.26; 95% CI 0.13 to 0.50), and the hazard of unnatural death was 87% lower while in OST (AHR: 0.13; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.35). The all-cause and unnatural death CMRs during the first 4 weeks of incarceration were 6.6/1000 PY (95% CI 3.8 to 10.6/1000 PY) and 5.5/1000 PY (95% CI 2.9 to 9.4/1000 PY), respectively. Compared to periods not in OST, the hazard of all-cause death during the first 4 weeks of incarceration was 94% lower while in OST (AHR: 0.06; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.48), and the hazard of unnatural death was 93% lower while in OST (AHR: 0.07; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.53).
Mortality of opioid-dependent prisoners was significantly lower while in receipt of OST.
PMCID: PMC3987723  PMID: 24694626
2.  Consensus diagnostic criteria for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Australia: a modified Delphi study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001918.
To evaluate health professionals' agreement with components of published diagnostic criteria for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in order to guide the development of standard diagnostic guidelines for Australia.
A modified Delphi process was used to assess agreement among health professionals with expertise or experience in FASD screening or diagnosis. An online survey, which included 36 Likert statements on diagnostic methods, was administered over two survey rounds. For fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), health professionals were presented with concepts from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), University of Washington (UW), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), revised IOM and Canadian diagnostic criteria. For partial FAS (PFAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), concepts based on the IOM and the Canadian diagnostic criteria were compared.
130 Australian and 9 international health professionals.
Of 139 health professionals invited to complete the survey, 103 (74.1%) responded, and 74 (53.2%) completed one or more questions on diagnostic criteria. We found consensus agreement among participants on the diagnostic criteria for FAS, with the UW criteria most commonly endorsed when compared with all other published criteria for FAS. When health professionals were presented with concepts based on the Canadian and IOM diagnostic criteria, we found consensus agreement but no clear preference for either the Canadian or IOM criteria for the diagnosis of PFAS, and no consensus agreement on diagnostic criteria for ARND. We also found no consensus on the IOM diagnostic criteria for ARBD.
Participants indicated clear support for use of the UW diagnostic criteria for FAS in Australia. These findings should be used to develop guidelines to facilitate improved awareness of, and address identified gaps in the infrastructure for, FASD diagnosis in Australia.
PMCID: PMC3488737  PMID: 23100447
3.  The importance of blood-borne viruses in elevated cancer risk among opioid-dependent people: a population-based cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001755.
To quantify cancer risk in opioid dependence and the association with infection by the oncogenic blood-borne viruses (BBVs) hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV.
Cohort study.
New South Wales, Australia.
All 45 412 adults aged 16 years or over registered for opioid substitution therapy (OST) between 1985 and 2007. Notifications of cancer, death and infection with HCV, HBV and HIV were ascertained by record linkage with registries.
Main outcome measures
The ratios of observed to expected number of cancers, standardised incidence ratios (SIRs), and the average annual per cent change (AAPC) in overall age and sex-standardised cancer incidence.
Overall cancer risk was modestly increased compared to the general population (SIR 1.15, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.23). Excess risk was observed for 11 cancers, particularly lung (4.02, 95% CI 3.32 to 4.82), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (1.51, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.88) and liver (8.04, 95% CI 6.18 to 10.3). Reduced risk was observed for six cancers, including prostate (0.16, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.32) and breast (0.48, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.62). Individuals notified with HCV or HBV had a markedly increased risk of liver cancer; lung cancer risk was also increased in those with HCV. HIV was associated with an elevated risk of liver, anus and kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma. Cancer risk was not increased in individuals without a BBV notification, apart from pancreatic cancer (3.92, 95% CI 1.07 to 10.0). Cancer incidence increased significantly over time (AAPC 9.4%, 4.2% to 15%, p=0.001).
BBVs play a major role in the cancer risk profile of opioid-dependent individuals registered for OST. To address the dramatic increasing trend in cancer incidence, the OST setting could be utilised for cancer prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3488729  PMID: 23045358
Public Health

Results 1-3 (3)