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REVIEW 2015 HTM file
Prevention of addictive behaviours
Based largely on existing reviews, this report for the German Federal Centre for Health Education comprehensively assesses substance use prevention approaches. Among its many conclusions are that approaches based solely on information provision are ineffective, in contrast to the more positive evidence for lifeskills and multi-component community programmes.
Evidence that the supervised injecting centre which opened in 2001 in Sydney’s ‘red light’ district resulted in fewer opioid overdoses requiring an ambulance, relieving pressure on emergency services.
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.
Though set up to determine whether the public purse would gain by sending more opiate-dependent clients to residential rehabilitation, this UK government report declared itself unable to conclude one way or the other, but did judge it “highly unlikely” that these treatments’ extra expense would be offset by extra savings.
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”.
DOCUMENT 2014 HTM file
Time limiting opioid substitution therapy
Rather than being ‘parked’ on methadone, generally Britain’s heroin-addicted patients leave too soon to fully benefit, argue official government advisers on drug policy. Their report unambiguously countered concerns within the current UK government over methadone maintenance.
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