Research

Cannabis and the Gateway Drug Theory: Correlation or Causation – Where does the Evidence Point?

Citation
Dalgarno Institute
Publication Date

Cannabis and the Gateway Drug Theory: Correlation or Causation – Where does the Evidence Point? (Dalgarno Institute Research Report, October 2021)
This Research Report looks a the ever oscillating debate around Cannabis and the 'Gateway Drug Theory'. 

Impact of an adult family member’s problematic substance use on family life

Citation
Sari Kaarina Lindeman, Kristine Berg Titlestad, Lennart Lorås & Terese Bondas (2021) An unknown invisible intrusion. Impact of an adult family member’s problematic substance use on family life: a meta-ethnography, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2021.1943316

Problematic substance use can be a significant cause of stress for family members of the person using substances. This review, published in the journal Drug: Education, Prevention and Policy, examines current research in order to explore the question 'What is the impact of an adult family member's problematic substance use for family life?'

Following a systematic search, the researchers analysed the data of 15 qualitative studies.

“Hidden gem” from the ’70s suggests counsellors generate the outcomes they expect. An Effectiveness Bank analysis

Citation
Alcohol Health & Research World: 1977, 1, p. 16-22.
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The Effectiveness Bank has stopped routinely issuing research analyses, but we couldn’t leave this gem from the ’70s figuratively gathering dust on the shelves of the British Library. Belied by an under-stated presentation, its practice implications are profound for treatment staff supporting clients with an apparently unpromising prognosis.

Assessing the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the UK

Citation
McCarthy R, Mukherjee RAS, Fleming KM, Green J, Clayton Smith J, Price AD, Allely CS, Cook PA. 2021. Assessing the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A cross-sectional active case ascertainment study in schools in Greater Manchester, UK. Acoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research:

In a new study, led by a team at the University of Salford, evidence has been found to suggest fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a significant issue among the population, likely to be as common as autism, despite being rarely diagnosed.

The project, which investigated the number of primary school children affected by FASD in Greater Manchester, is the first of its kind in the UK.

Are former heavy drinkers in the UK less likely to identify as being in recovery compared to those in the USA? A pilot test

Citation
Cunningham, J.A., Godinho, A. Are former heavy drinkers in the UK less likely to identify as being in recovery compared to those in the USA? A pilot test. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 16, 74 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13011-021-00412-8
Publication Date

The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) movement created the term "in recovery" to express the continuing requirement for vigilance in order to sustain sobriety (which includes abstinence from alcohol intake) and avoid a return to dangerous drinking. This term, or identity, may be adopted by someone who considers themselves to be in recovery for the rest of their lives.

Research led by people who use drugs: centering the expertise of lived experience

Citation
Salazar, Z.R., Vincent, L., Figgatt, M.C. et al. Research led by people who use drugs: centering the expertise of lived experience. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 16, 70 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13011-021-00406-6
Publication Date

Despite a long history of successful, community-led harm reduction programs and rising health inequalities suffered by PWUD, research collaborations between PWUD and researchers remain generally ignored. PWUDs are crucial in identifying developing concerns in the drug industry, as well as related health behaviors and consequences.

Psychosocial Interventions to Improve Psychological, Social and Physical Wellbeing in Family Members Affected by an Adult Relative’s Substance Use: A Systematic Search and Review of the Evidence

Citation
McGovern, R., Smart, D., Alderson, H., Araújo-Soares, V., Brown, J., Buykx, P., Evans, V., Fleming, K., Hickman, M., Macleod, J., Meier, P., & Kaner, E. (2021). Psychosocial Interventions to Improve Psychological, Social and Physical Wellbeing in Family Members Affected by an Adult Relative's Substance Use: A Systematic Search and Review of the Evidence. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1793. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041793
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The use of alcohol and drugs is a significant public health concern and is prevalent in families. Over 100 million people are thought to be affected by a close relative's substance use, with many experiencing negative health and social consequences. Additional associated stressors, such as interpersonal conflict, financial issues, the burden of care, and family conflict, frequently increase the multi-dimensional impact of substance use.

Evaluation of performance-enhancing drugs seized by Israeli enforcement agencies 2012–2017: Implications for policy and regulatory change

Citation
Bonny-Noach, H., Berkovitz, R., & Shapira, B. (2020). Evaluation of performance-enhancing drugs seized by Israeli enforcement agencies 2012–2017: implications for policy and regulatory change. Israel journal of health policy research, 9(1), 1-12.‏

Differences in substance use by sexual orientation and gender among Jewish young adults in Israel

Citation
Bonny-Noach, H., & Shechory-Bitton, M. (2020). Differences in substance use by sexual orientation and gender among Jewish young adults in Israel. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, 9(1), 1-10.‏

Alcohol and substance use prevention in Africa

Citation
Lucia M. Mupara, Roy Tapera, Morekwe Selemogwe-Matsetse, Johanne T. Kehumile, Lebogang Gaogane, Ellen Tsholofelo & Pretty Murambiwa (2021) Alcohol and substance use prevention in Africa: systematic scoping review, Journal of Substance Use, DOI: 10.1080/14659891.2021.1941356

Substance use continues to be a key public health concern in Africa. Despite this, there have been few reviews that have examined the current research on the subject. This study examines the existing research on the prevention of alcohol and substance use in Africa.

The specific objectives were to: 

  1. Identify drugs and substances used across Africa

Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain

Citation
Lees, B., Debenham, J., & Squeglia, L. M. (2021). Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain. Alcohol, 41(1).

Purpose of Review

Alcohol and cannabis are the most commonly used substances during adolescence and are typically initiated during this sensitive neurodevelopmental period.

The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the most recent literature focused on understanding how these substances affect the developing brain.

Findings

The effects of alcohol use include:

Review of Alternatives to Incarceration Efforts Worldwide

Citation
Diplomacy Lab Project 2010304, U.S. Department of State, Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Publication Date

Substance use disorders are reoccurring chronic, often relapsing disease that affect the brain and should be treated within the public health arena similar to other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. This understanding, however, does not easily find its way into public or social policy.

Evaluation of neurotrophic factors and education level as predictors of cognitive decline in alcohol use disorder

Citation
Requena-Ocaña, N., Araos, P., Flores, M. et al. Evaluation of neurotrophic factors and education level as predictors of cognitive decline in alcohol use disorder. Sci Rep 11, 15583 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95131-2
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Abstract

Cognitive reserve (CR) is the capability of an individual to cope with a brain pathology through compensatory mechanisms developed through cognitive stimulation by mental and physical activity. Recently, it has been suggested that CR has a protective role against the initiation of substance use, substance consumption patterns and cognitive decline and can improve responses to treatment.

Social Determinants & Substance Use: A Perspective Beyond the Policy 'Silo' Pragmatics

Citation
Dalgarno Institute
Publication Date

Social Determinants & Substance Use: A Perspective Beyond the Policy 'Silo' Pragmatics -  This paper (synoptic version, peer reviewed and published in Journal of Global Drug Policy & Practice) is a review of and research into the social determinants in a 'First World' setting, not relating to a developing world context.

This is a refreshed version of the 2017 paper.

Attitudes towards consumption, sensation seeking and alcohol consumption. Model of partial mediation in Ecuadorian adolescents

Citation
Moreta-Herrera, R.; Mayorga-Lascano, M.; Reyes-Valenzuela, C. & Durán-Rodríguez, T. (2021). Actitudes y Consumo de alcohol: análisis de mediación parcial de la edad y búsqueda de sensaciones en adolescentes ecuatorianos. Revista Española de Drogodependencias. 46(2), 58.71.
Publication Date

Objective: To determine the mediated effect of sensation-seeking on the relationship between attitudes to alcohol consumption and consumption in a sample of adolescents from Ecuador. Method: Descriptive predictive and mediation study with the use of the Scale of Attitudes to consumption, the Brief Questionnaire of Search for Sensations and the Test of Identification of Disorders Related to Alcohol Consumption.

Periods of altered risk for non-fatal drug overdose

Citation
Keen, C., Kinner, S. A., Young, J. T., Snow, K., Zhao, B., Gan, W., & Slaunwhite, A. K. (2021). Periods of altered risk for non-fatal drug overdose: a self-controlled case series. The Lancet Public Health, 6(4), e249-e259. Chicago

The risk of an individual overdosing is influenced by a range of, often overlapping circumstances. Factors such as incarceration, mental and physical health conditions, and the treatments prescribed for these conditions can all affect the risk of overdose.

This study, published in The Lancet Public Health, aimed to: 

Reprint of: Biotechnologies and the future of opioid addiction treatments

Citation
Daniel Wolfe, Roxanne Saucier, Reprint of: Biotechnologies and the future of opioid addiction treatments, International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 94, 2021, 103273, ISSN 0955-3959, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103273.
Publication Date

Biotechnological treatment, including addiction treatment, is the way of the future. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies praise depot injections, agonist/antagonist implants, deep brain stimulation, and hapten conjugate vaccines as medicine's greatest chance for reducing illegal usage, reducing the danger of overdose and severe withdrawal, and preventing drug diversion to criminal markets.

Identifying content-based engagement patterns in a smoking cessation website and associations with user characteristics and cessation outcomes: a sequence and cluster analysis

Citation
Olga Perski, PhD, Noreen L Watson, PhD, Kristin E Mull, MS, Jonathan B Bricker, PhD, Identifying Content-Based Engagement Patterns in a Smoking Cessation Website and Associations With User Characteristics and Cessation Outcomes: A Sequence and Cluster Analysis, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 23, Issue 7, July 2021, Pages 1103–1112, https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntab008
Publication Date

Tobacco smoking is the greatest cause of sickness and early death worldwide, with 8 million people dying each year from a smoking-related condition. The use of pharmaceutical or behavioural assistance improves smokers' chances of quitting; nonetheless, the majority of smoking cessation efforts are unassisted.

Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in South Africa

Citation
Gibbs N, Angus C, Dixon S, et al Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in South Africa across different drinker groups and wealth quintiles: a modelling study BMJ Open 2021;11:e052879. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-052879

Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol is a policy whereby a set price is introduced, below which a fixed volume of alcohol cannot be sold to the public. Several countries, including Scotland, Canada, certain states of the USA, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, have adopted different forms of MUP.

The link between reducing pain medication, overdose and mental health crisis

Citation
Agnoli A, Xing G, Tancredi DJ, Magnan E, Jerant A, Fenton JJ. Association of Dose Tapering With Overdose or Mental Health Crisis Among Patients Prescribed Long-term Opioids. JAMA. 2021;326(5):411–419. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.11013

In response to the concerning numbers of opioid-related deaths in the US, there has been a recent focus on opioid prescribing trends, which has shown an increase in opioid tapering among patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy. However, there has also been an increase in opioid-related mortality.

The impact of COVID-19 on drug use and harm reduction programming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: a regional consultation of stakeholders and people who use drugs

Citation
Van Hout, M.C., Haddad, P. & Aaraj, E. The Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Use and Harm Reduction Programming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region: a Regional Consultation of Stakeholders and People Who Use Drugs. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-021-00500-7
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COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was classified a pandemic on March 11, 2020, with early reports of the disease occurring in the Middle East and North African (MENA) area. On January 2021, the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO-EMRO) reported 5,566,708 confirmed cases with 131,886 fatalities to date.

Changes in alcohol consumption patterns based on gender during COVID-19 confinement in Spain

Citation
Villanueva-Blasco, V. J., Villanueva Silvestre, V., Isorna, M., Motos, P., Blay, P., & Vázquez-Martínez, A. (2021). Changes in Alcohol Consumption Pattern Based on Gender during COVID-19 Confinement in Spain. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(15), 8028. doi:10.3390/ijerph18158028

Abstract

The goal of this study was to analyze the prevalence and pattern of alcohol consumption (frequency of consumption, average daily consumption, and risky consumption) before and during confinement due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the adult population and based on gender.

Addressing long overdue social and structural determinants of the opioid overdose crisis: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Special Issue

This special issue addresses a rapidly growing area of research with a pressing public health need, the social structure of opioid use.

Specifically, this issue compiles original articles that apply theoretical and empirical frameworks to better understand structural conditions that form opioid use patterns.