Research Updates – W/C 05/12/2022
Interventions to prevent HIV and Hepatitis C among People Who Inject Drugs
This paper provides the findings of an updated review of reviews to assess the latest evidence on the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions in the prevention of HCV and HIV transmission, and related measures of infection risk, among people who inject drugs. The authors found that there now exists a strong body of evidence for the effectiveness of opioid agonist therapy and needle and syringe programmes in reducing HIV and HCV transmission. However, evidence is still lacking regarding other interventions to help reduce spread, including heroin-assisted treatment, technology based interventions and pharmacological treatment for stimulant dependence. Access the review here.
Encouraging a ‘Generational Shift’ in the UK’s Relationship with Drugs
This commentary in the latest issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy focuses on young (<25 years old) ‘non-dependent, so-called recreational drug users’ who report the highest rates of drug use. Professor Harry Sumnall discusses the increasing trends in drug use in this age group, the lack of drug prevention actions and the weak prevention infrastructure and systems, and innovation in this area. Access here.
A Concept Mapping Study of Service User Design of Safer Supply as an Alternative to the Illicit Drug Market
This paper highlights the results of a community based participatory study conducted in British Columbia, Canada, which use concept mapping to foreground the perspectives of drug users and develop a conceptual model of effective safer supply. Key concepts central to this model described were:
- Right dose and right drugs
- Safe, positive and welcoming spaces
- Safer supply and other services are accessible
- Improvements in quality of life
Access the paper here.
The UK’s Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: Where are we now?
This review article published in Drug Science describes the background to the introduction of the UK Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, and developments since the Home Office review in 2018. It discusses the challenges when measuring illicit drug proliferation, and triangulates the impact of the Act by using data from multiple public sources. Access the review here.
An Umbrella Review of the Links Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Substance Misuse
This umbrella review aims to synthesise reviews on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and substance use, review the mechanisms linking these, identifying existing gaps in the knowledge base, and discuss critical directions for future research, practice and public policy. Findings included that there is an elevated risk of substance use problems among adolescents and adults exposed to ACEs. Research, policy and practice that seek to holistically understand and address the relationship between ACEs and substance misuse within the broader social determinants of health is crucial. Access the full review here.
Effects of Media Representations on Drug Related Deaths on Public Stigma and Support for Harm Reduction
This research study investigated whether depiction of the characteristics of decedents represented in news articles about drug-related deaths (DRD) was associated with differences in stigmatising attitudes and support for harm reduction policy. The authors found that some types of DRD are associated with higher public stigma towards those who have lost their lives than others. Read the findings here.