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STUDY 2012 HTM file
Association between harm reduction intervention uptake and recent hepatitis C infection among people who inject drugs attending sites that provide sterile injecting equipment in Scotland
National survey of injectors attending services supplying injecting equipment suggests methadone maintenance plus an abundant supply of needles and syringes help protect Scottish injectors from infection by hepatitis C.
Maintenance prescribing of drugs like methadone to heroin-dependent prisoners seems to reduce injecting and the sharing of injecting equipment, changes which should reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV.
Largely due to the treatment's health benefits, this review argues that failure to implement effective opioid maintenance programmes in prison represents an important missed opportunity to engage high-risk drug users in treatment, at possibly substantial costs both to individuals and to the community.
Practice-oriented review of what we know about the diversion (to other people) and misuse (mainly by injecting it) of buprenorphine used in the treatment of opiate dependence, featuring extended, practical guidance on how to identify and respond to these life-threatening behaviours as a therapeutic challenge rather than a disciplinary issue.
STUDY 2009 HTM file
The Drug Treatment Outcomes Research Study (DTORS): final outcomes report
Over 10 years since the last attempt, in 2006 a national study assessed the progress of patients starting drug treatment in England. A year later drug use and crime were down and social costs saved, but wider life improvements were minor compared to treatment costs.
DOCUMENT 2014 HTM file
Community management of opioid overdose
Experts convened by the World Health Organization judged the risk-benefit profile to be strongly in favour of naloxone distribution to prevent opiate overdose deaths, but also cautioned that this “does not address the underlying causes of opioid overdose”.
Ironically, the fact that opiate substitute prescribing has been opposed and limited in Sweden has meant that country has been able provide solid evidence of its lifesaving potential. This study concluded that easing the restrictions was associated with and may have led to fewer opiate-related deaths.
Despite the challenges, review confirms that hepatitis C infection can be prevented among injectors, but it takes multi-component strategies with elements such as substitute prescribing to reduce or eliminate drug injection, treatment of infection, and enabling safe injection practices by providing sterile injecting equipment and behaviour-change counselling.
STUDY 2014 HTM file
Drugs: international comparators
After seeing how drug policy worked overseas, UK government ministers and officials returned saying, “there is no apparent correlation between the ‘toughness’ of a country’s approach and the prevalence of adult drug use”, and that “better health outcomes for drug users cannot be shown to be a direct result of the enforcement approach”.
Fifteen years of research into Vancouver’s needle and syringe programme leads to the conclusion that such programmes can stop the spread of HIV and do not increase harms. However, they can only be effective if their policies allow sufficient sterile equipment to be distributed to ensure injectors always have fresh supplies.
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