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STUDY 2010 HTM file
Favorable mortality profile of naltrexone implants for opiate addiction
Few treatments for opiate addiction arouse as much controversy as naltrexone implants. Inserted under the skin, these block the effects of heroin for up to several months - for some, a magic bullet, for others, an unsafe and ethically dubious experiment. More evidence from Australia that the overdose death risk is less than with oral forms of the drug.
In the first randomised trial, implants which block opiate-type drugs for months helped heroin addicts in Norway avoid relapse after detoxification. If these or allied products gain a UK licence, they could help pave the way to abstinence for the minority of suitable addicts.
REVIEW 2011 HTM file
Heroin maintenance for chronic heroin-dependent individuals
Update of the first authoritative review to combine results from all trials to date of long-term heroin prescribing for the management of heroin addiction finds important advantages for seemingly intractable patients previously failed by methadone, including reduced illegal drug use.
In pubs and clubs, especially for young patrons, out-of-control intoxication is sometimes the aim rather than an undesirable outcome to be prevented. How in these circumstances to reduce use and harm has been investigated in the 17 studies analysed in this review.
In the first study of its kind opiate-dependent prisoners in Norway were randomly allocated to a six-month implant which blocks the effects of heroin or to methadone which substitutes for heroin as a way of bridging the period after release. Among the few interested in either option, they led to equivalent reductions in opiate use and crime.
Intriguing suggestion from a Norwegian study that taking measures to effectively reduce bullying in schools (including improving the social climate and setting clear and consistently enforced boundaries) also curbs the development of forms of substance use most associated with disturbed child development.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
The NTA overdose and naloxone training programme for families and carers
Up to 18 lives were known (and more perhaps unrecorded) to have been saved after the National Treatment Agency in England piloted training for the carers of opiate users on how to administer the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. But how does catering for relapse in this way square with the optimism of the recovery movement?
As concern mounts about Britain's failure to reverse the recent growth in drug-related deaths, the first large-scale UK follow-up study has assessed the impact of training in overdose recognition and management featuring the opiate blocking drug naloxone.
Survey responses from clinicians prescribing methadone at Scottish addiction treatment clinics show how the requirement that patients be observed taking the medication involves striking a balance between safety, individualising treatment, and attracting and retaining patients.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
An evaluation of a heroin overdose prevention and education campaign
Faced with rapidly increasing heroin overdose deaths, the Australian state of Victoria mounted a media campaign targeted at drug users via treatment and needle exchange services. The results illuminate the limitations of such campaigns as much as their plus points.
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