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In Russia, injecting detoxified opiate addicts with long-acting naltrexone which blocks opiates for a month meant more were able to stay off the drugs, findings which helped persuade US authorities to approve it for this role. Others argue this was precipitate given the lack of evidence on overdose protection.
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.
Despite being motivated to sustain abstinence and implanted with a drug which should have blocked the effects of opiates, in Norwegian studies most opiate-dependent patients used opiates and about a quarter did so repeatedly.
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.
The safer injecting facility in Vancouver prevented overdose deaths but only in areas nearest the service, suggesting that often several facilities will be needed to make a city-wide impact.
DOCUMENT 2010 HTM file
Drug misuse statistics Scotland 2010
Statistical picture of drug misuse in Scotland in 2009 and 2010 including treatment and criminal justice caseloads and health impacts, plus trends over recent years.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
The National Drug Related Deaths Database (Scotland) report 2009
New database offering in-depth information on drug deaths in Scotland reveals that 60% of cases had been in contact with drug treatment services, nearly 40% in the past six months, suggesting that there had been chances to intervene which for these patients had been insufficient to avoid death.
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